The top story all day was that Republicans had shut down the federal government because President Obama wouldn’t defund or delay the Affordable Care Act. The other major story was that the government’s servers were crashing because so many people were trying to see if they could get insurance through Obamacare.
So on the one hand, Washington was shut down because Republicans don’t want Obamacare. On the other hand, Obamacare was nearly shut down because so many Americans wanted Obamacare.
The coming days will be a major test of the IT infrastructure supporting the Affordable Care Act. The online marketplaces were flooded with eager applicants on Tuesday — a rush that far exceeded the expectations of marketplace directors. Reuters estimates that they got more than 10 million visits. But many of those applicants faced slow pages and error messages. Some waited hours to sign up for Obamacare. Others resolved to come back later.
This is, of course, precisely what Republicans were scared of: That a law they loathe would end up being enthusiastically embraced by millions of Americans — and thus proving permanent. It’s Obamacare’s possible success, not its promised failures, that unnerve the GOP.