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President Barack Obama listens to comments while meeting with healthcare stakeholders in the Roosevelt Room at White House May 11, 2009. At right is Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
I can only imagine the feeling, Sir.
I've never been a big fan of Gibbs, but on this note he's spot on:
"Can you imagine if we weren't obsessed with the shutdown what would be going on on health care?" Gibbs, now an MSNBC analyst, said. "In fact, Republicans probably would be a lot closer to their goal had they not done that."

"This is excruciatingly embarrassing for the White House and for the Department of Health and Human Services. This was bungled badly," he continued. "This was not a server problem, just too many people came to the website. This is a website architecture problem. I think it's excruciatingly embarrassing. It's not fatal because there are still many weeks and days to go before the enrollment period closes at the end of March."

This was the main reason I was saying a few months ago the president had better things to do than attend to Syria's internal problems. Like rolling out his signature accomplishment.

So far, we know millions of people have visited the healthcare.gov. The administration says it needs 7 million people to enroll in the first year for the program to work. Well, we don't know how far along we are to achieve that goal, but if the difficulties of using the site are any indication, its probably not very far.

Furthermore, I have no idea why all they rolled out was a website (1990's!) rather than an app. I mean if the goal is getting healthy youngsters in first, you go with the app, not a website. Kids these days are nuts for new apps. Hell, there should be a full-on suite of tools to use. They've had three years to get ready for this. And a few million people on a website, really, isn't that much of a tech challenge anymore.

Heads need to roll and someone serious needs to be brought in to fix this shit. Especially before we get into the meat of campaign season next year. How about the Obama Campaign tech team? No way they'd tolerate a fuck up like this.

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  •  Tip Jar (281+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, most peculiar mama, poopdogcomedy, blueoregon, thomask, MinistryOfTruth, JeffW, Gooserock, briefer, on the cusp, blueyescryinintherain, lgmcp, suka, Pinto Pony, Torta, science nerd, MKinTN, glitterlust, shesaid, juliesie, Karl Rover, IndieGuy, kevinpdx, Iberian, kerflooey, kathny, pateTX, David54, BasharH, one of 8, weelzup, puakev, TracieLynn, ValleyForger, Tunk, Ptown boy in NC, Got a Grip, mod2lib, NBBooks, mkor7, Rogneid, leonard145b, nancyjones, Catte Nappe, yawnimawke, DRo, alasmoses, Byron from Denver, devis1, madgranny, flitedocnm, zerelda, Anima, carver, FindingMyVoice, VClib, frsbdg, Happy Days, WisVoter, Bensdad, GeorgeXVIII, pollwatcher, tofumagoo, john07801, geebeebee, Heavy Mettle, Chaddiwicker, cosette, sea note, Capt Crunch, RubDMC, TAH from SLC, rlb, Floande, JClarkPDX, antooo, countwebb, Jim Riggs, forgore, CS11, wasatch, CA Nana, newpioneer, Pat K California, yoduuuh do or do not, La Gitane, SixSixSix, temptxan, riverlover, missLotus, MBNYC, wu ming, maryabein, SherwoodB, Sylv, onionjim, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, Anne was here, helpImdrowning, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, vahana, AllanTBG, tegrat, Joes Steven, RJDixon74135, dotdash2u, paz3, brentut5, Bluesee, JVolvo, steamed rice, Laconic Lib, ColoTim, ladybug53, LSmith, TampaProgressive, Arahahex, dle2GA, Klaus, Yo Bubba, Kombema, billlaurelMD, mookins, Barbara Marquardt, Youffraita, socialistfolkstick, GainesT1958, stegro, JDWolverton, ItsSimpleSimon, Involuntary Exile, Hey338Too, Buckeye54, shortgirl, howabout, solliges, gizmo59, raptavio, Aspe4, quagmiremonkey, buckstop, NoMoreLies, rat racer, ceebee7, LillithMc, Brooke In Seattle, drdana, SheilaKinBrooklyn, MikePhoenix, Eddie L, EagleOfFreedom, Kvetchnrelease, Meteor Blades, salmo, CanisMaximus, maskling, MidwestTreeHugger, Its a New Day, nice marmot, chantedor, jfromga, chuck utzman, chimene, Philip Woods, Buckeye Nut Schell, Al Fondy, Lepanto, CoolOnion, aunt blabby, Progressive Pen, Beezzley, david78209, annecros, dewtx, sabo33, ypsiCPA, NJpeach, asterkitty, Mr Robert, Ronald England, sawgrass727, Glen The Plumber, GAS, Ian S, blueoasis, Crabby Abbey, jayden, Farkletoo, profundo, cwsmoke, Shippo1776, lippythelion69, jamess, LamontCranston, BlueJessamine, BYw, eagleray, bbctooman, blackjackal, meg, rsmpdx, bluicebank, Shockwave, FarWestGirl, VeloDramatic, Wreck Smurfy, imfunnytoo, Texknight, Linda1961, secret38b, CT Hank, where4art, deepeco, DSC on the Plateau, Mathazar, claude, citizen dan, spunhard, davidincleveland, Kentucky Kid, jasan, No one gets out alive, vigilant meerkat, dradams, Orinoco, pat bunny, zukesgirl64, psnyder, stevenaxelrod, ridemybike, ATFILLINOIS, Rhysling, randallt, shanikka, ChemBob, Yamara, xaxnar, HiKa, kj in missouri, lennysfo, Kevskos, rmx2630, TX Freethinker, Eric Blair, Dretutz, rexxnyc, Knucklehead, Liberal Thinking, MartyM, Jeff Y, toby esterhase, Creosote, rl en france, ChuckInReno, tomephil, democracy inaction, SME in Seattle, basquebob, YaNevaNo, rapala, Lilyvt, 2thanks, tarheel74, OleHippieChick, molunkusmol, terabytes, PinHole, Ed in Montana, decisivemoment, kenwards, Josiah Bartlett, Words In Action, Loudoun County Dem, Wino, lineatus, lcrp, MarkInSanFran, poligirl, myeye, Oh Mary Oh, HCKAD
  •  Or just Break People Up Alphabetically. (53+ / 0-)

    You don't have to know anything about web sites or apps to know that when a national service first goes live there will be backups and glitches. Open it up first week to A-D in the alphabet. Or birthdays in Oct & Nov.

    But the web site is just starting point, it's an application that interfaces a lot of different databases and reference sources. The problem isn't so much the interface --web site or app-- it's everything that it has to do.

    Your point about reaching the younger users though is a good one.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 10:52:09 AM PDT

  •  Oh, i just read an article (14+ / 0-)

    stating about 110,000 have enrolled so far and based on estimates, we're not going to make the goal and now I can't find the story. Since the Democrat's bent over backwards to help with the rollout of Medicare part D in spite of being against it, I think we should make a demand for Republican's to stop obstructing Obamacare on the state level.

    Shut down due to Republican intransigence.

    by blueoregon on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 10:53:49 AM PDT

    •  Is that total or just at healthcare.gov? Because a (20+ / 0-)

      lot states do have their own sites, and most of what I hear from them is good.



      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:09:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here are actual stats for CA from CoveredCA (11+ / 0-)

      For the week ending 10/8/13:

      987,440 unique visits to website
      59,000 calls to help lines
      43,616 applications have been started
      27,305 applications have been partially completed
      16,313 applications completed with household eligibility determined
      28,699 number of Californians determined eligible for coverage
      CoveredCA news

    •  A Problem: Rolled Out Plans are Crap. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile, annecros

      No Value/High Cost

      Bending the “cost curve” in this way appears to also bend “the care curve”
      As you can see from my results, the most under-represented specialties (on the left) are the ones that typically provide services to truly sick patients, such as oncology, cardiology, internal medicine, neurology. And no doctor specialty has more than about 75% representation on the Exchange provider networks. Hospitals are also included on the right of the graph. Their numbers are diminished in the Premera Exchange plan network via excluding specialty hospitals that are crucial to good care in this region, such as Children’s Hospital and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

      Quasi-Medicaid
      What we’re seeing has been described as a quasi-Medicaid level of doctor access. I would have little problem with plans that “streamline care”. But using Premera as a case in point along with reading about left-out doctors and hospitals all over the nation, I see a pattern of drastically reducing access to care for the sickest patients. This is a method for insurers to subvert the mandated yearly patient out of pocket maximums, (as well as the loss of insurers’ ability to cap lifetime maximum payouts) by making access to expensive care difficult or impractical, especially for the poorest and sickest patients. And by limiting tax subsidies to Exchange plans only, I believe the Democrats wrote their law deliberately to let insurers do this.

      [Update] I see that Paul Krugman praises the Medicaid Model for its “willing[ness] to say no,” a trait that allows Medicaid to control costs better than any medical care institution in this country. I just want to say that I know all about that. When I was a teenager, my mother was hospitalized on Medicaid for acute clinical depression. She was discharged from the hospital during a time when her counselor was on vacation, and while she wasn’t ready. Apparently Medicaid had said no to more hospitalization. My mother committed suicide 3 days later. My personal experience is that when Medicaid says no, people die. Is this the level of care we want for the whole country?

      Action, Action, Action
      Come on, progressives! Is your party so important to you that you don’t care anymore about the principles that led you to join it? Don’t you think you need to fight this? Maybe you should do so for the sake of your party? I would love to spend 24-hours-a-day, 7 days a week in action on this myself. However, besides the fact that I feel powerless, I’m finding that the Exchange plans create in me an urgent need to leave self-employment and venture back into the world of employer provided health insurance. So those of you with a national audience, maybe those of you who have insurance yourself, how about stepping up!

      A bad rollout is just the tip of the 'berg.  Take a look at what they are trying to sell.
      •  Must depend on the plan and the state (4+ / 0-)

        Here most of the plans are Blue Cross, with statewide coverage, and just about every provider in the state takes Blue Cross. I gather that's not true in other places, however.

        The blame for that goes to state insurance commissioners, I believe, not to the design of the ACA.

        •  WA: I called Insurance Commissioner. (0+ / 0-)

          The WA plans discussed were approved without any concerns.  It is the ACA which left out care for long term serious illness as part of the ten basic elements.  There will be endless finger pointing with this scheme.
          With single payer, we would have saved 600 billion/year and not needed this rube contraption.
          If anyone has any specific discussion let's hear it.  Naked Capitalism has a good collection of comments.  I know I am not alone on the left opposing the O'care scam and supporting single payer.

      •  You've used a debate method (5+ / 0-)

        called Stacking the Deck. It's considered bad debate form. Rather than honestly appraise all sides of the argument, you've simply front loaded yours to malign your opponent.

        http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/ Jesus Loves You. Keep pointing out others. You're most likely the problem.

        by DAISHI on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:44:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Aren't you tired yet (0+ / 0-)

        of posting all this same crap all over every ACA diary?  It's not even true.  Sheesh.

