Healthcare.gov failed under light load testing just before launch

posted at 8:01 am on October 22, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

For the three weeks of the ObamaCare exchange rollout debacle, the White House has tried to claim that the issues relate to the overwhelming popularity and web traffic at Heathcare.gov.  As late as yesterday, Barack Obama himself claimed that “the number of people who’ve visited the site has been overwhelming, which has aggravated some of these underlying problems,” in a speech that mentioned no other causes to the failure. Last night, the Washington Post reported that the Department of Health and Human Services tested the system just before launch with just a few hundred concurrent connections — and experienced the same failures we’ve seen since:

Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health ­insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.

Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead.

When the Web site went live Oct. 1, it locked up shortly after midnight as about 2,000 users attempted to complete the first step, according to two people familiar with the project.

As new details emerged about early warning signs of serious deficiencies in HealthCare.gov, Obama on Monday gave a consumer-friendly defense of the health-care law, insisting that the problems many Americans have faced in trying to enroll in insurance plans will be fixed quickly.

Nor was that the only red flag for HHS before the October 1 launch date.  An earlier dry run with insurers had them asking for a delay, or at least a staged rollout:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency in charge of running the health insurance exchange in 36 states, invited about 10 insurers to give advice and help test the Web site.

About a month before the exchange opened, this testing group urged agency officials not to launch it nationwide because it was still riddled with problems, according to an insurance IT executive who was close to the rollout.

“We discussed . . . is there a way to do a pilot — by state, by geographic region?” the executive said.

Amazingly, HHS didn’t test the consumer end of the piece from start to finish until September 26th, just five days before the exchange opened.  Obama yesterday claimed that private-sector firms with expertise in web portals were now consulting on the fiasco, but HHS had that opportunity in August and September, when private-sector insurers tried to tell the Obama administration to delay the rollout.  They chose not to listen, and now act surprised when the system failed.

The story proves that the White House has spun a false narrative about the failures, an abjectly political spin that wants to take credit for demand on a site they made mandatory for tax compliance.  The failures exist even under the lightest traffic, which means it has nothing to do with traffic at all — as anyone with even a passing familiarity with web portals figured out on Day 1. Even yesterday, Obama held a pep rally to continue blowing smoke up the skirts of Americans rather than do something significant to protect Americans from the disaster.

Howard Kurtz says the dishonesty has the media changing course on ObamaCare:

Mark Halperin, the “Game Change” coauthor and a regular on [Morning Joe], called the rollout “unacceptable” and added that “the secrecy is unacceptable,” accusing the administration of withholding information about how many people have signed up.

His fellow panelist, liberal commentator Mike Barnicle, ratcheted up from there: “They’re lying about it now,” he said. “They’re not depriving us of information, they are outright lying.” The former Boston Globe columnist called the administration’s conduct “unacceptable.”

On “CBS This Morning,” the network’s political director, John Dickerson, calls the rollout “a total fiasco,” saying the administration is getting into a “credibility death spiral.” …

As liberal Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein tweeted in mid-address, “So far, this seems weirdly similar to the speech Obama would’ve given if the exchanges were working fine.”

But they’re not working fine, and White House reporters pressed Jay Carney aggressively about what the president knew, when he knew it and whether the administration owes the country an apology. (During the shutdown, you’ll recall, the press corps didn’t ask the president a single ObamaCare question at a news conference.)

This disaster is entirely self-inflicted, and could be seen coming for months — by the administration itself. The lack of honesty on this raises lots of questions about the administration’s other narratives. We’ll see if the media figures that out.


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So, um…even after the fixes this whole thing will remain massively vulnerable to even low level DOS attacks, then?

TexasDan on October 22, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Ya – like about 10 hackers from each of Iran and China should about do it…..

dentarthurdent on October 22, 2013 at 10:55 AM

I still don’t understand what the problem is here; I always found Windows NT 3.51 Server to be incredibly robust and reliable.

pain train on October 22, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Imagine how well they will screen and process the tens of millions of illegal aliens if they pass Amnesty legislation.

DaMav on October 22, 2013 at 11:01 AM

It seems that the only things we are good at anymore is spying and killing people…and that’s in question…

PatriotRider on October 22, 2013 at 11:01 AM

When you’ve lost Mike Barnicle…….

ksmoola1 on October 22, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Wow. Obama lied.

