Does the ObamaCare website actually work now?

The Week
A Florida insurance agent helps a woman purchase a policy under the Affordable Care Act on Nov. 14.
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A Florida insurance agent helps a woman purchase a policy under the Affordable Care Act on Nov. 14.

After a two-month all-hands effort to fix Healthcare.gov, the White House announced over the weekend that the website will now work for the "vast majority" of consumers looking to purchase health insurance. The site reportedly can now handle 50,000 simultaneous users without crashing. That's a big improvement from October when as few as 500 users could cripple the site.

But how do we really know if the website works?

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Like everything related to ObamaCare, the political spin is dizzying. Democrats point to a new report that 100,000 people signed up in November as proof that the website is improving. Meanwhile, Republicans have significant anecdotal evidence of a site that still crashes.

But First Read points to two really good guideposts to gauge over the next two weeks if the website is truly better:

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1. Are the insurance companies and government beginning to air their multi-million TV ad campaigns? They won’t do it if they don’t trust the website to handle the traffic.

2. Are skittish Democrats — especially those up for re-election next year in red states — a little less skittish than they were last month?

The political stakes are high because Republicans are running out of time to derail ObamaCare as more and more people sign up.

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As Brian Beutler notes, after January 1, "a vote to repeal the law would transform from an abstraction into an attempt to snatch health insurance away from as many as several million people. That's a bad vote to take."

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