By Justin Sink
A test on a central component to the ObamaCare website conducted the day before launch revealed that the system could only handle 1,100 concurrent users before overloading, according to internal documents released by House Republicans.
"Currently we are able to reach 1,100 users before response time gets too high," reads the document, released by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (D-Calif.).
Those user levels were far eclipsed by actual demand for the website, which has been plagued by technical issues since its launch at the beginning of last month.
Marilyn Tavenner, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, estimated the website received 2.8 million visitors on the first day the ObamaCare website launched. U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park told USA Today that as many as a quarter million users were simultaneously attempting to use the website during the first week following the launch.
An administration official downplayed the test results, saying it had been cherry picked without context from many tests conducted that day.
And Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said that while there was “no question we wish we had done more testing,” that the administration was now “working around the clock to improve the consumer experience” on the ObamaCare website.
“One of the items we have ticked off our punch list is response times for page loads, which we have reduced dramatically from eight seconds to less than one second,” Peters said. “Moving forward, the team is focused on diagnosing and fixing every tech issue as it is identified.”
The administration has pledged to have the website working for the majority of consumers by the end of the month.
During a meeting Wednesday with vulnerable Senate Democrats, lawmakers pressed President Obama to get the website fixed as quickly as possible.
"The rollout of HealthCare.gov has not been smooth, to say the least, and I shared the concerns of Coloradans directly with the president,” Sen. Mark Udall (Colo.) said of the White House pow-wow.
During a speech later in Dallas, the president said “nothing drives him more crazy” than the technical problems affecting the website.
“This is like having a really good product in a store and the cash registers don't work; there are not enough parking spots; and nobody can get through the door,” Obama said.