What would we be talking about right now if it wasn’t for the government shutdown? Chances are: the rollout of the Affordable Health Care Act. And chances are, we would have been talking about it all week long but for one thing: The government shutdown.
But House Republicans had another thing in mind. Instead of listening to George Will’s advice (“let it fail”), the House GOP attempted to attach defunding the Affordable Care Act to a vote to fund the government. Only six days later, that move would appear to be a PR blunder. While most of the week was spent with the media focused on the World War II Memorial and the affects of furloughs, healthcare.gov was crashing from high traffic as people were unable to sign up for Obamacare. With that, the health care law’s launch and the debt ceiling expiring happening on the same date turned out to be a PR win for Obamacare.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 8.5 million people visited http://www.healthcare.gov from Tuesday, October 1 to Friday. But neither President Obama or anyone else in the Administration will say exactly how many people actually signed up over the last six days. With over 70% of the White House staff on furlough, fighting the PR fight during a shutdown may be even tricker for the Obama Administration.
Stay tuned, this week will get even more interesting as the shutdown battle continues and HHS promises that the Obamacare site will deliver better service.