The president's health care sign-up Web page was supposed to handle tens of thousands of people at once. But in a trial run days before its launch, just a few hundred users flatlined the site.
Despite the problems, federal health officials pushed aside the crash cart and rolled out HealthCare.gov on Oct. 1 as planned, The Washington Post reported.
The result? The website crashed shortly after midnight as a couple thousand people tried to start the process, two people familiar with the project told the Post.
The report is the latest criticism of the problem-plagued site -- criticism so acute that even President Barack Obama said there was " no sugarcoating" the difficulties Americans have faced trying to sign up for insurance coverage.
Webmaster in Chief
"Nobody's madder than me about the website not working as well as it should, which means it's going to get fixed," Obama said during an appearance Monday at the White House Rose Garden.
But he didn't specify exactly what went wrong or who was to blame for the problems, which include long waits to log onto the federally administered website and maddeningly long wait times once online.
There's "no excuse for the problems," Obama said. But he said tech industry experts were being brought in to help workers trying to fix the site.
Call it more fuel for the fire as the GOP continues its quest to defund the new health care system, popularly known as Obamacare.
The Energy and Commerce Committee in the Republican-controlled House wants some answers. Website and administrative contractors CGI, Serco and Equifax are set to testify Thursday on their roles in the technical fiasco.
The GOP has Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in its crosshairs, calling for her resignation. She has a date with the committee on Oct. 30.
Sebelius announced Tuesday that Jeff Zients, a former private sector CEO who also has headed the White House Office Management and Budget, is part of the "tech surge" coming to help her department deal with the enrollment problems.
Other experts include "veterans of top Silicon Valley companies," Sebelius wrote in a blog post on the department website.
The goal was a "cross-functional team ... working aggressively to diagnose parts of HealthCare.gov that are experiencing problems, learn from successful states, prioritize issues, and fix them," the blog post said.
Sebelius also said the contractors hired to create Healthcare.gov, including lead company CGI, were providing additional people and unspecified "commitments" for the project "within the provisions of their existing contract."
White House spokesman Jay Carney defended the program on CNN's "Piers Morgan Live," saying that while HealthCare.gov is struggling, the administration's health care reform "is not failing."
People who are able to submit applications through whatever means are happy with the results, he said.
"Health insurance provides security that a lot of these families haven't had in the past," Carney said.
Looking at the bottom line
Democratic strategist and pollster Cornell Belcher agrees, telling CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" that people need to look at the bottom line.