Ed Morrissey’s post about traffic at the HealthCare.gov website is today’s top read. In his post, Ed cites this Washington Post article:

The number of visitors to the federal government’s HealthCare.gov Web site plummeted 88 percent between Oct. 1 and Oct. 13, according to a new analysis of America’s online use, while less than half of 1 percent of the site’s visitors successfully enrolled for health insurance the first week.

Based on a sample of two million users, or 1 percent of all online users in the U.S., which Millward Brown Digital has permission to track, it suggests that the rush of traffic administration officials cited as the cause of the site’s problems trailed off within a matter of days.

Of the 9.4 million unique visitors to the site during the launch’s first week, according to the analysis, roughly a third attempted to register, and a third of that number, 1.01 million, completed registration. Ultimately, roughly 36,000 Americans signed up for an insurance plan online, the report said.

Then Ed included this commentary:

If any commercial web portal only ended up with a 0.384% success rate in its first week of operation followed by an 88% plunge in traffic, the project team would find itself out on the street. If it happened to a publicly-traded company that sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into the project, the CEO and the executive management team would be joining them on the sidewalk.

If the individual mandate and the penalties didn’t exist, people would stay away in droves. To put it in Yogi Berra’s words, it’d sound like this:

If people don’t want to come out to the ball park, nobody’s gonna stop ’em.

That’s what happens when something is voluntary. This administration isn’t into voluntary. Pointing a proverbial gun to people’s head is more this administration’s style. The Affordable Care Act isn’t about free markets matching needs with products. It’s about the federal government telling people what they must do:

Update: The schadenfreude has run deep on the Right over this Daily Kos entry from September:

My wife and I just got our updates from Kaiser telling us what our 2014 rates will be. Her monthly has been $168 this year, mine $150. We have a high deductible. We are generally healthy people who don’t go to the doctor often. I barely ever go. The insurance is in case of a major catastrophe.

Well, now, because of Obamacare, my wife’s rate is gong to $302 per month and mine is jumping to $284.

I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any f***ing penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?

Conservatives have been predicting this since President Obama signed the bill into law. The only thing that’s less surprising than finding out people’s insurance rates are going up is that the federal government ran another deficit last year.

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