Must be a day that ends in “y.”

LASue on October 22, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Winner! Shut er down!

ToddPA on October 22, 2013 at 11:06 AM

According to this administration, the iceberg was a “glitch” for the Titanic.

AubieJon on October 22, 2013 at 11:08 AM

If you listen carefully to Carney, from yesterday’s Goebbellian act, he already said that if you can’t log on you won’t be penalized.

Just don’t touch that system. They track you all the way and nothing is private or confidential with them, nothing.

Schadenfreude on October 22, 2013 at 11:08 AM

This disaster is entirely self-inflicted, and could be seen coming for months — by the administration itself. The lack of honesty on this raises lots of questions about the administration’s other narratives.

The conservative blogosphere has, rightly, been raising lots of questions about all of these other narratives dating back to January 2009 – doing the job the lapdog media was refusing to do because of ideological sympathies.

The vast majority of these narratives, from economic to policy related at DoJ, DoE, DHS, DoD, DoI, HHS, IRS, ATF, and other departments and agencies, have been either ignore or marginalized by the sycophants and apparatchiks of the Administration. ‘Laws of the land’ have been ignored, unenforced, and fundamentally changed – based on the whims of a select few without any constitutional authority to legalize such changes. Congress has been stonewalled and ignored, with echoes of ‘I won’ resonating to the glee of the fascist left.

After 5+ years, expecting the lapdog media to finally start to highlight these shortcomings, the incompetence, and the abuses of power, is starting to touch on Einstein’s definition of insanity.

Athos on October 22, 2013 at 11:27 AM

The fact that Healthcare.gov’s launch was a complete bust should come as no surprise to those who are versed in large scale enterprise IT initiatives and have experience or knowledge with how IT operates inside the Beltway / Federal Government.

Add to that the inherent complexity of the ACA, all 2200+ pages of legislation, and 12,000+ pages of resulting regulations (most of which were written AFTER November 2012 in order to not draw attention to the regulatory burden prior to the Presidential campaign), and the need for data to connect / share across at least 50 agencies and departments, and this was a project doomed to launch badly before we even start to look at the people involved and their lack of a grasp of reality, best practices, and political motivation.

Just because someone wills something to happen, and tosses several aircraft carrier sized boatloads of money at something, doesn’t mean that it will work.

And Brooks Law (basically stating that tossing boatloads of more people and money to salvage a failed IT project launch – extends the remediation time, not shortens it) means that this will remain an EpicClusterFarkNado well into 2014.

Athos on October 22, 2013 at 11:34 AM

The swine in DC

Schadenfreude on October 22, 2013 at 11:49 AM

The story proves that the White House has spun a false narrative about the failures, an abjectly political spin that wants to take credit for demand on a site they made mandatory for tax compliance.

Why can’t I find the word “LIE” in there? It should be in there. It should be bold. It should be in 40 pt type. Since when did LYING become nothing but some “spin” … and “political spin”, at that, or even more ridiculous, a “false narrative”, as if it’s something that should be accepted as a legitimate part of the game of governance?

This is just pathetic. “Spin” … nothing that bad. Not really a lie, just “spin” … a “false narrative” … you know, adding a little color to a story …

And you squishes wonder why decent people hate your guts. Barky lied his azz off – as usual – and you surrender monkeys haven’t got the integrity to state that clearly in a friggin blog post.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on October 22, 2013 at 11:50 AM

The fact that Healthcare.gov’s launch was a complete bust should come as no surprise to those who are versed in large scale enterprise IT initiatives and have experience or knowledge with how IT operates inside the Beltway / Federal Government.

Athos on October 22, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Ya, no kiddin’.
It would been cheaper and worked better if they just threw $100 million to esurance.com for a copy of their source code / web script and just make a few necessary mods.

dentarthurdent on October 22, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Athos on October 22, 2013 at 11:34 AM

dentarthurdent on October 22, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Hence my greater concern about this leading to single payer.
It WILL be a huge clusterfark, as is nearly every government run program – guaranteed.

dentarthurdent on October 22, 2013 at 11:52 AM

The lack of honesty on this raises lots of questions about the administration’s other narratives.

