Many Americans got "please wait" messages Tuesday when they tried to start shopping for health coverage on the federal government's new health insurance website, healthcare.gov. A series of technological glitches, delays and crashes kept people from getting to several of the 16 state exchanges, too.
Onita Sanders (right), a certified application counselor at the Southeastern Virginia Health System, helps Virginia resident Brenda Harrell with health coverage options at Enrollfest in Hampton, Va., on Tuesday.
In a call center in Rancho Cordova, Calif., on Tuesday, all the workers wore the same T-shirt: "Keep Calm And Go Live."
They were ready and waiting to take calls from consumers who could buy health insurance on California's new insurance marketplace for the first time. So the T-shirts urged calm, but the mood was ecstatic and emotional among the architects and key backers who gathered to flip the switch on the Golden State's exchange.
Veterans who came to Washington Tuesday to see the World War II memorial on the National Mall were able to complete their visit, although the memorial — like other federal museums and memorials — was officially closed to the public.
Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 8:33 pm
Day 1 of the federal government shutdown, 2013 edition, was business as usual, at least when it came to each side trying to win the message war and keep the pressure on the political opposition in the hope of getting them to blink first.
President Obama had a White House Rose Garden event to mark what also was the first day individuals were able to enroll in the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges. With real people who would benefit from the law arrayed behind him in a photo op, he used the moment to blast Republicans.
Pat Barnes of Hanover, Md. waits for her train at Union Station in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 1, the first day of the government shutdown. Barnes is a federal employee and was sent home early in response to the shutdown.
Credit Meredith Rizzo / NPR
Kirk Douglas from Martinsburg, W.Va. boards a train at Union Station in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 1, the first day of the government shutdown. "I think it's a sad day for the United States," he said. "People travel from all around the world to come see the Smithsonian, and now they're closed. It kind of makes us look like immature, bickering children to the rest of the world."
Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:51 pm
As more than 800,000 government employees were sent home this morning, the staff at Washington, D.C.'s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue opened "Shutdown Central," a gathering space for furloughed locals to work and play.
Of the hundreds of thousands of federal workers not working because of the shutdown, many are, of course, here in Washington, D.C. The region is home to dozens of federal agencies, from Homeland Security to the Environmental Protection Agency. NPR's Allison Keyes spoke with some of those affected.