Botched beginning: There is no excuse for Obamacare's flawed website

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The website rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the most important legislative achievement of the Obama administration, has been an unmitigated disaster.

The HealthCare.gov technical snafus could not have been worse if they had been scripted by President Barack Obama's adversaries. After three weeks, the website continues to experience major glitches that make the whole effort look like amateur hour.

On Monday, President Obama said no one was "madder" than he about the problems. It's a little late for that. On Tuesday he assigned Jeffrey Zients, deputy budget director, to be the website's fixer.

Republicans, sensing an opportunity to look like a party that isn't dedicated to wrecking the financial stability of the United States, have seized upon the site's woes and spun them into a deeper critique of the health care act.

But the law is not a failure because its online portal is a mess. The health care initiative still represents the best hope for tens of millions of Americans who are uninsured. Despite the embarrassments caused by the rollout, the law's benefits are considerable.

That's why the difficulty that many prospective enrollees have faced on HealthCare.gov is so maddening. The administration had time to build a site that could have been a model of efficiency and functionality.

The Obama administration insists that there is still plenty of time to fix the site and it correctly maintains that it is no reflection on the program itself. But the longer the fix takes, the more people lose faith and the louder the critics grow.


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