WASHINGTON — With its health care overhaul website bedeviled by technology glitches that frustrated millions of consumers, the Obama administration is taking down the site for repairs this weekend.
Enrollment functions of the healthcare.gov site will be unavailable during off-peak hours, the Health and Human Services Department said Friday. The department did not release a schedule for hours of operation, but an HHS spokeswoman said the site will be taken down at 1 a.m. daily for a few hours.
The website will remain open for general information.
Technology problems overwhelmed the launch of new health insurance markets Tuesday, embarrassing the administration just when the health care law known as Obamacare was supposed to be introduced to average consumers.
"Americans have seen once again that Obamacare is not ready for prime time," Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 House Republican, said in a statement. "A dysfunctional website is the least of that law's problems."
The administration is putting the best face on the situation, noting the strong interest from millions of consumers.
"Americans are excited to look at their options for health coverage, with record demand in the first days of the marketplaces," said a release announcing the fixes. The statement was headlined: "Health Insurance Marketplace Open for Business — Week One Success."
The state-level markets were designed to be the gateway to health insurance for people who don't have access to coverage on the job. Middle-class consumers will be able to buy government-subsidized private plans, while the poor and the near-poor will be steered to Medicaid in states agreeing to expand the program.
Consumers have until Dec. 15 to enroll for coverage that starts Jan. 1.