LOL. Barky and his junta have been telling the most ridiculous, transparent lies for almost 5 years, now. Barky doesn’t just lie but tells the worst, dumbest, most intellectually offensive lies one can imagine. It isn’t a “lack of honesty”. It’s an intentional dishonesty and malevolent nature that anyone with a brain understood full well back in the 2008 campaign. Barky is a pathological liar, a poor one, at that, and a mind-numbing moron who has the mathematical sophistication of a slow 8th grader and the language skills of a 10th grade idiot.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on October 22, 2013 at 11:54 AM

The fact that Healthcare.gov’s launch was a complete bust should come as no surprise to those who are versed in large scale enterprise IT initiatives and have experience or knowledge with how IT operates inside the Beltway / Federal Government.

Athos on October 22, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Only an administration this incompetent and politically driven would launch a large scale enterprise without successful beta testing. I honestly have to wonder what they were thinking was going to happen when the site went live. That, by some miracle, the system would work properly.

Happy Nomad on October 22, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Those of us in life-and-death pre-existing conditions have reason to be alarmed.

chelie on October 22, 2013 at 9:13 AM

.
So…. what’s your new plan? Same as the old plan? Got any plan except trusting Ø?

ExpressoBold on October 22, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Only an administration this incompetent and politically driven would launch a large scale enterprise without successful beta testing. I honestly have to wonder what they were thinking was going to happen when the site went live. That, by some miracle, the system would work properly.

Happy Nomad on October 22, 2013 at 11:57 AM

You indirectly hit the key point (IMHO) – NOBODY in this regime has any experience in launching or running ANY kind of business enterprise.

dentarthurdent on October 22, 2013 at 12:09 PM

The guys doing this are pros. How dare you question the capabilities of dedicated professionals that are working feverishly to bring abundant and affordable healthcare to the masses. I mean, the same content management system that runs Hotgas is more than capable of providing secure information on the government’s efforts at healthcare reform. What could possibly go wrong?

http://www.getcoveredamerica.org/wp-admin/

ReaganWasRight on October 22, 2013 at 12:10 PM

But … But … They intended for it to work right! That’s all that really matters.

TerryW on October 22, 2013 at 12:27 PM

So…. what’s your new plan? Same as the old plan? Got any plan except trusting Ø?

ExpressoBold on October 22, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Thank God, I am on an employer-based plan and I haven’t gotten the details of the changes yet (that’s happening Nov. 13). I am certain things will change but I can’t say what it is yet. I have said all along that if ObamaCare or single-payer is in place, I will die. I cannot get individual insurance on my own; not health, not life. The regime will not want to pay what it costs to keep me alive. I was speaking to the commenter who said “Let them die” in order to prove that Ocare is foul. I agree it is foul. I just found his comment to be awfully flippant unless he’s someone who depends on health coverage in order to stay alive.

chelie on October 22, 2013 at 12:27 PM

The guys doing this are pros. How dare you question the capabilities of dedicated professionals that are working feverishly to bring abundant and affordable healthcare to the masses. I mean, the same content management system that runs Hotgas is more than capable of providing secure information on the government’s efforts at healthcare reform. What could possibly go wrong?

http://www.getcoveredamerica.org/wp-admin/

ReaganWasRight on October 22, 2013 at 12:10 PM

If only. That’s just a hack group that is trying to push the ACA. The Healthcare.gov site would probably actually work better if they just used WordPress.

MobileVideoEngineer on October 22, 2013 at 12:35 PM

You indirectly hit the key point (IMHO) – NOBODY in this regime has any experience in launching or running ANY kind of business enterprise.

dentarthurdent on October 22, 2013 at 12:09 PM

That’s one of the reasons why one spends, in this case, $600 million plus on outside ‘experts’ – you hire that expertise, experience, and ability to design, build, and implement under best practices.

Except in this case, the outside ‘experts’ were not only not the experts (CGI was sacked by the province of Ontario for an epic project fail), but the ‘business sponsors’, the Obama Administration officials supposedly responsible for this, clearly thought themselves as the smartest in the room…far smarter than the ‘experts’.