        "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." - Will Rogers

        by Kentucky DeanDemocrat on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 06:28:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Show us your Research. (0+ / 0-)

          The link I provided to NC shows you how to do your own research.  Take a look at your States plans and show us the results.  Number of providers before O 'Care and after.  Participating hospitals in plans.  In network providers vs out of network.  Specialty care.  
          I say you got less than before at higher cost.  If you had refuting evidence no doubt you would have shared lol.

  •  They're too busy (18+ / 0-)

    having to play Chicken with these fucking seditionists.
     

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 10:55:34 AM PDT

  •  Right-wing blogs are saying (5+ / 0-)

    that the Obama administration only considered one bidder/bid for this project.  I don't want to link, but I have seen this claim twice.  Would be good to know what the deal was, re: how this particular company got the contract and how/why they fell down on the job so abysmally.

    I agree, it's been a fortunate set of factors that distracted the mainstream media from focusing all too gleefully, aided by the conservative media, on the disastrous rollout of www.healthcare.gov these past two weeks.

    •  i heard that (talking point) as well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      on the cusp, FindingMyVoice

      can't find out whether it is true

      and that the bidder is the same person who put together the OFA website in 2008

      i also agree wholeheartedly with the person upthread who said an app is a better way to reach younger enrollees.  websites are so 20th century

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:04:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, if it's a RW blog, then it must be true. (7+ / 0-)

      "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

      by gritsngumbo on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:11:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Didn't it go to a Canadian company? (0+ / 0-)

      How did that happen, how did they win the bid, and then bungle it so badly?  No one in the US could have done a better job?

      I want to see a serious investigation into that bid selection, because it screams of bribes and fraud.

      •  us subsidiary of canadian company (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Norm in Chicago
      •  Which part screams of bribes and fraud? (6+ / 0-)

        Which part screams of bribes and fraud?   The fact that one of the companies involves has a parent company headquartered in Canada?  

        See my reply to parent thread below.  Most of the work done on the system were Americans, right here in the U.S. of A.

        Relax, you sound like Darrell Issa.

        "If they're shooting at you, you know you must be doing something right"

        by ayjaymay on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:44:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Global, but based in Canada (5+ / 0-)
        Why can't we get the smartest people from Facebook and Google and from Twitter to come and work out these problems?" Johnson says. "The problem is that the way that federal contracting works is so burdensome that the only people who get contracts like this are experts at lobbying and experts at regulations that require you to get these sorts of contracts. And they're not experts at doing the job of building these websites."

        The primary contractor behind the federal health exchange software is a global firm called CGI Federal, which didn't want to comment for this story. Johnson says it's not that CGI or other contractors behind healthcare.gov are bad. They're probably just not the best, because the best people at these tech solutions don't bother applying.

        http://www.npr.org/...

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:47:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  my sister works on federal contracting..... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Norm in Chicago, salmo, mmacdDE

          for big database/web applications on the cloud and has for years.  You are right that specialized guys write the bids and write the cost estimates.  And most bids are meeting time lines- she worked for not one but two contractors that slipped their timeline too often or had deliverables that didn't meet spec and then lost the contracts.  So all the earlier code was paid for but never used.  They could have contracted with IBM or some other big company to write the code, but perhaps they were paid more by other companies and didn't bid?  

          FBI had to redo their fingerprint algorithm software at great expense some time ago- these are not easy things to write and stuff keeps changing.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:06:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Not just right wing sites (5+ / 0-)

      Tech sites of various kinds, and news sites as well. It is true. Most commentary relates to the complexity of the federal procurment process that makes it difficult for any bids other than from existing large contractors, as well as the idea of the speed needed in getting started not allowing for a cumbersome and prolonged bid process.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:28:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (4+ / 0-)

        My neighbor deals with reviewing government  contractors for a living.  He said the whole system is a train wreck.  Large corporations just call their locally owned politican to get around the mess.  The rest are left to deal with incompetent mangers who are more interested in making themselves look good.  A great deal of good people were either driven out by bush/Cheney or quit because the system is so ripe with political games.  
        Unfortunately Obama has done nothing to fix the situation. Which if he really is interested in seeing obamacare become a huge success would have dealt with by now.  
        It's funny how the GOP blames government from being ineffective with many functions are being carried out by private contractors.

    •  Torta - facts seem to be in limited supply (5+ / 0-)

      We really don't know the process by which the vendor(s) were chosen and how much they have actually been paid. There is lots of speculation echoing around the Internet. It would be good for someone at HHS to get out in front of this before Darrell Issa starts his hearings.

      The most troubling thing is that software experts are starting to chorus that the problem is a fundamental architecture issue. If that is true, the fix won't be easy or fast.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:36:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I work for one of the companies... (17+ / 0-)

      CGI.  I didn't work on the healthcare exchanges, though.  Of course, there is a federal exchange, and many state exchanges - each one was a separate project, bidded out to several companies.  There was not just one 'winner' in these contracts; the nature of these large contracts is that several companies are typically each doing a different piece of the puzzle.

      The parent company's headquarters are in Montreal, though our U.S. subsidiary has 25,000+ employees in the U.S., and do a LOT of work for the federal government, U.S. state and local governments, as result of CGI acquiring and developing a large U.S. presence - one of which was American Management Systems several years ago.

      http://www.ibtimes.com/...

      The federal government relied on a host of private companies for the information technology used in the Web portal. According to a June 2013 Government Accountability Office report, companies selected for the IT work included Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation (NYSE:BAH), CGI Federal Inc (NYSE:GIB), the Mitre Corporation and Quality Software Service Inc.

      Booz Allen worked on eligibility and enrollment systems, and is due at least $6 million for IT work, according to the GAO report. CGI Federal will be paid at least $86 million for work from 2011 to 2013. The company was paid a total of $634 million for its work on the website, according to Digital Trends. Mitre should earn $1.7 million and QSSI should earn $50 million, according to an International Business Times tally.

      The department referred IBTimes to a federal contracts database, which indicated that additional companies, not mentioned in the GAO report, were given smaller IT contracts for Affordable Care Act implementation from fiscal 2008 to 2012. These included Iowa-based Genova Technology, which received $16 million given for data architecture and other exchange-related IT work.

      To support consumers who were signing up for insurance, federal agencies depended on the real-time data hub from QSSI, which could then help determine eligibility for enrollees, according to the GAO report. Testing the hub began in October 2012.

      "If they're shooting at you, you know you must be doing something right"

      by ayjaymay on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:37:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  lest we forget Bush/Cheney no bid contracts (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rashaverak, ybruti, salmo, mmacdDE

      For much of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Halliburton, KBR et. al. got NO BID contracts worth BILLIONS!

      But, I do agree, from my vantage point they employed an inferior architecture, one not able to scale to internet standards.

      And further, the access of credit records should have been completely unnecessary.

      --United Citizens defeated Citizens United...This time. --

      by chipoliwog on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:58:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There was no bid (8+ / 0-)
      "The contract for Healthcare.gov wasn’t a fully competitive process. In fact, there was no competition for it at all. To get the work done, the Department of Health and Human Services used an existing contract it already had with CGI Federal to get the work done. The contract, as they say, was 'greased.'

      So why was it greased? Technically, 'greasing' something means reducing its friction. Running a public procurement of this size, and visibility — it would probably take at least 18 months just to get through the procurement process and start the job. The awarded contract would almost assuredly get protested by those who didn’t win, and it would yield to a very public, very political, and probably very bad outcome.

      So what they did instead, and very rationally, is they opted to take a contract that they already had — one with CGI Federal — and amended that contract to add the Healthcare.gov stuff onto it. CGI had already built some of the systems that Healthcare.gov would depend upon, and already had 'boots on the ground' as it were. So giving the contract to this vendor for this kind of work 'just made sense' if you wanted to get a website done in time." — source

      The article goes on to discuss several reasons why there have been some serious problems. It's a good read.
       

      "Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing." — Naomi Shihab Nye

      by Icarus Diving on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:24:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If it was bid...a FOIA request can get (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cville townie

        all of the proposals and the RFP.  I am sure the requests have already been submitted.

        The talking point came from a Washington Examiner column (a Washington Times offshoot).

        CGI was one of 16 companies that had been qualified by HHS during President George W. Bush's second term to deliver, without public competition, a variety of hardware, software and communication products and services.

        In awarding the Healthcare.gov contract, CMS relied on a little-known federal contracting system called ID/IQ, which is government jargon for “Indefinite Delivery and Indefinite Quantity.”

        CGI was a much smaller vendor when it was approved by HHS in 2007. With the approval, CGI became eligible for multiple awards without public notice and in circumvention of the normal competitive bidding procurement process.

        We will see who winds up being right.  But from experience, that doesn't sound out of the realm of possibility.  And could be true, if other parts were bid competitively.

        "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

        by justmy2 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:48:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  given to companies that already had contracts with (4+ / 0-)

        Good source - thanks. So the work was awarded to a company in which HHS/Medicare-Medicaid already had a general contract for IT services with, from a prior bid process.

        If you follow one of the links in the article

        This contract was competed under the Enterprise System Develoment IDIQ.   The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) intends to modify the PECOS contract to support the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) requiremnts for the Development, Maintenance and Enhancements of HITECH Registration, Attestation and Inquiry Functionalities.  This work is already on the contract, the modification will incorporate costs for the option years.

        "If they're shooting at you, you know you must be doing something right"

        by ayjaymay on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:51:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  By the way...the other elephant in the room (8+ / 0-)

        that I have yet to see mentioned.

        When the requirements were written, no one likely believed so many states would turn down free money (another dumb mistake by the WH who failed to see they were not going against a rational opposition).  This means that more than likely the capacity/volume estimates were likely orders of magnitude off.  However, from the articles I have read, volume is likely only a minor issue.  It looks like the underlying systems, and potentially the databases and applications they integrate with were never built for this type of scale.  One bottleneck can bring the whole thing to its knees.

        "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

        by justmy2 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:52:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  As someone that knows something about the process (4+ / 0-)

        that article is deadly accurate.  And it shows why some of the issues are a product of process, some a product of administration decisions.

        "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

        by justmy2 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:04:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "A Ridiculous, Paranoid Theory" (0+ / 0-)

          Avik Roy does not understand Democrats!

          A growing consensus of IT experts, outside and inside the government, have figured out a principal reason why the website for Obamacare’s federally-sponsored insurance exchange is crashing. Healthcare.gov forces you to create an account and enter detailed personal information before you can start shopping. This, in turn, creates a massive traffic bottleneck, as the government verifies your information and decides whether or not you’re eligible for subsidies. HHS bureaucrats knew this would make the website run more slowly. But they were more afraid that letting people see the underlying cost of Obamacare’s insurance plans would scare people away.

