Obamacare

By David Morgan and Sharon Begley
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK | Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:36pm EDT

(Reuters) – A data center critical for allowing uninsured Americans to buy health coverage under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law went down on Sunday, halting online enrollment for all 50 states in the latest problem to hit the program’s troubled rollout.

The data center operated by Verizon’s Terremark experienced a connectivity issue that caused it to shut down, affecting the federal government’s already problem-plagued online marketplace Healthcare.gov and similar sites operated by 14 states and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Obama administration and company officials could not say how long it would take to fix the connectivity problem.

Separate technical problems that have stalled enrollment on Healthcare.gov since its launch on October 1 are at the heart of a new Republican effort to discredit the healthcare law, also known as Obamacare, largely through congressional investigations to determine what went wrong in building the costly and complicated implementation system.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is due to testify later this week before a House of Representatives committee, while government contractors work around the clock to improve the Healthcare.gov website.

The outage that started in the early hours of Sunday caused the data center to lose network connectivity with the federal government’s data services hub, an electronic traffic roundabout that links the online health insurance marketplaces with numerous federal agencies and can verify people’s identity, citizenship, and other facts.

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