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10/21/2013
01:13 PM
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Obama Addresses HealthCare.gov Glitches

President expresses frustration with the marketplace's problems in Monday press conference.

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President Obama addressed the widespread dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act's federal marketplace Monday, expressing frustration with Healthcare.gov's tech glitches.

"Nobody's madder than me that the website isn't working as well as it should," Obama said. "Which means it's going to get fixed."

The marketplace launched on Oct. 1 and received an overwhelming number of applicants -- many met with error messages.

The Affordable Care Act is intended to provide health insurance for 7 million uninsured Americans, who must enroll via insurance marketplaces by Dec. 15 in order to have their coverage start on Jan. 1. Administration officials estimate the number of health insurance applications received through the exchanges at 476,000. To date, Healthcare.gov has been visited nearly 20 million times, Obama said.

[ How are state-run Obamacare exchanges avoiding problems? Read Obamacare Health Exchanges: How Oregon Got It Done. ]

In Healthcare.gov's first week, 3.7 million Americans attempted to register, with just more than a million of those finding success, according to data from the Compete panel of 2 million U.S. consumers.

The federal marketplace is used by 36 states, with 15 states and the District of Columbia operating their own exchanges.

Obama's speech emphasized the around-the-clock effort of contractors to fix the glitches, which prevented millions of Americans from successfully applying for healthcare. He suggested alternate application methods, such as calling the exchange hotline and applying in person.

Still, the President didn't provide specifics as to how exactly the glitches will be fixed. A New York Timesarticle published Monday estimated as many as five million lines of software code might need to be rewritten before the website runs properly, according to a specialist working on the project.

Obama recognized the issues with Healthcare.gov while emphasizing the importance of the Affordable Care Act outside of the website, including access to healthcare for those with preexisting conditions and the ability for people under 26 years old to stay on their parents' plan.

"There's no sugarcoating it," he said. "The website has been too slow … Precisely because the product is good, I want the cash registers to work, I want the checkout lines to be smooth, so I want people to be able to get this great product. And there's no excuse for the problems."

The bottom line? Be patient.

"I want everybody to remember that we're only three weeks into a six-month enrollment period when you can buy these new plans," Obama said. "These problems are getting fixed."

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rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
10/24/2013 | 1:54:19 AM
re: Obama Addresses Healthcare.gov Glitches
With regards to the NSA's "government IT project", how do we define success when the program is top secret? What did it promise? Did it deliver on those promises? What did it cost? Was that more or less than what it was supposed to cost? Of course if we don't know what it was supposed to deliver, it could have been declared successfully done when the money was exhausted and who would know?

I argue that it's impossible to define success with respect to the NSA "government IT project". For all we know, they've probably spent hundreds of times more money than Health and Human Services with nothing to show but manufactured documents purposely given to Edward Snowden in an effort to send us all in the wrong direction. (Granted, my statement has tinfoil hat written all over it but it's no less speculative than ordinary citizens making statements about anything the NSA does.)
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
10/23/2013 | 5:56:05 PM
re: Obama Addresses Healthcare.gov Glitches
And if history offers any lessons, it'll be interesting to see how an emergency SWAT team of new chefs swarming the kitchen will help get the operation in better shape.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
10/23/2013 | 5:02:16 PM
re: Obama Addresses Healthcare.gov Glitches
Back to civics class for you if you think the President of US has day to day project management responsibility over IT projects. Absolutely the dumbest post I've ever read, guessing you are a card carrying Tea Party wag. Although you did spell some pretty big big words correctly, that probably makes you chief strategist for them.
Number 6
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Number 6,
User Rank: Moderator
10/23/2013 | 4:37:15 PM
re: Obama Addresses Healthcare.gov Glitches
How many articles has InformationWeek published about large-scale government IT projects that were train wrecks, regardless of which party was running things?

Just from a quick Google search:

IRS: http://www.informationweek.com...

FAA: http://www.informationweek.com...

FBI: http://www.informationweek.com...

Hmmm.... Yet the NSA seems to be very successful with theirs. Maybe ask them to fix it up? Come to think of it, they probably have all the data anyway and could tell anyone what the best plan is for them. It's a win-win!!
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
10/22/2013 | 9:17:59 PM
re: Obama Addresses Healthcare.gov Glitches
"The website has been too slow." I think when one-third of the people who attempt to use a site are able to register, it's much more than "slow." What if only one-third of Netflix users got their movies? I'm sure glitches will get fixed, but so far this has been a technical and PR nightmare.
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Strategist
10/22/2013 | 7:43:42 PM
re: Obama Addresses Healthcare.gov Glitches
The most insulting part of this entire debacle is the fact that they have had 3 years and almost $700 million to get this ready and it is not "glitchy", it is an absolute failure. The President plays it off like there are minor problems, when in reality, this is a systematic failure and I suspect there are many more to come. Anyone in the private sector who did this would be instantly fired and/or sued.
JIMPRO
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JIMPRO,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/22/2013 | 6:25:34 PM
re: Obama Addresses Healthcare.gov Glitches
So Obama is frustrated????? HE'S THE ONE DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ENTIRE TRAIN WRECK!!!!!!!! This incompetent hack wouldn't last 10 minutes in my department.
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
10/22/2013 | 6:15:37 PM
re: Obama Addresses Healthcare.gov Glitches
I suspect its less about time and more about wild west architecture and dev practices, from having way too many chefs in the kitchen. Its really not even that big of a site.
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
10/22/2013 | 6:13:46 PM
re: Obama Addresses Healthcare.gov Glitches
That does sound a little over the top.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
10/22/2013 | 5:45:14 PM
re: Obama Addresses Healthcare.gov Glitches
I just took a look at source code on home page and the code on the 1st page after you click on Apply Online. No question there is a ton of code in this entire site. They are using jQuery and are attempting to handle multiple browser nuances and whether on smartphone/tablet.
The 1st page of Apply Online does only one functional thing: Asks you to choose your state from a drop down list. It then uses that state selection to load links to information unique to that state. There are 3000 lines of source in that page, although hundreds of lines are whitespace and comments.
I obviously can't see any of the back end code or infrastructure handling all these ajax calls, which for sure is where things are bogging down. Regardless of exactly how many lines of code, they have their work cut out for them to make any major overhaul in the time frame they have.
As developer, I feel for them. Just exactly how do you test a site geared to handle hundreds of thousands to millions of hits on Day 1? Very few businesses ever have that problem.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
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