          This is idiotic, just idiotic.

          To calculate subsidies, the Exchange just needs some parameters or, in the vulgate, some boxes to fill in on the online form: Income, for example. Those parameters do not need to be validated -- and it's validation, not eligibility calculation, that is the cause of the bottleneck.* Just feed some fake parameters to the eligibility engine, and get back a number.

          Worse, Roy misunderstands how Democrats operate. Democrats hide information -- or, even better, allow others to hide it -- with obfuscation and artificial complexity; for example, the in- and out-of-network gotchas Dromaius has been documenting. They aren't crude, and the approach Roy imputes to them is crude (rather like asking a voter for a photo ID, in fact).

          I don't know why that design decision was made, but I do speculate that to the campaign operatives who ran the show from the West Wing, getting somebody's ID first was utterly natural; it's how campaign sites work. Can't send 'em the newsletter or hit them up for money with no email address!

          One must wonder why you can't get quotes without all the invasive inquiries.
      •  IDIQ (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Icarus Diving

        I think folks are mixing up a few things...and may be getting the terminology wrong.  It looks as though there was an existing contracting vehicle for IT services.  An Indefinite Quantity/Indefinite Delivery (IDIQ) contract is a mechanism that preselects a group of technically competent performers for a related set of activities.  Individual Task Orders (TOs) are then competed through the IDIQ.  This is a COMMON mechanism that is used and there is absolutely nothing nefarious about it.  Being put on the IDIQ short list is critical and then the individual TOs don't require a full and open competition...only the pre-selected teams that have been previously deemed competent to perform the work can bid.  In the contractor lingo it is called "a license to hunt."  Being down selected is no guarantee of a TO award...indeed, some IDIQs have stipulations that if a company doesn't win a TO within a certain time period, they are deemed ineligible and removed from the vehicle.

        If the work was deemed appropriate for that standing mechanism, it is proper to use an IDIQ because to be "down selected" as one of the IDIQ performers, the team has already passed the technical and cost evaluations.  

        Also, I don't know many that use the term "greased."  If something is directed to a particular contractor, it is called "wired."  There are ways you can guess if something is "wired"...a short deadline, a ridiculously specific statement of work, or a specific key personnel requirements.  

        My guess is, this was an existing IT IDIQ and CGI Federal was the only team that could respond to the TO.  Too bad fbo.gov is only searchable out to 365 days.  If there was a solicitation and award within that time frame, it would have been archived and visible.  

        But I could be wrong...

        I went into science for the money and the sex. Imagine my surprise.

        by Mote Dai on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:55:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Please don't spread BS from right-wing blogs. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence

      We deal in facts on this site.
      Please perform basic research before posting, and provide legitimate sources.
      I'm sure that there was months and months of competitive bidding, as are all large government contracts.

      "If they're shooting at you, you know you must be doing something right"

      by ayjaymay on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:25:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is not one application... (4+ / 0-)

      this is many previously built applications having to speak to each other....it takes time to work out all the logistics of that...

    •  At least these right-wing blogs are consistent (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, Larsstephens

      in criticizing the no-bid contracts to Vice President Cheney's company ($12 Billion with a "B" last time I checked) back then and the Obama admin now.

      What? They aren't? They didn't? Well that is just shocking.

      Reaganomics noun pl: blind faith that unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods and services, that government is bad and it can increase revenue by decreasng revenue. Synonyms: Friedmanomics. Antonyms: common sense. Related Words: Laffer curve

      by FrY10cK on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:15:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I believe it's 25 or so different contractors (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, asterlil

      each doing a piece of the job -- and that's a major piece of the problem. The people who designed the home page weren't responsible for what happened when you clicked "Next," and so on. Oracle was only tasked with dealing with the interface with Experian (which is one of the crunch points -- identity verification).

      IMO the real question is why contract with private companies rather than hiring competent techies into the government. I believe the answer is that all the pressure to keep government small meant they couldn't hire employees who would get counted as employees.

  •  Back in the day perhaps they dreamed (22+ / 0-)

    that state exchanges would bear the buld of the traffic, and the national one would face only modest loads.

    But as the deadline approached they should have found ways to shift resources and beef it up.  That's true.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 10:56:53 AM PDT

  •  The site is getting better. (15+ / 0-)

    I was able to get a list of plans and quoted premiums, after weeks of trying.

    But the premiums were wrong, well over the 9.5% of AGI.

    So I wanted to go back and look at my application. Fix any errors I may have missed.

    I have to call a CSR to make changes. Can't do it online.

    M**f**.

  •  I have been getting no help (16+ / 0-)

    from the navigators.  They are telling me conflicting things.  I keep being told here in Kosland that I can just enroll and get a policy on the phone.  I am told on the phone by the navigators I can't do that.
    I have an account that I can't get to open up.
    I had 3 days of holiday to get this done.
    So far, I have a useless account that most likely will never be usable.
    I have seen available plans, but have no way of examining them closely, or actually buying one.
    My patience is wearing thin.
    I am unimpressed, and very depressed.

  •  I've watched this clip 4 times.... (26+ / 0-)

    and each time my blood boils just a little more.  That they did this so flagrantly just makes me want to scream.  The Dems need to shorten this clip for 2014 and hammer the Repugs with it, over and over and over and over again!

    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. --V for Vendetta

    by WFBMM on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:04:22 AM PDT

  •  Listen, (23+ / 0-)

    with all the shit that's going on at this moment is this the best you can do?

    Instead of "Heads Must Roll" sensationalism, why not offer a list of the problems and how to fix it?

    For example, I loved your idea about an app for young and techno people.  

    In short, instead of the "how you have failed us"mode why not a "we're here to make this work" mode. Let's get this to the target of 7 million so at least we have something to improve.

  •  Unless Gibbs has financial skin in the game (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    patbahn, highacidity, sethtriggs

    Whether it's Attack Syria Pundits with Financial Gains from war or the NSA cheerleaders,DiFi,Rogers and Hayden who have financial gains from spying.

    Based on my own experience the only people who would have intimate knowledge of the architecture would most likely have been involved in the bidding process. So post facto the critics would either be folks who lost the bid or disgruntled employees.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:11:07 AM PDT

  •  The Federal Goverment is 10+ years behind (15+ / 0-)

    In IT -- HHS has always been behind the curve technologically, because the people making the purchasing decisions had little to no knowledge of both hardware and software. The little field office I worked for didn't get fax machines until 1992, and I was using a dedicated word processor with 8-inch disk drives then. (Our office didn't get  desktop computers until late in 1994, and the first ones went to the auditors.*)

    I suspect the only departments that actually have up-to-date IT is Defense, Homeland Security and maybe NASA.

    *And the oldest guy in my field office blew up at the office manager, "I'm not going to use a keyboard -- THAT'S the clerk's job."

  •  If Gibbs wants to talk about "embarrassing"... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Aquarius40, rbird, Matt Z

    ...he should look in a mirror.

  •  Is Obama a software developer? (33+ / 0-)

    Unless Obama has any experience in software development, his attention to Syria is pretty much irrelevant.  How the hell was he going to help?  Stand over the developer's shoulders like Dilbert's boss and say "type faster"?

    As for it being an "app" vs. a "website", how would that have helped?  Apps are device specific, meaning you have to write a separate app for every device you want to run on.  Separate app for iPhone, separate app for Android, separate app for Windows, separate app for Mac, etc. etc.  Like THAT would have made things easier.  Websites aren't completely simple as there are differences between browsers, but you can get far FAR closer to a unified experience from a website than you can from an app.   And at the end of the day, the problems are most likely concentrated on the back-end, which means that whether you did it as an app or as a website, you would have had the exact same back-end problems.  Apps don't magically make your back-end load issues go away.  They still have to talk to a back-end server, and if you haven't set up your back-end servers properly, your app will break just like a website will.  

    Personally, for what they are doing, I think doing it as a website was pretty much the right choice.  They just did the website wrong.  There are plenty of websites out there that handle huge amounts of traffic every day.  It just looks like they hired someone who didn't know what they were doing and/or hamstrung them with timelimits/requirements that made it impossible to meet the deadlines.

  •  Are we comparing (18+ / 0-)

    this with the "ideal" rollout, you know, like we see all the time, like when Microsoft rolls out a new operating system or Grand Theft Auto version XXXXX comes out?

    You know, it's all perfectly smooth sailing?  And they are certainly as complex a rollout as enrolling literally millions of people into a brand new program.

    /snark

    Sites go down all the time because of traffic, even traffic by a small group of dickish fools, so traffic of this magnitude was going to take it down.

    You can test the site, but the real test comes when the users show up.  

    Honestly, what we don't need right now is a bunch of folks from the left freaking out because healthcare.gov isn't perfect.

    Anyone recall Medicare Part D?

    Today's Kaiser report July 12:

    Rollout Resembles Some Of The Problems Of Medicare Part D
    And
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...
    Part D was less popular than Obamacare when it launched
    (21% favorability - did the dems shut the government down because the people didn't like this law?  I don't recall . . .)
    Corlette and her co-authors make the case that the health-care law is significantly more complex, which makes the roll out a bigger lift. While Medicare beneficiaries are a specific demographic (seniors over 65), the uninsured are more disverse. The Affordable Care Act requires more government systems to work together smoothly than Part D ever did.

    "The IT issues for Part D were less complex but not insignificant," Corlette says. "Particularly around the low-income subsidy and the information exchange that had to happen between Social Security and the state Medicaid programs. That was not uncomplicated and there were a lot of questions about whether that would be ready."

    Seems to me people need to stop freaking out that a ridiculously complex program is having glitches - even beyond servers going down.
  •  An app uses the exact same infrastructure as (22+ / 0-)

    a website.   They're the same thing, an app just lets a device like a phone display the page correctly.

    People keep comparing this to commercial sites that go live, but I doubt very many sites see kind of traffic this thing is.  

    Most start-up webpages don't see a few million visitors trying to create accounts 1 minute after they go live.  

    The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

    by Beelzebud on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:21:50 AM PDT

    •  would be a dream come true (3+ / 0-)

      or porn.

      -You want to change the system, run for office.

      by Deep Texan on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:24:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  important point, there. (5+ / 0-)

      All the major high profile websites out there had years to slow roll their traffic up from a trickle. Facebook was around for ages before it really caught on. Twitter caught on a bit quicker, but even then it was famously down a lot. remember the fail whale?

