I don't know if you noticed last week, but we had another — what I'd call a passive — delay. The administration pushed back its deadline for publishing carrier plan offerings on the federal exchanges.

This appears to be more of a reflection of a technical issue more than anything else. And, as we've reported before, it's a clear, if subtle, indication that the biggest obstacle to the exchanges will be technical rather than political. And no one is talking about it, which worries me even more since nearly everyone I've talked to expects more people to sign up for the exchanges online than via any other medium.

And if the people who actually need to sign up, and actually know about it, try to sign up online and are met with a crashed web page blaring "404 Error," who's to say they'll keep trying? My bet is they'll give up right there and then. It'll be like watching a video on AOL back in the early 90s: just not worth the trouble. Which begs the question, what's the backup plan?

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