The launch a month ago of the Healthcare.gov website, the online portal for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (AFA), aka Obamacare
, went as badly as it possibly could have gone. Millions attempted to use the site, and it simply didn’t work. To fix the problems, the Obama
administration is reaching out to the heaviest of hitters in the industry, including employees from Google
, Red Hat, and Oracle
. This, in addition to the work that Verizon will be doing
to help clean up the disaster.
Specifically, Google site reliability engineer Michael Dickerson and Presidential Innovation Fellow Greg Gershman will be on the case. Dickerson will work with QSSI, the company that built the information-collecting “data services hub”, and Gershman will be with CGI Group, the Canadian company being widely blamed for the botched site build and testing.
Credit: Mark Lennihan/AP
Among the issues on the table, personnel will be analyzing and prioritizing what needs to be fixed, improve site stability, streamline the developmental process, revisit end-to-end testing, and presumably fixing subpar and/or extraneous code. “I know it’s a very political topic. As an information technology company we are doing everything we can to help,” Oracle CEO Larry Ellison told reporters at his company’s annual meeting.
The launch, or not-launch as it were, of Healthcare.gov is embarrassing. The level of incompetence and bureaucratic complexity of the parties participating in the website construction is galling. Sure, the AFA is a complex program, and Healthcare.gov has some heavy lifting to do and a flood of users to handle, but it’s not like creating a complicated website has never been done before.
There's a lot that doesn't get done in the government because of party bickering and partisan nonsense, but that's not what this is. The total failure of this website launch is pure, old-fashioned incompetence.