Far More People Sought Copies of Health Law Than Enrolled in Plans Online


Obamacare law is the most viewed document ever posted online by the Government Printing Office.

Here’s an interesting data point: About 3.6 million people retrieved online copies of President Obama’s health care reform law from the Government Printing Office during October and November while only one-tenth that many people enrolled in new insurance plans through HealthCare.gov and state exchanges.

That’s at least a small indication that public interest in the substance of the 906-page legislation remained immensely high even as most consumers were shut out of the government’s main Web portal for implementing that legislation by myriad glitches and long wait times.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the most viewed item ever posted to GPO’s online repository for legislation and other government documents, spokesman Gary Somerset said, with about 13 million retrievals since the law passed in 2010 and 9 million in 2013 alone.

The single largest number of daily retrievals was on Oct. 4 when 256,000 people viewed the law, Somerset told Nextgov. That was the Friday after HealthCare.gov went live. At that point, fewer than 100 people per day were able to enroll in insurance plans through the troubled site, though many state marketplaces were faring better.

GPO manages the printing of government documents, including Web, mobile and e-book versions, and has no affiliation with HealthCare.gov.

Government officials claim HealthCare.gov has been running smoothly with a low error rate and fast response times since Nov. 30, a self-imposed deadline for the site to be mostly fixed.

Officials expect the number of HealthCare.gov enrollees to rise significantly in coming months, Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Julie Bataille said during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. That will be driven by technological fixes to the federal site and a public education campaign, she said, as well as by consumers’ increased sense of urgency as a March 31 enrollment deadline draws near.