Obamacare Websites Crash on Day 1, plus 5 More Things You'll Want to Know Today

Here's a quick rundown from the world of business and economics this morning: the things you need to know, and some you'll just want to know.

Yes, the big news today is the government shutdown. But you aren't living under a rock in the back of a cave on Fiji, so we'll assume you know the basic situation in Washington, and get to the things you may have missed.

• Funny thing about Obamacare, the item at the heart of all the nonsense in Washington: The health insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act opened for business today, and people have started hitting the websites. Only one problem: The Obamacare websites weren't working. As of 9:30 a.m., Healthcare.gov informed us: "The System is down at the moment. We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Please try again later."

(Update, 10:45 a.m.: The main healthcare.gov site was still not fixed, but they were working on it.)

(Update 11:05 a.m.: Looks like the main HealthCare.gov site is up and working. See, even when it's officially closed, your government can get things accomplished. But if you're still having problems accessing your state site or the federal site, give us a shout in the comments below, or on Twitter, @dailyfinance. We'd love to know.)

(Update: 2:10 p.m.: Boy, do our readers have a lot to say about this! But the key point we're seeing: No, it's still not working properly. When we look, it's back to that "Please Wait," too many people trying to access the site at once message, and a DailyFinance reader who says he runs a Florida insurance agency says he and his staff have been trying all day to get a single person signed up through the system, to no avail.)

• Lately, it seems like every week brings a new agreement from a big Wall Street bank to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars for its malfeasance around the financial crisis -- usually without ever admitting any wrongdoing. On deck today: Wells Fargo, which has agreed to settle with Freddie Mac for $869 million over -- you guessed it -- toxic mortgages from the Bubble Era.

• The government is closed for business, but business is open. And in past moments of Washington dysfunction, the stock market has usually done just fine. However, some companies -- like these 20 -- are disproportionately exposed to the government, which means the shutdown is likely to cost them big time.

• If you're still using Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows XP operating system, take note: After April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide technical support for XP. So, no more patches for glitches, no more security updates to fight off the latest virus. That means it's probably time to upgrade to at least Windows 7 -- if your computer is powerful enough to run it. It may just be time to start considering new hardware, too.

• Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) invested $5 billion in Goldman Sachs (GS) back in 2008, when the bank really needed it, and for that money, he also got the right to buy another $5 billion in shares later at $115 per share. They tweaked the deal a bit in March: He's now just going to get the value of his profit in stock, without having to invest another dime. And how big a profit is that? With Goldman at around $159 a share, the Oracle of Omaha just got $2.15 billion. An oracle indeed.

• And finally: Remember back before Google (GOOG) totally conquered search? Well, Blippex may be the first truly transformative search engine since Google. Conceived of as "the Wikipedia of Search," Blippex builds its results based on data gathered from its users (with scrupulous attention to privacy, we're assured), which makes them quite different from Google's. And possibly, more interesting and useful.

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Obamacare is a hot topic right now. This article alone has generated almost 900 responses. The Wikipedia article on this topic has inspired over 1,400 people to spend more than 4,500 unpaid hours editing it. On either side of the argument, passionate individuals have compelling (and sometimes not so compelling) things to say. A side product of this huge national interest that not many speak about is the impact of this debate on the Wikipedia profiles of those public figures, companies, and organizations that are affected by ObamaCare most directly. It is interesting to see how many different people and industries are impacted by the national debate surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

October 03 2013 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah free stuff!

October 02 2013 at 9:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The republicans agenda was rejected in 2012 people voted for Obama's policies the majority of Americans do not want the ACA repealed!

October 02 2013 at 9:23 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to teaparty2implode's comment

The same election that brought us Ted Cruz and kept the GOP house.

October 02 2013 at 11:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Is anyone REALLY surprised???? just remember who is running it, LOL

October 02 2013 at 9:04 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Why would anyone be shocked that the Obama health care web site has crashed....

October 02 2013 at 8:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Millions tried to sign up for affordable health insurance. This is the story.

October 02 2013 at 8:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How does this benefit people if their premiums are increased and their working hours are cut back?

October 02 2013 at 6:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jrb359's comment

It doesn't

October 02 2013 at 8:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's normal, because if ''zillion'' peoples ''hit'' in one time or in one period of time even Google exactly one same page it will happen too...

Peoples around still can't accept other peoples who need to sign up and top of that today ''busy traffic'' clearly prove many peoples is interested....

Minority peoples and one TV station is just ''scare'' this stuff will work and this is only reason why ''spreading'' all around ''usual'' complains many months before today day....

October 02 2013 at 2:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to BABIN's comment

Peoples, babs?

October 02 2013 at 11:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

they've been working on it for three years with unlimited funds and can't even get a website to work. Yet they want to manage your healthcare...what a joke.

October 02 2013 at 2:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

They had three years to get tbis shlt right...

October 02 2013 at 1:11 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hugh_geenormous's comment

The Republicans never wanted this in the first place.They wanted to come out with a Health plan first but in all these years never did. Now people who need insurance are getting it.

October 02 2013 at 8:42 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to arthlop1's comment

Not on that website they're not

October 02 2013 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down