      The best comparisons I can think of come from the world of gaming, where a new game is hotly anticipated and can expect millions of users as soon as the game goes live. I've been trying, and I cannot think of a single high profile game launch that includes online play that has gone smoothly. Ever. They are always overloaded with traffic, and players always find game breaking bugs that made it through testing, and it always takes weeks for the online aspect of the game to be working as intended.

      now, healthcare is not a game, but its the best comparison I can think of for the healthcare.gov issue. Hell, they should have gotten a game dev like Blizzard to make the website. They at least have experience preparing for highly anticipated launch days. Clearly whoever got the bid was not prepared.

      "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." -Henry Ford

      by sixeight120bpm on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:14:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What did we expect with all the pent up demand (8+ / 0-)

    for health care coverage.  These glitches can and will be workded out and then the Teapublicans can really ge mad when they see all the Americans who want to sign up for health care coverage.

  •  I'm Disappointed Triple B (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp, Greenfinches, mattc129

    From the title, I thought this was an diary on why congressional republicans should be tried for Sedition. That said, it is the 21st Century and there is no excuse for this type of tech screw-up.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:26:01 AM PDT

  •  The President does a million things at once (11+ / 0-)

    So the Syria connection isn't really relevant.

    This will be fixed.  Obviously should have been handled better, but not a huge deal in the scheme of things.  

  •  they made Obamacare far too complex. (5+ / 0-)

    but they will fix the website.

    single payer would have been better.

  •  You're kidding about apps, right? (27+ / 0-)

    Most people who need health coverage the very most tend to be less socioeconomically privileged, and thus, like me, 100X less prone to using apps than a basic website. Ditto older folks. Kids, who I work with on the daily, are still on mom and dad's plans and barely know how to make toast 99% of the time.

    A website is the obvious choice.

    I don't even know how to use apps. To be really blunt here, I don't know where to even find them to use them, and I'm in my late 30's, have a grad. degree, and live in California... so...

    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

    by mahakali overdrive on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:27:02 AM PDT

  •  Are you telling me that a website can't also (4+ / 0-)

    have an ap? You do know what an ap is right? In this case it's a hyperlink to a dumbed down WEBSITE.

    Right now the site is really too complex to handle with an ap. But in good time it should be streamlined to be ap-able.

  •  My insurance/provider brags about being on-line (3+ / 0-)

    I can e-mail my DR on line and get test results on-line. It has been like this for 4 years and it still is a mess with many loops.

    I get an e-mail to get an appointment for my flu shot. That should be simple. I am given a web address. I click on it. I get a list of phone numbers to call. Oh I don't want to use the phone. I try to set an appointment on line. NO DICE. Around Around UP and DOWN.

    So finally I give up and call the number. I am completely outside now and struggling with MENU OPTIONS HAVE CHANGED - please listen to the million dozen options.

    I pick the wrong one. I have lunch.

    I try on-line appointment again. NO DICE. Get back on the phone. Luck out pick the right option and sub-option, get a human.

    "OH, just come in, it is an on-call basis."

    It took me longer to figure that out than to actually go the clinic and get the flu shot.

    DON'T Panic, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with OBAMA care.

    If you think Obamacare is going to straighten out medical care, it's gonna be a sad day for you.

    Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

    by 88kathy on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:31:33 AM PDT

  •  Yeah right (11+ / 0-)

    Imagine the ACA including provisions for a massive outlay of money concerning internet servers, databases, IT personnel and designers/programmers. You get what you pay for. Conservatives played a good game of Starve The Beast in order to weaken the law, which oddly enough resulted in its passage. So I'm glad the problems are getting attention, because the underlying message is that there is a massive pressing need to take care of the uninsured (and the under-insured). Gibbs should be selling this point instead of pointing out "embarrassment." It smacks of someone trying to get even-steven with a former employer.

    •  Gibbs Is Trying To Play Devils Advocate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, Larsstephens

      which is very unbecoming in someone who was a big supporter of President Obama and instead should be downplaying people like Jon Stewart and Ezra Klein who seem to be the first ones to jump on the bandwagon of bashing government when they aren't perfect.

      "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

      by rssrai on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:57:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Team Profile (0+ / 0-)

      Heathcare.gov

      All the same, CGI Federal -- which received $88 million for its work since March of this year -- told Congress in September it was indeed ready for the onslaught of users that would come when Healthcare.gov opened to the public. The same was claimed by UnitedHeath subsidiary Quality Software Services, another partner in the project that received $55 million for its work.

      One other name in particular on the contractor list probably won't be familiar to readers, but ought to be from now on: Science Applications International Corp., or SAIC. Nominally a defense contractor, SAIC has been involved with many government projects with ghastly end results, such as New York City's fraud- and corruption-riddled $600 million CityTime payroll software boondoggle. When the East Bay Express reported on Oakand, Calif.'s surveillance plan, it was worried about SAIC's involvement in that project as well, not least because the people hiring SAIC for the job seemed unaware of the company's reputation.

      SAIC's exact involvement in Healthcare.gov is difficult to determine, in part because a lot of details about who worked on precisely what portions of the project have been hard to come by. The Sunlight Foundation report indicates SAIC had "contracts with the Internal Revenue Service ... for supporting income and family verification procedures required by the health care law."

      It also doesn't help that many of the organizations involved are now distancing themselves from the whole project, which seems wise given the scale of this disaster. Compare that attitude with the pride many of them exhibited before Healthcare.gov went online, which was being trumpeted as a marvel of cutting-edge Web engineering. Now it's shaping up to be more an example of the efficacy of political connectedness.

      Looks like a recipe for healthcare lol.  Remember with Single Payer none of it would be needed!
  •  If this is true, start with the contractor... (5+ / 0-)

    whose head should roll first:

    In 2011, the Obama Administration agreed to pay contractor CGI Federal $93.7million to build, launch and maintain Healthcare.gov.
    In the two and years since CGI Federal won the bid to build the Obamacare site, the company requested more and more money to cover cost over-runs. And the federal government had agreed.
    Experts say the site has dramatic problems with the back-end architecture has resulted in servers becoming overloaded and bogging down. But the interface is also a problem. Much of the site contains grammatical and typographical errors. Java Script errors prevent pages from loading correctly in browsers.
    Even more infuriating, Andrew Couts of Digital Trends points out, is the fact that much larger, more successful sites have been built for far less money.
    Facebook operated for its six years, until June 2010, on less than $600million in outside funding - a acquiring more than half a billion users and more than 130million monthly unique page views.
    Twitter, founded in 2006, operated on $360million in investment until 2011 - when servers were processing more than 140million tweets a day.
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
    •  93 million freaken dollars! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      goodpractice

      I'll bet I could find a couple dozen people here at DailyKos who would have been glad to do it for $5 Mil and would have done a HELL of a lot better job.

    •  Ehhh. A few apple/orange problems there. (0+ / 0-)

      Facebook had a revenue stream; it wasn't operating on VC money alone. I guess Twitter wasn't making money, but still, different apps are different.

      At any rate, if contractor incompetence was a problem, that's something we should hear more about.

      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
      Code Monkey like you!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      by Code Monkey on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:59:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Many companies played a part... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cville townie, Larsstephens

      And almost all of them have created and continue to run other successful systems used by federal, state and local
      governments

      The federal government relied on a host of private companies for the information technology used in the Web portal. According to a June 2013 Government Accountability Office report, companies selected for the IT work included Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation (NYSE:BAH), CGI Federal Inc (NYSE:GIB), the Mitre Corporation and Quality Software Service Inc.

      Booz Allen worked on eligibility and enrollment systems, and is due at least $6 million for IT work, according to the GAO report. CGI Federal will be paid at least $86 million for work from 2011 to 2013. The company was paid a total of $634 million for its work on the website, according to Digital Trends. Mitre should earn $1.7 million and QSSI should earn $50 million, according to an International Business Times tally.

      The department referred IBTimes to a federal contracts database, which indicated that additional companies, not mentioned in the GAO report, were given smaller IT contracts for Affordable Care Act implementation from fiscal 2008 to 2012. These included Iowa-based Genova Technology, which received $16 million given for data architecture and other exchange-related IT work.
      To support consumers who were signing up for insurance, federal agencies depended on the real-time data hub from QSSI, which could then help determine eligibility for enrollees, according to the GAO report. Testing the hub began in October 2012.
      http://www.ibtimes.com/...

      "If they're shooting at you, you know you must be doing something right"

      by ayjaymay on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:18:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp, Iberian

    I am in a state so blue it is surrounded on all sides by it. There are two insurance companies "competing" for business here.  Basically the website here says "Submit a lot of very personal information and we will get back to you".

    The application appears to ask that you submit the exact information you have just typed twice and there is no way to compare rates on that site.

    A helpful Kossack suggested that I contact the companies directly. I did and that is how I got the information. But it is impossible to enroll through my state's exchange.

    The problem here is twofold: 1) Outsourcing of government functions, and 2) Failing to standardize the look and function of the state websites.  

    This had too many moving parts and is the public face of Obamacare.  I am disgusted by my inability to enroll.

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:37:57 AM PDT

  •  The REAL excruciating embarassment is the fact (9+ / 0-)

    that so many people are in need of affordable healthcare.

    Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

    by hazzcon on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:41:44 AM PDT

  •  The heads that should roll (5+ / 0-)

    ...is the whole idea of contractors being better able to manage these projects that government employees with the motivations of pubic service and managers who are accountable to the public instead of to Wall Street.

    It is recoverable.  If the Congress ever gets beyond obstruction, the quickest way to recover would be to pass Medicare-for-All legislation, eliminate the age requirement in the Medicare software and redeploy it to handle the large number of enrollees.  That likely would require six months to transition the software.

    Having President Obama exit office with Medicare-for-All in place would be a singular political achievement.

    So there is a plan B if the private contractors and private insurance companies and state governments can't get their act together.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:42:20 AM PDT

  •  Well the GOP actually is calling for Sebelius to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp
  •  Colorado is a mess also (3+ / 0-)

    You're absolutely right, heads need to roll.  If They're smart, they'll step up to the plate, admit it has too many problems and start firing people and replacing them with good people.  This isn't rocket science, it shouldn't have happened.

    In Colorado, if you want to apply for the tax credit, you first have to go to the Medicaid site and fill out page after page after page of forms and apply for Medicaid.  It took me nearly 2 hours and I know I'm not eligible to begin with.

    They dumped so much work on the Medicaid workers that it'll be 2 weeks before I get an answer to a question I already know the answer to.  And so what if someone who was eligible for Medicaid, get's on the tax credit list!  Who is hurt?  So for the few that may accidentally get tax credits instead of Medicaid, the state sends EVERYONE through a painful process that overwhelms the Medicaid department.

    Whoever thought of this idea needs to be fired immediately.

