Gallup reported Friday that only 18 percent of all Americans without insurance have even visited Healthcare.gov — the Federal Obamacare website — or any of the State-run websites that sell Obamacare coverage. And even among those uninsured who express interest in buying health insurance soon, only 22 percent report they’ve yet taken a peek at an Obamacare insurance exchange website.
That news stands at odds with early claims by the Administration of President Barack Obama that the Healthcare.gov site crashed early and often because of tremendous consumer demand to find out more about what the site is selling.
The health exchange websites are not only fraught with the technical problems that have led to so much news coverage in recent weeks, but have also generated relatively little interest or use among uninsured Americans — the primary target group for the exchanges. The majority of uninsured Americans are unfamiliar with the exchanges and relatively few have tried to access them to date, even among those who say that eventually, they will most likely get their insurance through an exchange website.
Fewer than a quarter of all uninsured Americans have so far even attempted to visit an insurance exchange site, according to a new Gallup poll.
That throws an enormous wrench into the workings of Obama’s argument that the Affordable Care Act is designed chiefly to benefit those Americans who have grown accustomed to living without heathcare coverage. The uninsured, after all, are supposed to be Obamacare’s core beneficiaries.
“These results undermine the Obama administration’s confidence in Obamacare to reach its target audience,” writes Lara Seligman on The Hill’s “Healthwatch” blog. “The exchange sites are not only fraught with technical problems that have led to long wait times and error messages for users, but have also failed to generate interest among uninsured Americans.”
In the days following the rollout, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius blamed the website’s crash problems on pent-up consumer demand, describing the supposed door-busting rush to buy insurance “sort of a great problem to have.”
Last week, the House Oversight and Reform Committee revealed that the extent of the demand required to crash the site, on the day it launched, was only 1,100 visitors at a time.