CNN: Blowing up HealthCare.Gov and starting over still looking like their best option, say more tech experts
posted at 2:41 pm on October 23, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
There’s a growing consensus on the mid- to late-November time frame by which the Obama administration really, really needs to have ObamaCare’s online portal running smoothly to avoid inducing more death-spiral risks and subsequent industry panic, and all of their plans for public outreach and directing people to call centers and whatnot is only going to get them so far.
“Tech surge” or no tech surge, CNN reports that still more experts and computer engineers are piling on to the suggestion that fixing HealthCare.Gov’s major problems before the end of 2013 just isn’t a feasible task, and that rebuilding the system from scratch would be the administration’s easiest and safest bet:
After assessing the website, Dave Kennedy, the CEO of information-security company Trusted Sec, estimates that about 20% of Healthcare.gov needs to be rewritten. With a whopping 500 million lines of code, according to a recent New York Times report, Kennedy believes fixing the site would probably take six months to a year.
… Nish Bhalla, CEO of information-security firm Security Compass, said it “does not sound realistic at all” that Healthcare.gov will be fully operational before that point.
“We don’t even know where all of the problems lie, so how can we solve them?” Bhalla said. “It’s like a drive-by shooting: You’re going fast and you might hit it, you might miss it. But you can’t fix what you can’t identify.” …
“Projects that are done rapidly usually have a lot of [repetitive] code,” said Arron Kallenberg, a software engineer and tech entrepreneur. “So when you have a problem, instead of debugging something in a single location, you’re tracking it down all through the code base.”
A whopping 500 million lines of code is “so excessive,” says Kennedy, and that a more normal number for a project like the ObamaCare site would lie somewhere in the range of 25 million to 50 million. Dayum.
Admitting that they screwed up and throwing out more than $300 million taxpayer dollars’ worth of work would be one heck of a politically bitter pill to swallow, but this looks like it’s quickly turning into a damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don’t sort of scenario. Who could’ve seen that coming?