  •  What is an "app?" (8+ / 0-)
    Furthermore, I have no idea why all they rolled out was a website (1990's!) rather than an app.
    1. I don't know that the website was mis-architected. I hear all kinds of "experts" running their mouths about how they would do it differently. But getting millions of hits is an entirely non-trivial problem, no matter how you approach it. The laws of physics reign supreme.
    2. I suppose by "app" you mean a native iPhone and Android application. These are much more costly and time-consuming to develop. And they would need to develop them for each operating system. And of course, you can't use a free public computer or a home computer - you would need a smart phone, so you would still need to develop a web application. So we have at least three systems now.
    3. Long and complex data entry is painful on a tiny screen. I haven't gone to the ACA site so I don't know whether working on a tiny screen is appropriate, but it is a major issue.
    4. The smartphone app still needs to connect to a server, so while it reduces page hits, it still needs centralized CPU resources requiring millions of sessions.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:51:12 AM PDT

  •  I do find it amusing that the Republicans (0+ / 0-)

    have nearly shot their own leg off, however.

    Right now few people (comparatively) are thinking about the ACA. Many many more are wondering whether we're going to have another 2008-style crash. Or if they're ever going back to work, and whether they can pay their bills till then.

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:52:36 AM PDT

  •  THANX OBAMA! (7+ / 0-)

    Up to this point every website that ever started up on the Internetz worked perfectly! Now thanx to you, the Internetz' reputation is tarnished and website rollouts will never work again. Clearly Obamacare is a disaster! Thanx Obama!

    /snark

    Sheesh, get over yourselves. My guess is that this website is not WAD, and it will need to be fixed. Just like Obamacare will need to be. But instead of trying to get that fixed, in case you hadn't noticed, THE GOV'T IS NOT RUNNING RIGHT NOW! So maybe if we can get past this self-inflicted distraction, then maybe we can get the website glitches worked out. Srsly?

  •  The Maryland website is useless. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp, Minerva

    I'm not paranoid or anything. Everyone just thinks I am.

    by Jim Riggs on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:54:32 AM PDT

  •  If you think the website fiasco was bad... (4+ / 0-)

    It looks like the Senate "compromise" to be announced shortly will include an income-verification requirement for ACA participants.

    This is mind-boggling if true (and it does appear to be true, as multiple sites are reporting it).  The administration holds its ground through this whole ordeal only to relent at the very end on a provision that will gut the ACA?  

    Trust-Fund Kids of America Unite... save the Bush tax cuts!

    by JCPOK on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:57:40 AM PDT

  •  I know, the ct in me was thinking sabotage (0+ / 0-)

    ..the rollout has been so lame and needlessly backward. Also, what ever happened to the concept of "soft launch"?

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:58:08 AM PDT

  •  Seriously maaan... (4+ / 0-)

    I mean WTF...Dammit I want my app!!! Fuck the Syrians!(and um basically the whole fucking world if we would have bombed Syria)

    This was the main reason I was saying a few months ago the president had better things to do than attend to Syria's internal problems. Like rolling out his signature accomplishment.
    Jeezus are you fucking serious?

    Obama 2012 http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/

    by jiffypop on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 11:59:26 AM PDT

  •  Howard Dean for HHS Secretary... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    puakev, kovie, Larsstephens

    I'm sure that Senate Republicans would be willing to allow a quick confirmation by unanimous consent.

  •  Once the positive effects of the law, (3+ / 0-)

    and CBO projections are shown to be accurate, the roll-out will be forgotten quickly.

    But hey, thanks Bobby, for putting this on the media's front-burner.

    However could we thank thee?


    I'm not an athiest. How can you not believe in something that doesn't exist? That's way too convoluted for me. - A. Whitney Brown

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:00:21 PM PDT

  •  Well .... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, sethtriggs, Larsstephens
    So far, we know millions of people have visited the healthcare.gov. The administration says it needs 7 million people to enroll in the first year for the program to work. Well, we don't know how far along we are to achieve that goal, but if the difficulties of using the site are any indication, its probably not very far.
    IIRC there have about 50k enrollments per week for the first two weeks. If the web site gets zero fixes, that puts enrollments at 2.5 million in the first year.

    That's with a totally borked web site. 7 million is not that far off if they get some fixes in soon.

    "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

    by nosleep4u on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:02:55 PM PDT

  •  it was a pleasure (0+ / 0-)

    to help with last year's campaign, up until ... well, let's just say "mom wasn't able to vote again, but she sure would have, because her first ever dem vote made her very happy.'

    the Obama Campaign tech team was a joy, but i don't know whether they're 'allowed' or well, you know ... stuff.

    sure wouldn't hurt to ASK !! *

    Addington's perpwalk? TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes. @Hugh: There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution.

    by greenbird on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:03:18 PM PDT

  •  Someone should be fired!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp, Minerva

    If you think this is because of "glitches" or "load" problems then you must be living in the tech world of 1995.  As Gibbs states this is an Architectural problem, thus this is going to take months if not longer to get straight.

    I saw somewhere a representation of the "tree" or schematics of all the different Departments that you have to go through once you get past the main portal...its like 6 different agencies from the IRS to Homeland security to verify everythiing...thats before you ever get the application completed and it goes to your state agencies.

    They had 3 years to get this right.  The problem probably lies in the fact that the law is something like 2500 pages long...and they were probably having to realize "oh yeah" we have to verify that info with this agency....and then 8 months later they were like 'oh yeah" just got to the part in the law so now we need that agency to verify.  

    The site doesn't actually function at all for most of us.  I have tried 5 different times to just get past the first step and I get told the system is down every time.  I know of 4 other people who can't get past the first step either.  I actually don't think anyone one the federal exchange has gotten to submit an application.  I don't know of one person.  I think they haven't gotten the backend completed fully with all the different agencies so they are  basically killing you at the beginning process so that you don't get 40 minutes into and have it hose up.   People get a lot less pissed to be hosed at the first step then in step 30.......  I know this is a huge polarizing subject but they should have delayed the website until they had it RIGHT!!!! Its Obama's signature legislative accomplishment and this site is no where near the standard it should have been at for such a big cause.

    The one thing that hurts most is the fact that I want to be able to go to my friends and co-workers who don't have insurance and brag about ACA and getting affordable insurance and tell them that they just need to go to this website and they too can have it...I want to be able to brag about the ACA website!!!!!!  But at this moment the site is too much of an embarrassment for me to tell anyone.....and thats a shame.....

  •  When a Kindergarten Class Goes Live With (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, cville townie

    some activities, for example handing out cookies, they are broken up alphabetically by name or by birthdays to avoid overloading the teacher or hall monitor.

    Not really a complicated concept.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:07:55 PM PDT

    •  But what if the problem is that the kitchen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cville townie

      is overloaded and all the cookies come from the kitchen?

      There's always a bottleneck, and only addressing the bottleneck will improve anything.

      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
      Code Monkey like you!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      by Code Monkey on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:54:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's all a matter of perspective (0+ / 0-)

    For example, if Bush were still in office... well, obviously, it wouldn't be about folks getting healthcare.  Give me a moment to come up with a comparable analogy for a Republican President.  

    It would have likely been a website where you had to successfully log in and fill out a form to avoid being drafted into the upcoming invasion of Iran and North Korea.  I'm sure we'd all be quietly and calmly accepting the website access issues that kept folks out of the process, certain that the problems would be resolve long in advance of the January 1 deadline.

    Ouch.. I hurt myself on that stretch.  Could we be so far removed from the Bush Presidency that the old reliable arguments aren't applicable any more?  I never thought I'd see the day...
     

    Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations. - George Orwell

    by Wayward Son on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:10:16 PM PDT

  •  It's an embarrassment. Plenty of time for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp, puakev, cville townie

    the site to be developed. Nothing like shooting ourselves in the foot.

    "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." Edward R. Murrow

    by temptxan on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:11:35 PM PDT

  •  The problem is... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp, moviemeister76

    ...that the tech companies that built this thing aren't necessarily the best at, you know, technology!  What they are very good at is navigating the maze of the federal government contract award process.

  •  Article from Slate.com about the process (9+ / 0-)

    I'm a big fan of BBB, but I don't he's right here.  In particular: the idea that using an app over a web site is kind of goofy. Because it would suffer from the same problems as the site, for the same reason.

    The best account I've seen of what's going on with HealthCare.gov was in Slate last week:  Quixotic Queries Question Quality!.

    The opening paragraph gets right to the point:

    At healthcare.gov, many people are still unable to create accounts, choose from a list of health care plans, and sign up for one. The system is down, or overloaded, or shows perplexing errors. Is the ongoing plight of healthcare.gov down to “crashing servers,” as many have assumed? Perhaps. But a server isn’t just a battery—you can’t just add more until you’ve got enough power. A peek at the architecture of healthcare.gov reveals a vast entourage of many different servers old and new, any one of which could have its own unique crashing problem, as well as a mysterious “data hub” that was responsible for connecting them all together—and thus if one failed, they all failed.
    I've done a few large systems (not that large, but that are big enough to have real scaling problems).  The article describes a kind of problem that would be very likely for a site like this, and that would be very hard to get around.

    Running a big site isn't really the problem here.  The vendor for the part of the site people actually see -- the "front end" in industry-talk -- is Development Seed (a DC shop) and while there's more than a little CYA going on by them, what they're saying sounds plausible: most of their pages are just plain HTML, with very little processing.  That's the kind of thing you can scale as big as you want, and it works.

    The problem is when people start to apply, and the system needs to verify information by going to back end databases.  In a system like this, the number of people you can process an hour depends on the slowest thing you need to do.  It becomes "the bottleneck".  To figure out how to make a site like this faster, you look for your bottlenecks, and add capacity where you see the problem.  But there's a problem here:  it can be very hard to know where your bottlenecks are, and when you fix one bottleneck, you get hung up on the next slowest operation.  

    Here we see why apps wouldn't help the problem:  an app uses the same back-end that a web site uses.  They not only will suffer from capacity bottlenecks, they will suffer from the same capacity bottlenecks.  They would not help performance.

    Apps would be useful here, especially for populations where a phone is the main way people use the Internet.  That's true of a lot of young, lower income people, and these are people we care a lot about for the roll out.  But there are also many groups of people -- especially lower income people -- who depend on web browsers for a variety of reasons (computer literacy being one of them).  So you need both.

    I'm not sure what to make about the article's criticisms of the back end vendors.  I'm not familiar with them (as I am with Dev Seed, a shop I know a lot about).  I can't judge if these shops had the people needed to do plan, develop, integrate and test  the many connections to legacy databases that would be needed here.  I'd hope they'd know about the scaling issues -- the federal gov't has a lot of big applications.  But someone else will need to chime on on that piece of the problem.

    Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

    by mbayrob on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:23:15 PM PDT

    •  +1. An app wouldn't help the load issue at all. (6+ / 0-)

      It might help as a marketing tool (though I'm skeptical; why would I download an app I only plan to use once?), but on the tech side, it only adds a new on-ramp to a congested road system.

      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
      Code Monkey like you!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      by Code Monkey on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:50:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Different people use apps than web sites (0+ / 0-)

        Even for a one-time activity like signing up for insurance, an app can be useful.  If you design the app well enough so that people can enter their info, have it stored on the device, it can even help a bit with congestion -- it can keep the info around and "try again later" in background, which is hard to do with a web application.

        But the biggest difference is who uses desktop computers and laptops, and who uses phones.  If you want to reach people of color, especially young people of color, they are a lot more likely to have a phone than laptop.  This is partly why the Obama campaign had people text to sign up -- it was an ideal way to mobilize a population that was otherwise hard to involve and hard to reach.

        Nowadays, if you are doing organizing, you really need to do both, and your web apps ideally should be mobile friendly.  But even a really well designed mobile web application won't trump an app for performance or for quality of user experience.

        That said:  doing the app isn't about load, as both you and I know.

        Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

        by mbayrob on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 12:20:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I am a big fan of Gibbs, actually (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    I'm not sure it's plus for him to join MSNBC, but oh well, it's a job and I hope he prospers.

    I think he's really handsome.  Not sure I like his new glasses, though.

  •  I'm in Maryland, and out site is FUBAR (3+ / 0-)

    Been trying to register since the 1st and can't. Eventually, these things will work themselves out. But people not as patient, or left as me, would be understandably down on Obamacare after my experience.

  •  Reason for no app was because they likely didn't (0+ / 0-)

    issue final requirements until early this year...because they didn't want to wait to write rules until after the election.  I am sure an app was something pulled out from scope due to time constraints.

    It created an almost impossible task with the number of integrations and dependencies that had to be supported.

    I get that it was tough.  But they really had no reason to play footsie with Republicans for years on end.  Add that the the procurement process for government, dictated by the deficit hawks (and somewhat understandable), and you get what you pay for.

    Sebilus won't be around for long.  Someone is going to have to pay the piper.

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:41:04 PM PDT

  •  Kathleen Sebelius (5+ / 0-)

    The job has been too big for her imo.

  •  Want a smoother rollout? Budget for it. (8+ / 0-)

    I'm amazed this doesn't come up more often: If you want Apple-quality launches, you need an Apple-level budget. Blaming administrators or developers or even Sebelius misses this point: They did what they could with what they had, which, as is usually the case in government, wasn't much.

    Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
    Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
    Code Monkey like you!

    Formerly known as Jyrinx.

    by Code Monkey on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:47:03 PM PDT

    •  Bingo (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayden, Code Monkey, Larsstephens

      My husband works for Netapp. Recently, his company was thinking about partnering up with Cisco for a long-term project. Until Cisco quoted them their price. Netapp backed out after that, even though they knew that the end product would be high quality. It costs big bucks to have that kind of rollout. Big bucks that no government agency except maybe the Pentagon ever gets.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:10:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Site seems to be working better. Give it until (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    end of November to work it out.  Once it's functional, people will forget about the clunky rollout.  

    Global Shakedown - Alternative rock with something to say. Check out their latest release, "A Time to Recognize": Available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and other major online music sites. Visit http://www.globalshakedown.com.

    by khyber900 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:00:51 PM PDT

  •  The president isn't a website designer. (5+ / 0-)

    So I don't know what Syria has to do with anything.
    HHS contracted the website design/architecture to a private firm, and that firm screwed up.

    Shit happens.

  •  Seriously? (6+ / 0-)

    I am not even close to being any sort of expert on computer programming - I can barely use Powerpoint. Which is why I have been paying close attention to the experts I DO know, and the ones in the media commenting on the problems ObamaCare is having in the "rollout".

    And almost all of them have noted (and I think a couple of Kossacks too) that this is pretty much "par for the course" for an unprecedented rollout of this size and complexity. Especially when you add in all the different states deciding they weren't going to participate.

    That doesn't mean that there aren't critiques to be made, but come on. This diary is disappointing.

    Lisa

    All Kossacks are my allies, but if you can't express your thoughts in a civil and kind manner, I won't be engaging in a conversation with you.

    by Boston to Salem on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:11:45 PM PDT

    •  this isn't really about (0+ / 0-)

      computer literacy or technical skills.  This is about understanding requirements for  how this is supposed to function for key stakeholders (users, ins. cos., Feds), providing quality capacity planning and testing, and managing multiple teams of contractors.

      After all that, experience with scalable technology is important.

      But this is mostly about systems literacy.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:41:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I barely understand this comment.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Satya1, Larsstephens

        .... which is why I am relying on actual experts to tell me how out-of-the-norm this 'rollout' is. And so far, as I said, most of them seem to be saying this is not unusual.

        Lisa

        All Kossacks are my allies, but if you can't express your thoughts in a civil and kind manner, I won't be engaging in a conversation with you.

        by Boston to Salem on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 02:13:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  sorry, I actually modified some language (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Boston to Salem

          There are methods for managing large, complex projects and those methods have been around for decades.

          Programmers are primarily folks working on detailed computer code.  One may work on a piece of code for example that will prompt the user for their age and state of residence and then use that info to query a database for the companies who offer plans for that demographic.  Then the code must format and display the data to the user.

          On big systems, the big picture is more critical.  Sure there are still programmers working on pieces of the project.  But we also have some folks looking at and deciding what comprises the overall system of hardware pieces, which software applications to run on those, and how they will all communicate.  

          We have to ask the business people who will use the system how much business activity they expect to have.  Those estimates involve measuring  past activity but also projecting future growth. (capacity planning)

          From day one I saw two problems.  Initially most users would just want to get a look at plans and rates.  The designers placed a registration system as a requirement for everyone accessing the system.  It was a bottleneck and was poorly designed.

          There is also a way to add extra computing hardware and software that is almost seamless.  But to make it seamless, that  needs to be designed by an experienced team.

          This was a big shock to me to see it so badly crippled the first day.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 02:46:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Speaking as a web developer (3+ / 0-)

    everything smells like "schedule driven development" gone awry with a very high profile website. Some of what I've seen reported being in the comments of the JS and stuff indicates this was unfinished when it launched. If I'm right -- and I probably am -- there are a group of developers pulling 16 hour shifts right now trying to patch together what's not working right.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:12:45 PM PDT

    •  why no backup plan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      on the cusp

      I agree with you.  It looks like they weren't anywhere near finished on the backend and because they promoted Oct. 1st. as the 'live" date then needed something up to be seen on the web.  Like I stated earlier seems like they are killing us even setting up an account until they can get all the necessary backend done.  Just allowing for us to set up an account shouldn't have been that hard to fix....and would have been done by now...this seems like they put something up so that we joe public could see as expected on Oct. 1st....made sure we couldn't actually set up any accounts yet..while they work on finishing the backend...I am sure that getting all the different agencies under this umbrella is a huge task....my biggest beaf is they didn't have an "oh yeah" we know the rollout will have glitches, but we have no plan other than the "gilitched up" website.  That to me is unforgivable.....

      •  Whoever was put in charge of this project (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        on the cusp, mahakali overdrive

        effed up royally (Or, whoever was in charge of them gave a timeline, budget, and feature list combination that was laughably unrealistic) and someone is going to pay the piper for it.

        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

        by raptavio on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:45:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It had to roll out ready or not. Otherwise the (0+ / 0-)

          Rw would have more time and ammunition to kill it. Kind of damned if you do damned if you don't.

          The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

          by CTMET on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:14:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not arguing that point (0+ / 0-)

            but there's a right way and a wrong way to do things. And give the scope of the project something went wrong in either planning or execution.

            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

            by raptavio on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:44:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I'm a coder who had the same problem. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raptavio

      I did the systems analysis and wrote the code and told my manager (who was not only not a programmer but who used her computer monitor as a place to put post-its) over and over and over that we absolutely could NOT roll out in September. But she had told the director that we would.

      So what I was writing rolled out disastrously, made me look terrible while the middle manager shook her head in wonder that I couldn't get things done "in time." It all worked quite well in the end, although completion date was delayed by having to deal with irate and pissed-off users.

      Which is a microcosm of what has gone down with healthcare.gov. I'm sure the programmers were screaming bloody murder while the middle managers were promising rainbows and unicorns to the bosses.

      You can't second-guess the Ineffable. - Good Omens

      by asterlil on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 10:39:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No app?!? Seriously?!? (0+ / 0-)

    EVERYONE and EVERYTHING has an app these days. It would also have been a great data gathering tool for the initial rollout.

    Fortunately, there's still time to get this right.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:15:46 PM PDT

    •  If they couldn't do it in 3 years and $400,000,000 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      on the cusp, Byblis

      I doubt it will get resolved in 3 months.

    •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cville townie

      You do know that a website can gather data just as easily as an "app" can right?

      There are reasons to create apps, but almost none of them pertain to signing up for insurance.  Performace and customization and the main 2 reasons.  Neither of those apply in this situation.   The #1 goal of this project is reaching EVERYONE, and  all smartphone users have webbrowsers and can get to a website.  Making this a website gave anyone who can get to the internet access and that is the only thing that made sense.  Developing apps on top of that would have been wasting money.

      Once everything is working perfectly, if they want to further spend money to make custom apps for iPhone and Android, well, maybe that would be worth it.  But I highly doubt it.  

      •  Most younger people access the internet (0+ / 0-)

        these days via smartphone and tablet apps, not web sites. The fact that web sites can gather data is irrelevant if a large part of the target audience for the ACA prefers apps. You accommodate your target audience, not vice-versa.

        And we're not talking about very complex apps. It's just info & signup. Much more complex are apps to manage one's actual health care and insurance, make appointments, get test results, etc., with HIPAA-level security, and that's for insurers to develop, not the government.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:01:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Again, Huh? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cville townie, Larsstephens

          Who are you selling insurance to, 10-year olds?

          The idea that someone in their 20's is not going to buy insurance because he or she "doesn't use web sites" is ridiculous.  

          As for it being "not complex" as someone who has been developing software for 20 years at some of the largest software companies in the world, I'd beg to differ.  You are dealing with multiple interconnecting back-end systems and millions of concurrent users.   That is no walk in the park.  Maybe they made it harder than it should have been, but it is not a simple problem.

          Developing mobile phone apps for the system would have been a waste of money, time, and resources.  Once the system is up and running, if there is demand for mobile phone apps, well then the government can look into creating them.

