Although Marylanders were supposed to be able to sign up for health care coverage at 8 a.m. Tuesday, the Maryland Health Connection web site experienced "connectivity issues" and prompted users to return at noon. Callers also had problems getting through, according to the Maryland Health Connection Facebook page.
When people returned at midday, some reported site slowness, prompting a bit of outrage on social media but a few defenders, too.
“That's a shock that people are having problems on the first day, it's all down hill from here,” wrote Nick Rush on Glen Burnie Patch’s Facebook page, using apparent sarcasm to make his point. “Obamacare is going to crash and burn.”
Regarding the lack of functionality of the website, Greg Kozera responded on Bel Air Patch’s Facebook page: “Welcome to government healthcare.”
“It's NOT ready,” wrote Carole Garrett Williams on Havre de Grace Patch’s Facebook page. “Another unkept government promise.”
A few people spoke out on the whole issue of health care.
“Maryland Health connection is a joke, as is the entire Obamacare blunder,” wrote Bruce Potter on Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch’s Facebook page. “My costs will go up, my out of pocket will go up and my care will go down.”
Jon Dough wrote on Dundalk Patch’s Facebook page, “Sending In my penalty....I do not want nor need government hands on my healthcare.”
Others speculated about the cause of the technical glitches.
“Gov't worker running it, must of been furloughed for the day,” wrote Shelly Kowalski on Dundalk Patch’s Facebook page.
Jennie Horn wrote on Havre de Grace’s Facebook page: “Maybe everyone who doesn't think it's a good idea is trying to lock it up.”
One reader asked everyone to be patient.
“Everyone needs to calm down. Take a deep breath,” wrote Michelle Jenkins on Havre de Grace Patch’s Facebook page. “It's a brand new site, and EVERYONE trying to access it at once will obviously cause problems. There is no need to freak out, it's not going anywhere. Give it time, and everything will be up and running! It's like people are just looking for a reason to be negative.”
A report in the Baltimore Business Journal referred to the technical glitches as "kind of comical" after all the build-up to the opening day of enrollment.
A statewide outreach campaign kicked off in September to educate Marylanders about health care options and the Affordable Care Act. The state’s health insurance marketplace, known as the Maryland Health Connection, is operated by the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.
Maryland's health care site wasn't the only one experiencing issues. Healthcare.gov, used in 34 sites and operated by the federal government, was also providing users with error messages, according to The Washington Post.