Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
Yesterday the Obama administration released a report showing that the healthcare.gov website is now working pretty well. Not perfectly. Not flawlessly. But pretty well. This confirms anecdotal reports that the site is now quite useable, and it's important because it's a proof of concept: if the site can go from disaster to workable in a couple of months, it means that its problems aren't so deeply structural that they're never going to be fixed. They were just bugs. And bugs get corrected.
But here's the thing that struck me when I looked at the HHS report last night: if their metrics are to be believed, they actually had the site working pretty well by early November. It's just that they didn't say much about it, instead waiting until their self-imposed December 1 deadline—due, I assume, to an abundance of caution after the horrible rollout. Still, take a look. The charts below are both big and barely legible (perhaps suggesting a whole different federal government IT problem) but what they consistently show is that the site was working tolerably well by November 9 and pretty acceptably well by November 16 (marked by the red bubbles). These metrics still don't show great performance—especially the 95 percent uptime metric, which really needs to be 99+ percent—but if you need to buy health coverage via healthcare.gov, you can do it. And that means that Obamacare is working too.