          •  The internet is moving towards apps (0+ / 0-)

            that's the reality of things whether you like it or not. I assume that the back ends are the same no matter what front ends they use, and whether browser or app-based, the front ends are basically pages of forms, nothing fancy, not that hard to develop for both browsers and the major app platforms. It's the middleware that would be the trickiest, and I assume that by now there are all sorts of solutions that can talk to all sorts of back ends and front ends.

            If Starbucks can do it, so can HHS.

            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

            by kovie on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:58:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Pbbbth. (3+ / 0-)

              It has nothing to do with whether I "like it or not".  It has to do with you throwing around the word "app" without seeming to have a good grasp of what it means.

              Apps can and have been developed for websites for a long, long time.  They are old news.  Flash apps, Java apps, Silverlight apps, all of these have been around for years.

              Mobile phone apps are relatively new because phones only recently started to have capabilities that could take advantage of applications.

              Regardless--what are you going to target for a project like this?  Clearly NOT mobile phones, because limiting yourself to people who have mobile phones would be ridiculous.  So mobile phone apps are out.   So you could easily create things with web based apps.  But then you couldn't use the site from things like iPads because iPads aren't compatible with things like Flash web apps.  So web apps are out.

              That leaves you with creating something that gives you the greatest reach, which is a basic web site.  If you want it to work on EVERY device, that is your only choice.  Otherwise, people would be screaming "Why doesn't it work on my (fill in their device here)".  

              The idea that people won't use a web site because all people use today are apps is just silly.  If you want to maximize your reach, an HTML web site is really your ONLY choice.  

              •  I give up (0+ / 0-)

                You seem to be living in a reality that peaked 5 years ago. There's millions of PHONE apps these days and they're easily the most popular ways to use the internet and do computing these days.

                You remind me of people who pooh-poohed GUIs 20-25 years ago because "No one really NEEDS them, character-based SW is good enough".

                Or, 30-35 years ago, "No one will ever NEED a personal computer!".

                "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                by kovie on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 05:33:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  LOL! (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  asterlil, cville townie

                  Sure, there are a million crappy phone apps out there.  Most of which are trying to make money in some way.   What does that have to do with the best way to get people to sign up for health insurance?

                  The idea that websites are "5 years ago" is just ridiculous.  Millions upon millions of people use the web every day.  Just because some people tend to use their mobile phone exclusively doesn't mean that they are the only people out there.  And even so, mobile phones all have web browsers on them.

                  Do you have any understanding of software development?  If you develop something as an application, it means you have to make a custom verison for EVERY platform.  That means you have a separate version for iPhone, Android, Windows, Mac, and any other OS you want to develop for.  Do you realize what that would do to the cost and timeframe of the project?    

                  Rule #1 in software is figure out who your customer is.  If you have to reach absolutely everyone, and in this case, they DO, then a website is really your ONLY choice.    

                  •  You've never heard of emulators and CASE? (0+ / 0-)

                    Done properly, they make it much easier to develop for multiple platforms. In fact, that's part of the whole idea behind the browser, to allow platform-independent development. Not many people develop web sites meant only for Macs or PCs or Linux. And it's not like there are that many phone platforms. Basically two that matter at this point. So basically, we're talking three front end platforms tops for a basically simple application, with reusable back ends.

                    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                    by kovie on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 09:53:42 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Emulators????? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      cville townie

                      First off, in general, emulators suck.  No one that writes native apps for phones or any platform thinks writing for emulators is a good idea.   You end up spending half of your time debugging the emulator instead of debugging your code.   Not to mention that it would give a terrible UI experience on the individual platforms since it would remove your ability to get to the native UI layer.

                      You COULD use something like Xamarin, which allows about 70% code reuse between iPhone and Android while retaining native UI developement, but then you are stuck paying a yearly licence fee to Xamarin AND depending on them to update their libraries every year for any platform updates that occur.  I doubt the government would want to take on a dependency like that.  But let's run with it anyway.

                      So that would take care of iPhone and Android.  But this is the government.  You can't just limit sign ups to people with mobile phones.  You have to support people who have, you know COMPUTERS.  So now you have to either build a 3rd application for Windows and a 4th application for Mac.  Niether of which would share anything with your iniital phone app.  And what about Windows phone users.  Are you saying they can't sign up for health insurance?  So what are we up to, at least 4 different applications, even if we count the iPhone and Android app as 1, which they really aren't?

                      Also remember that all of these applications have to fully support accessibility as well to deal with people who are handicapped.  Have you ever done accessibility programming in applications?  I've worked on programs that had to be government certified.  Total PITA.

                      So, we can develop a whole grab bag of applications with completely different code bases that are all in different (computer) languages that require different teams of programmers to code, OR we could build one consistent experience that reaches all of our customers at once and runs on every consumer device out there.   Gee, I wonder which way makes more sense?

                      As I said before, once they have things working on the website, if they want to increase visibility by adding in some mobile phone apps, they can do a cost analysis and see if it is worth it.  But adding them in at the start would have just added to the cost and complexity without really adding any benefit.  And doing apps INSTEAD of a website would have just been a disaster.

                      •  I never said anything about computer-specific (0+ / 0-)

                        applications. Who writes those anymore for something like this? That's such a straw man. They would obviously be browser-based, which given the fairly simple forms-based UI nature of this enrollment application, could be written to work with every major browser on every major platform (including phones, if they never do come out with apps).

                        The real work would be in the back end and middleware, looking up and populating lookup fields based on user-entered data, and then storing that data in some db. But, again, even though we're talking about a ton of data, it's fairly simple data, and we're not talking transaction processing a la real time hotel reservation. These are all preset plans, and you have to pick one of them. There's no custom configuration going on here (something I've worked on that makes things much more complicated).

                        So that takes care of desktops and laptops, be they Windows, MacOS or Linux-based, leaving us with Android, iOS & perhaps Windows phones and tablets. Blackberries are not in wide use by younger people, so we don't have to develop apps for those, and we can probably leave out Windows phones since they're still fairly uncommon. I'll grant you that emulators are probably not the way to go. But I find it hard to believe that there aren't decent CASE tools that allow you to develop the same app for the 2 most popular phone OS's that with some tweaking puts out decent code for both. Especially given that, again, we're not talking about a very complicated front end.

                        I'll grant you this, though. Given that enrollment is generally a one shot deal, and once you're done you'll probably never have to do it again, it probably doesn't make sense to develop an installable app, and this has been, in retrospect, an academic discussion. However, it might still make sense to develop a mobile version of the enrollment web site that's optimized for phones. Have they done that? I've never done that. Is that hard?

                        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                        by kovie on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 07:30:21 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  mobile websites (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          cville townie

                          Modern smartphones are quite capable of browsing regular websites as long as you develop the sites intelligently.

                          Alternatively you can create a mobile version of the site designed for the smaller form-factor of a mobile phone.  It is not super-simple to do, but it is far easier than creating a separate application for each phone variant.

                          I think you are significantly overestimating the use of CASE tools in mobile phone development.   The reason stuff like Xamarin exists and costs a fortune is that creating cross-platform phone apps is a problem that hasn't really been solved yet.

                          As you stated yourself, you HAVE to create the website anyway for PC and Mac.  My point all along has been that since you HAVE to create the web site anyway, and smartphones can already access the web site, any mobile phone apps are add-on items that can be added once the site is working properly, if it is deemed they will help with signup.  They are a "nice to have extra", not a "must have".  The web site is a "must have" and clearly all the time and resources need to be devoted to it at the moment.  

        •  That's actually not true (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JamieH

          People do some things on phones, and others mostly on computers.

          Just about nobody other than high-income 40-something yuppies use tablets for personal things, other than to read books and magazines.

          Please cite the claims you are making to a credible source with data, or have the courtesy to retract them.

  •  ...biggest beaf (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp

    is that there should have been a backup plan to the website.  Its not just that the site doesn't work but that there is still no way for me to have my application submitted even by someone over the phone.  

    I called and had someone fill out my application, but the problem is even this person has to get online and submit my application for me...WTF...I have called twice and both times the customer service person ( and no fault on them) basically tell me to wait till the system is working better because they can take my info but they are as hamstrung as I am.  

    Why was this system at least not streamlined for the customer service reps and the navigators?  Why do they not get a higher priority then me...using the website.  I should be able to go down to a field office and be signed up that minute...know all my options and have an insurance plan ready to go at midnight Dec. 31.  

    Instead everyone both joe public and the folks actually working for ACA are stuck using the same screwed system.  I can understand having a "tech" problem...but then you should have a non "tech" solution at least as a backup.  Not having that is just plan idiotic and someones head should roll for just that reason.

  •  My guess is that we will give Apple (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    and tech companies far less grief than we will the federal government when they have bugs and problems.

    Problems happen.  Then you solve them.  That's how it works.  And that is how it will work here.

    Barack Obama for President '12

    by v2aggie2 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:18:53 PM PDT

    •  You haven't seen some of the disastrous game (0+ / 0-)

      launches in the last few years.  Games with megamillion budgets that crash and burn on lauch.  And that's just an audience of tens of thousands to a million or so.

      Pure rage!

      Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

      by The Dead Man on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:29:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Too bad they couldn't use the NSA's mega computers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, LieparDestin

    /priorities

    Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

    by The Dead Man on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:25:24 PM PDT

  •  There needed to be a savvy manager (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp, jayden, Byblis

    with a lot of systems experience in the administration and that person needed a lead architect at hand to go over everything thoroughly. Those two main people and their support staff should have had the skills to coordinate the consulting teams and collaborate on a scalable architecture and plan effective milestone deliverables leading to the end result.

    Glitches?  Sure they happen all the time with every rollout.  But ones this crippling?  No, no way was this inevitable.

    Sooner or later people will get signed up.  But I feel badly for our President.  He deserved a better implementation than this.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 01:34:35 PM PDT

  •  Download an application and mail it in (0+ / 0-)

    Here is where you can download it.

    Publications & articles | Marketplace.CMS.Gov

    http://marketplace.cms.gov/...

    •  unfortunatley (0+ / 0-)

      those folks getting your application still have to put it into the "buggy" system.  Thats why most here are scared this has been royally screwed up.  The folks who get your app still have to use the same messed up program so it might still be sometime before your application is actually put in and you get access to shop for plans and sign up....

  •  Repairs scheduled this week (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    belinda ridgewood

    CNN reported this morning that HHS plans to take the website down between 1am--5am this week for repairs. Hopefully this will fix the remaining bugs.

  •  C'mon. (0+ / 0-)

    What's that going to do?

    Keep the screwup in the news past the shutdown?

    Then what?

    You'll have a bunch of sad, pathetic mopes on Fox saying they can't feed their kids because mean old Obama fired them because they made his healthcare program look bad?

