And the Web visitors count is interesting, too. I'd bet that the higher applicant-to-page view ratio in Kentucky reflects the fact that Kynect was generally functional last week, while the other states struggled with keeping their sites live. Basically, Kentuckians didn't have to reload, reload, reload in hopes of filing applications, as they did in California, Maryland, and many other states.
Kentucky's secret? The Wall Street Journal's Arian Campos-Flores writes that it was servers, simplicity, and state agencies' structure. (And California and Maryland's struggle? Mostly with servers and simplicity, too—their sites' lack of it. Here's more background on Covered California's bumpy first week.)
Don't judge the exchanges' fate too soon: Join us for a conversation on November 15 as our experts perform a pulse check on Obamacare.
So what does it all mean? Some frustration for O'Malley, who is generally considered a top candidate for the Democratic party's presidential nomination in 2016. And some plaudits from the current president and a higher profile for Beshear, who's in his second and final term as Kentucky governor.
But beyond optics, it's tough to know whether the early results will ultimately add up to much. Open enrollment stretches through March, and Covered California's numbers will likely (and quickly) outdistance Kynect's as the IT glitches keep getting ironed out. It's still too soon to understand the impact on payers, patients, and providers.
Although Kentucky officials can take heart in their ACA rollout—even after it was opposed by the state's most prominent national politicians, GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul.
"My state needs Obamacare," Beshear wrote in his New York Times op/ed. "Now."
"We couldn’t afford not to do it."
How do health insurance exchanges work?
Government officials often compare the exchanges to online travel sites like Expedia or Orbitz. But given that many exchange websites aren't fully functional yet, I find it helpful to picture a big box store.