www.baltimoresun.com/health/la-sh-obamacare-site-girl-cyberbullying-20131113,0,7082628.story

baltimoresun.com

Former face of Obamacare site speaks out against 'cyberbullying'

By Morgan Little

1:14 PM EST, November 13, 2013

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The woman whose face became tied to the rocky launch of the Healthcare.gov insurance exchanges has spoken out for the first time, defending herself from a swarm of online attacks.

“I’m here to stand up for myself," said Adriana, who asked that only her first name be used, in an interview with ABC News on Wednesday.

After a photo of her was featured on the front page of the Affordable Care Act’s website and used across numerous news outlets to illustrate stories about the site’s continued technical shortcomings, she became an inadvertent national punch line.

But the Maryland resident, wife and mother of a 21-month-old son said she had no idea that her photo would lead to what she deemed widespread “cyberbullying.”

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“I don’t know why people should hate me," she said, adding that she had nothing to do with the website's problems.

Adriana learned she would be featured on the site’s homepage this summer, after she had family photographs taken for free by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in exchange for their use to promote so-called Obamacare reforms.

Her photo was removed from the site late last month, a decision she called “a relief,” she told ABC.  A Department of Health and Human Services representative said the new graphics are a better way to reinforce information for users.

The White House maintains that the site’s many errors will be fixed for most users by the end of November and that anemic enrollment numbers are symptoms of the botched site debut, not Obamacare’s long-term viability.

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