SNL’s Kate McKinnon portrayed U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius giving reassurances to Americans on something that has now created a bipartisan consensus: the fizzle of the trouble Affordable Heathcare Act website. As usual, it’s a masterful SNL sketch which will probably further shape the perception that “Obamacare” is off to a rocky start since it depends on people signing up on a website that still doesn’t work.
The Obama administration is attributing Sunday outages on HealthCare.gov to technical failures by Verizon Terremark, the company operating the federal data hub.
Visitors to the federal exchange were unable to access the website late Sunday. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said that’s because the private contractor running the data hub experienced a “failure in the networking component that brought down network connectivity to the site.”
“Today, Terremark had a network failure that is impacting a number of their clients including HealthCare.gov,” HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement. “Secretary Sebelius spoke with the CEO of Verizon this afternoon to discuss the situation and they committed to fixing the problem as soon as possible.”
HHS said the failure is likely affecting other sites besides just HealthCare.gov and the federal data hub.
The data hub is crucial for determining shoppers’ eligibility for health coverage and federal subsidies, transmitting their personal information from various federal agencies to the exchange.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.