    No good can come of this.

    Demote them, if you must. But having some kind of vengeful housecleaning would be worse than just doing nothing.

  •  Can you buy health insurnace if you're under 18? (0+ / 0-)

    Some forward looking kids there.

    But yes, the people at CGI Federal should be shipped off to Gitmo.

  •  Apps to the Rescue? Uh? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cville townie, rsmpdx

    Where do you think the apps go to do the magic they do when people used them? Same place the "website" goes. Releasing apps instead of building websites is not a panacea for the deficient infrastructure that is reportedly causing the current hardship.

    Just saying.

  •  I've been called a troll for suggesting as much. (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe I shouldn't have mocked the people who blamed this  on the tech-savy teabaggers and their DOS attacks, LOLZ!

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

    by HairyTrueMan on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 03:58:56 PM PDT

  •  Obama fortunate in his enemies, but collectively (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    steamed rice

    we are not.

    The bizarre self-implosion of the GOP surely detracts from should have been a more organized ACA rollout. Unfortunately the Republican anarchists "just want to see the world burn." Any Democratic political gain is overshadowed by the harm being done right now.

  •  Today I finally managed to enroll in CoveredCA.com (3+ / 0-)

    It was not easy.

    I had to call the 800 number and I got help.

    I was stuck in a bug and we managed to get around.  I almost gave up again after a long "chat" with another person.  The chat kept getting disconnected and bottom line it was useless.

    I still have to pick a package.

    The navigation of the site is not intuitive and full of inconsistencies.

    But it finally worked.

    According to my helper on the 800, things have improved over the last 2 weeks.

    And this is California, supposedly the best site to get ACA coverage.

    When apple released a buggy "maps" heads rolled, so I agree.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 04:33:13 PM PDT

  •  Please, when this is finally fixed (0+ / 0-)

    send the fixer to fix the systems that are supposed to work together at the VA.  The same asshole who designed the ACA must have done the work for the VA.  Shabby stuff.

  •  I AM DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED IN GIBBS (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    steamed rice

    I have always been an admirer of Gibbs.  But what an ass he is on this issue.  Why does he think one of the most important pieces of legislation, and far-reaching, would go well in now what is fourteen days.  Is he Biblical?  Comparing it to the world made in seven days?

    He and we have not had a chance to see the possible element of sabotage, because the problems are in the states where the federal government has been thrust into running it.  I suspect that there is deep vicious behaviors.  And possibly people too beat down and poor and uneducated to manipulate the system, no matter how user-friendly.  But why would Gibbs join this shit?

    He needs a good job.  Preferably one that helps this administration and Kathleen Sebelius.  Who would know that he would start to join the TeaBaggers who want to destroy this program that will turn out to be more popular than Social Security and Medicare.  MORE POPULAR.  And Gibbs is out there looking for heads.  He needs a good job that is beneficial to the country.

  •  The Campaign Tech Team (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    steamed rice

    Is no more.  And something tells me they wouldn't be very keen on working inside the government, which is well below their pay grade.

    Yeah, it would have been nice. Yeah, We have to question if the system was adequately stress tested before roll-out, and if not, why not.

    And yeah, heads are going to roll, but they will probably belong to small potatoes not big ones.

  •  Not being an IT person I have a question for the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti

    critics.

    How does one build a computer system that is designed to serve 350M people, most not very IT savvy, in 50 states.  It has to interface with systems in those states that choose to manage the ACA themselves, and yet still interface with all the other states in various ways. And it has to interface with all the insurance companies, each probably with its own system and the IRS and possibly others.

    So how many individual interfaces does the new computer system have to be interfaced with?

    I worked two years in a medical research lab that was interfacing for the first time two automated pieces of lab equipment, neither new on the market.  So other labs had successfully interfaced those exact analyzers with their company systems so test results could go directly from the analyzer into the in house system.

    The interface process was to begin in early summer and be finished by August.  August came and went the next August came and went and when I left in April there were still bugs.
    The company was coming out of receivership, thanks to the Bush recessions,  so they probably were doing things on the cheap.

    I had previously worked in a cancer hospital's lab.  They did a complete program switch out over one weekend.  As far I know there was not a hitch.  The company whose program was installed sent almost 100 techs to be on sight to help with problems.
    I'm guess that process cost the hospital many many millions.

    That's 1 small lab, about 10 physicians, numerous nurses, and 60 some in house patients who were under going treatment, surgery, radiation, bone marrow transplants and end of life care.  All handled with out a single problem.

    Money matters when you do this type of thing and I am wondering if the gov. strapped for money was using in house IT folk, or low bid, to set this up, and maybe they didn't have the kinds of experience to put the whole package together and tie it up with a ribbon.

    We wanted this act.

    We damn well better support it or the rats in the ship will gnaw it to death.

    •  most of us also (0+ / 0-)

      support this 100%...I think you hit the nail on the head...its hosed because of all the different agencies all of your information has to pass through...and then the state agencies and insurance companies... I am sorry but this could take years to get functioning from a website interface.....thats where I think they screwed the pooch...they should not have worried about real time application process to get to see the different options.  Also  probably should have started with only professional entry people you had to either call or go into a local office that had access to the system....trying to allow millions of folks real time verification with all going live on one day was just idiotic.....I am sure they are realizing that now...and thats been my biggest argument about how this has been thrown out...they had no other back up plan other than keep trying the website....wtf...keep trying the thing we know is hosed up.....truly idiotic..

  •  Oh this is such pure drivel (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RickD, joanneleon

    God, the technologically uniformed are sometimes an embarassment. Look, take it from a web developer. There is nothing significanly wrong with the websites at all. The problem is not one of architecture or design. It is a problem of scale.

    Stop blaming the developers. Demand wildly exceeded all expectations, and no web developer could have either predicted nor prepared for that on their own. I mean really, these kinds of decisions are made by actuaries, not programmers. BB Please get a grip, if you know so little about how to launch  a web app, please don't embarass yourself with the hyperbolic call for "heads to roll". Oh and the notion that it should be an app. Puhleeze!!

    Everyone literate enough to use an iPhone is certainly literate enough to use a website. But rather than pander to the needs of a tiny number of young users, it makes much more sense to reach the largest audience possible, and that is certainly through a website, not a smart phone app.

    Here is a little hint for you, the vast majority of people most concerned with finding a reasonably priced insurance plan, such as myself, a 52 year old with no insurance, can barely even make out the screen on an iPhone. It's not like millions of 20 somethings have just discovered they are not immortal and are suddenly rushing to sign up for Obamacare. Rather it's millions of people just like me with pre-existing conditions who can't afford $500-1000 a month for insurance that are overloading the sites.

    Within a matter of weeks, if not days, activity will reduce and level off, and the sites will function adequately as designed. You don't throw ten times the hardware at something to accommodate a week's worth of heavy activity when you know that after the first weeks, activity will be a tiny fraction of what it was at the outset. That's just the obvious recognition of how software demand and architecture works.

    Otherwise you spend millions of extra $$ for an initial rush and then are stuck with maintaining all the extra junk for years with only a trickle of volume forever after. I sure don't want to see my tax dollars wasted that way.

    So stop the phony calls for heads to roll, it's totally inappropriate and childish.

    "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government" -Thomas Jefferson

    by Phil In Denver on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 10:31:41 PM PDT

    •  Mostly agree (0+ / 0-)

      but it's really clear they didn't have the system all together for beta testing and load testing.

      Load testing isn't perfect but it definitely can simulate having millions of users at once, can test peak usage, etc.  And there's no way this system could have made it through load testing.  

      I've been sympathetic toward the development teams, both front end and back end, from the start.  I've been part of development teams many times in web apps and even before web applications existed.  No system goes into production perfectly. It's impossible to anticipate everything that can happen once it's out in it's real world environment.

      But the kind of disconnect between the front end teams and back end teams in this project seems to be really severe.  And this thing should have been running in beta all summer at least.  There were some bits of information from the development teams that leaked out over the summer and said they weren't ready at all.  This thing was not ready for prime time.  


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:46:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The conclusion is right but the premise is wrong (0+ / 0-)

    The main problem with the rollout is that it has been embarrassingly glitchy and no app would fix the server problems or the website problems.

    Having said that I agree that some accountability needs to happen. The entire premise of the ACA exchange launch was, as the POTUS said, it was going to be something like an Apple launch. Instead it looks more like the launch of Windows 8, bloated, buggy and essentially crappy. But unlike Apple, where someone would have been held accountable, we see nothing here. Ezra Klein, a big supporter of the ACA, even calls this launch "failure."

    But there is a bigger problem to this than just the glitchy launch. People are trying 20-30 times, waiting for hours and not getting in. As time goes by there will be a lot of self-selection in this pool, and the only people who would be willing to try are the sick people without insurance. The healthy young individuals would have moved out, and we are likely to see adverse selection in real time. That would be the real unintended disastrous consequence to this crappy launch.

    Many here have commented that it does go into effect till January. Most of these people either have not worked in business, or have no idea how underwriting works. The entire idea of an October launch was to give the insurers 3 months to assess the pool and adjust the premiums. Its mid-October, we have this crap. If this doesn't get resolved by November, then we will have the real clusterfuck.

    I personally think Kathleen Sebelius should step down. She has be the worst secretary of the HHS in memory. Inarticulate, incompetent, and has no clue about messaging and marketing. The buck of this disastrous rollout stops with her.

    "Mr Obama wishes to be president of a country that does not exist. In his fantasy US, politicians bury differences in bipartisan harmony."

    by tarheel74 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:23:24 AM PDT

  •  Complexity, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    splashoil

    volume of information and the number of steps necessary to review and choose makes this a really bad candidate for a mobile app.  

    This isn't something you can do on a tiny screen.

    Maybe later, information and adjustments, checking the status of your deductible and things like that, are candidates for mobile apps. But a very lengthy insurance application and a lot of help text -- these are not things that mobile apps are good for.

    From what I've read, the biggest problem is the disconnect between the back end and front end teams.  Two different contractors.  And it reeks of not enough large scale testing.  

    I'm sympathetic, actually.  I'm not ready to make heads roll.  I think this is a classic case of a system that was not ready to be deployed but had a hard deadline.

    If anybody is going to take the hit for this, it's the project management team who didn't give the technical teams enough time to develop this system.  They had four years to do this and they ended up with a half baked system at the end that clearly wasn't load tested and clearly wasn't tested with the final set of servers?

    And lastly, did they do beta testing at all?  They should have been doing beta testing all summer.  I read a number of things over the summer saying this system was not ready to go.  


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:40:10 AM PDT

  •  Thats what you get (0+ / 0-)

    when you hire a Canadian IT firm to deal with a US demand.

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