Milwaukeeans run into errors, technical problems on day one of Obamacare

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by Matt Doyle

Milwaukee -- It's been anything but smooth for day one of Obamacare.  The day it's supposed to startup, its website shut down creating headaches for people trying to sign on.  

"The computers were down so couldn't do nothing else," Roger from Milwaukee's north side said, referring to the issues with healthcare.gov.

"We actually haven't been able to get on and enroll anybody yet," Sarah Bailey, from Progressive Community Health Centers, said.

Day one of Obamacare went about as well as critics hoped.  Its software system shutdown on the first day, just as the Federal Government shutdown in a budget standoff.

"They rescheduled me another appointment so I'm going to take it from there," Roger said.

The computer systems were overloaded with visitors.  Patricia McManus runs the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin on Milwaukee's North Side.

"To me it means we're meeting a need," McManus said.  "There's people out there who've heard about it, they want to get healthcare, I think it's great."

She said the majority of people coming in are excited about the marketplace opening.

"They're saying, 'I need insurance'.I'm happy this is a day I can get insurance," McManus said.

Although the site's been down, McManus says they're giving people the forms to fill out and telling them what information they'll need when the site is ready to go.

At another clinic near 36th and Lisbon, Certified Application Counselors take appointments to help people sign up.  For people coming by Tuesday, they've asked them to reschedule.

"A lot of our patients don't have access to computers or don't know how to use a computer," Bailey said.  "We can help people set up those email accounts when they come in, we've at least been doing that to get the groundwork laid."

For Roger, that means waiting another week.

"My appointment is on the 8th, so we'll be back at 11:30..."

There was no word on when the site would be fully functional.  www.healthcare.gov

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