Athos on October 22, 2013 at 12:46 PM

“I have said all along that if ObamaCare or single-payer is in place, I will die. I cannot get individual insurance on my own; not health, not life. The regime will not want to pay what it costs to keep me alive.”

I’m no fan of ZeroCare, but since you can’t be turned down for pre-existing conditions and you’ll get a subsidy if your income is low, I can’t see why you would “die.”

sauropod on October 22, 2013 at 1:10 PM

I’m no fan of ZeroCare, but since you can’t be turned down for pre-existing conditions and you’ll get a subsidy if your income is low, I can’t see why you would “die.”

sauropod on October 22, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Because there’s a major difference between getting “coverage” and getting actual health care – which is a huge point that none of the 0care cheerleaders seem capable of grasping.

dentarthurdent on October 22, 2013 at 1:20 PM

What’s next…???

How about: “You’re doing a heck of a job, Kathie!”

BillyRuffn on October 22, 2013 at 1:52 PM

dentarthurdent on October 22, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Thank you. Just because you have insurance doesn’t mean they are willing to cover the costs. What else is the IPAB for, but to restrain the costs? And how do they determine what gets paid and what doesn’t? Remember this post right here on Hot Air? http://hotair.com/archives/2009/05/12/video-are-the-elderly-cost-effective/ Remember how Obama told that woman whose 100-year-old mother had a pacemaker inserted that when the time came to replace it, maybe she’d be better off just taking a pain pill to deal with it?

chelie on October 22, 2013 at 2:28 PM

chelie on October 22, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Exactly. As soon as the costs get too high, the soylent green panels will kick in – just like they do in the UK under their abominable NHS.
And a big part of the problem will be the lack of qualified doctors to provide actual healthcare because the limitations on them will make a lot of them retire, seek other employment, or not go into that business to begin with.

dentarthurdent on October 22, 2013 at 2:42 PM

So c’mon trolls, where are ya?

Verbe?

Livesdumbanddies?

Yoohoo…..

itsspideyman on October 22, 2013 at 2:55 PM

What I want to know is… who’s that cute chick on the lead-in page for this story …

RedManBlueState on October 22, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Amazingly, HHS didn’t test the consumer end of the piece from start to finish until September 26th, just five days before the exchange opened. Obama yesterday claimed that private-sector firms with expertise in web portals were now consulting on the fiasco, but HHS had that opportunity in August and September, when private-sector insurers tried to tell the Obama administration to delay the rollout. They chose not to listen, and now act surprised when the system failed.

If HHS knew on September 26 that the website would fail, about the time House Republicans were passing Continuing Resolutions with a one-year delay in the Obamacare individual mandate, they should have told Senate Democrats to pass the same CR to give themselves another year to work the bugs out.

Instead, Obama chose to dig in his donkey heels and blame the Republicans for shutting down the government, hoping that would hide the Obamacare failures from the public.

Now let fit meet shan and egg meet face among Democrats. By January people will be begging Republicans to vote for a one-year delay in the Obamacare individual mandate, and Democrats might be persuaded to accept it to head off disaster at the polls.

Steve Z on October 23, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Only an administration this incompetent and politically driven would launch a large scale enterprise without successful beta testing. I honestly have to wonder what they were thinking was going to happen when the site went live. That, by some miracle, the system would work properly.

Happy Nomad on October 22, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Obama honestly thinks of himself as a miracle worker–that he could change things simply by saying the magic words and the world would obey him. Remember this: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the ones who will stop the seas from rising.” Like Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee, Obama thought he could command the forces of nature with his words. How well did that work when hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey?

Or when the BP oil well blew out in the Gulf of Mexico. “Plug the damn hole!” Somehow he thought that his words would magically stop the oil flow, instead of realizing that such a job takes lots of WORK by lots of people with more expertise than Obama. Meanwhile, Obama said he was looking for “an @$$ to kick”.

So of course he expects the website enabling (or forcing) people to sign up for HIS law to work by magic. It’s too big to fail, so he will tell the American people how wonderful it is, and look for an @$$ to kick when it doesn’t work.

Meanwhile, lots of IT experts in private industry are probably telling Obama: “We didn’t build that. You did, which is why it doesn’t work!”

Steve Z on October 23, 2013 at 11:28 AM

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