Admin looking at taking down, rebuilding parts of HealthCare.gov this weekend
posted at 4:01 pm on October 11, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
ObamaCare’s online portal didn’t fare too much better in its second week than its disaster of an inaugural week, with ongoing glitches and incoming revelations about just how hastily and sloppily designed the endeavor really was. Last weekend, the Obama administration took HealthCare.Gov during off-peak hours to see if they couldn’t iron some things out, but it evidently wasn’t nearly enough to fix the site’s underlying problems; ergo, it sounds like they’re thinking about doing the same this weekend to make time for some real reconstruction, via the WSJ:
Government officials are considering rebuilding some parts of the federally run health-insurance marketplace that have been identified as the key flaws that blocked many consumers from getting coverage.
Much of the problem stems from a design element that requires users of the federal site, which serves 36 states, to create accounts before shopping for insurance, according to policy and technology experts. The site, healthcare.gov, was initially going to include an option to browse before registering, but that tool was delayed, people familiar with the situation said. …
If any part of the web of systems fails to work properly, it could lead to a traffic jam blocking most users from the marketplace. That’s just what happened: On Oct. 2, officials identified a bottleneck where those systems intersect at a software component sold by Oracle Corp. that still hasn’t been cleared. …
The problems haven’t yet been resolved, but people familiar with the situation said officials are debating whether to replace parts of the registration system this weekend. By Thursday morning, a new tool that allows users to preview plans without registering appeared on the site with little fanfare.
These glitches, however, are increasingly looking like they’re going to need more than some mere weekend reconstruction to fix, and the administration only has so much time get the system running smoothly before their credibility really starts going out the window, via Reuters:
The U.S. administration has a little over a month to fix the technology problems crippling its online health insurance marketplace, or jeopardize the goal of signing up millions of Americans in time for benefits under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, experts said on Thursday. …
“Mid-November would be a time where folks who are getting online or accessing in other ways should really see things move pretty efficiently,” Dan Hilferty, chief executive of Philadelphia-based Independence Blue Cross, said in an interview. “As we get closer to January 1, if in fact some of these glitches are not fixed, then I think people will become more and more concerned, and maybe panic about it.” …
Patience has also begun to run thin among Democrats who worry that the administration is not acting decisively enough.
“They don’t seem to be addressing these problems quickly enough. They’ve had three years to get their ducks in a row. It gets to the point where it becomes inexcusable. And we’re not at that point yet. But we’re getting close to it,” said a senior Democratic aide in Congress.
So, at the front end of this supposed six-month enrollment period before penalties kick in, we don’t even know how long it’s going to take before the administration accomplishes the fast-and-easy signup users were promised, and on the tail end, enrollees don’t actually have until March 31st but more likely until Valentine’s Day to get their applications processed in time. I’d think that pulling yet another unilateral delay in one of the law’s deadlines, especially with the GOP asking for the same, would be a political nightmare for them — but with these guys, you never know.