ObamaCare: "The biggest tech gaggle ever?"

In yet another scorching indictment of the not-so-grand opening of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Silicon Angle‘s cybersecurity editor John Casaretto takes the Obama administration to the woodshed, cataloging their long list of failings in the more than three years they had to put this thing together:

Regardless of the variety of places to hear whatever facts and justification align with how you feel about the program, it is undeniable that this launch has been an incredible technical failure.  Straight up – an absolute failure. …

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is about as ugly any kind of site deployment gets.  They had three and a half years to get this right, do better and more testing.  They have failed miserably and they are handling it miserably.  There clearly should have been more testing, and with all due respect to Matthew Hancock, discovering these issues was as easy as using some freely available plugins to a free web browser used by millions of people around the world.  That’s pretty sad.  Now, there are ways to fix it using technology – Application monitoring, machine data, DevOps, Big Data – those are all things that could help.  Get some people in there, maybe Google, or Facebook or someone – they handle way more traffic than that.  You have to wonder if it’s too late.  We were told this was for the 47 million uninsured.  Is there any way this site can serve even half of that?  A quarter?  Until the word is out that things are better or just the plain truth of “we screwed up” – I’m giving the Affordable Care Act technical effort a big thumbs down, one-star review, whatever – this is not ready for primetime.  Hopefully this is not a harbinger of things to come, but many have predicted that to be the case.


I would also like to point out yet another — er — miscalculation to which the administration has announced a pretty crucial correction. Originally, people were supposed to have a full six months to sign up for ObamaCare before they’d be subjected penalties, but they just moved up the date by which people must have insurance to around Valentine’s Day of 2014, via the AP:

You’ll have to get coverage by Valentine’s Day or thereabouts to avoid penalties for being uninsured, the Obama administration confirmed Wednesday.

That’s about six weeks earlier than a March 31 deadline often cited previously.

The explanation: health insurance coverage typically starts on the first day of a given month, and it takes up to 15 days to process applications.

You still have to be covered by March 31 to avoid the new penalties for remaining uninsured. But to successfully accomplish that you have to send in your application by the middle of February. Coverage would then start on Mar. 1.

This latest “wrinkle” means that the six-month enrollment period is actually more like a four-and-a-half month enrollment period (also minus the last week over which people have been unable to sign up, and counting); as Speaker Boehner wondered yesterday, “how can we tax people for not buying a product from a website that doesn’t work?” At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if the White House just unilaterally decides to go ahead and extend that deadline, too.