A combination of software fixes, design changes, added hardware and newly announced wiggle room should provide the right combination to finally deliver a workable website, White House troubleshooter Jeffrey Zients said in an upbeat assessment. Zients is a management consultant parachuted in by the White House to extricate President Barack Obama from a technology debacle that has sent his poll ratings into a nose dive….The site is now able to handle about 25,000 users at the same time. Zients said upgrades during downtime this weekend will put it on track to handle 50,000 simultaneous users, close to the level originally envisioned. It translates to about 800,000 visits a day.
Well, this sounds familiar. Obama was very optimistic right before the launch of the site, and even during its first stages when it wasn’t working. And the article mainly discusses the front-end load time problems, not the back-end problems Chao’s testimony highlighted.Nevertheless, as poorly as the Obama administration has handled the entire Obamacare rollout, it seems unlikely it would make the same mistake twice, talking up a site unready for prime time. As Glenn Reynolds as put it, before the launch clearly nobody was sleeping with the techies. But if Zients is now willing to go on record saying the site’s prospects are improving, it’s a safe bet the White House made sure he could back up that assessment.If that’s the case, the administration may soon be able to slowly move on from the website fiasco, and the Obamacare debate will return to the larger impact of the law. A functioning website may be one load off the President’s shoulders, but it doesn’t mean the ACA public relations mess will just go away. Bad first impressions are very hard to dispel. Moreover, critics will be able to continue highlighting ongoing stories of cancellations, rate shock, and doc shock. The website disaster was a large factor fueling disapproval with the law, but it wasn’t the only one. We don’t know enough yet to predict what will happen in the post-website disaster phase of Obamacare, but if it involves continued access and price disruptions, Obama’s problems are far from over.[Updated]