Keep It Simple, Stupid !!
Three guys from San Francisco have built it. Pulled 100% of the logic out of healthcare.gov and simplified the processing
Everything their site doesn't do, the insurance companies are going to do anyway. This includes verifying ID and income data for their contracts.
There was no profit motive. No scams. No contractors. No Wednesday night poker games with Federal Division salesmen.
Nothing but three good guys and their computers: Ning Liang, George Kalogeropoulos and Michael Wasser.
Query logic and filters pulled from the government's Healthcare.gov web site. Calculations for subsidies pulled from Healthcare.gov. But by doing only the basic mission, this one works.
I said in the first week of the recent bloodletting that this is a 120-day problem. Anything more than 120 days building www.healthcare.gov sets up failure.
Put HealthSherpa on a Sun 10K or any big "cloud" box or a typical Hadoop layout and you can handle 250,000 distinct customers an hour at a minimum. You come out of HealthSherpa in the insurance company systems -- where you belong -- with all the information they need to complete the contracting process.
Insurance companies will usually finish the process at call centers. Telephone is the best choice.
Keep It Simple, Stupid !!
Details on the who-what-where-how under the orange muffin.
Ning Liang, George Kalogeropoulos and Michael Wasser dug out the processing queries and filters from the healthcare.gov site. Converted the logic to state machine algorithms. Put it all table-driven instead of the stupid-contractor mess of re-querying every damn item every time and trying to do conditional this-and-that.
And they got it up and running all by themselves.
A 120-day problem. A month to get the interfaces defined, main flow logic implemented, a start on subsidies. A month to prototype, plus converting flow points to state machine logic, plus unit testing. A month to smooth it all out. A month more, so's the local Captain Kirk don't get too damn spoiled.
These guys had the processing elements for HealthSherpa coded already. That's the guts of healthcare.gov. Their big problem was redefining the flow/"experience" so you get to what you're eligible for right off.
The complications of the ID work are put off to the actual contracting steps where it belongs. Insurance companies are going to redo that for themselves no matter what.
Obama's people are doing the data access work with PowerCenter and a data warehouse.
Our San Fran guys do periodic pulls for new data and make it tabular. Then pin it. Same difference, within a fraction of a second, considering how much memory an apps server gives you these days. (The DW builds fact tables, honestly a negligible advantage.)
Yeah, the boys pull what they need down into memory.
Absent profit, you can get first rate results by relying on personal integrity. "The quality of a product reflects the integrity of the production process" -- from W. Edwards Deming.
The more you know about Deming, the better. A genius.
Anyway, the evidence-based debate on using ObamaCare should be over. Fact is, Liang, Kalogeropoulos and Wasser knocked this problem out of the park.
But corporate media ain'ta gonna give up that easy. The Kochs are paying them not to give up. And the usual GOP creeps will be whining about October 2013 till October 2033.
From our Latter Day Confederate Gray brethren:
-- "Perhaps we're all missing The Goal of Barack Obama... that we must agree to the statement that we have no reasonable expectation of privacy... To the point, that is to cause such a disruption to the economic system because of Identity Theft that our govt will require that all persons must accept a mark on their persons so as to verify the unique identity of each person." [Tattoos from Hell, or concentration camp numbers ?????]
-- "Their solution is a single-user application that would never scale to the degree that HealthCare.Gov needs to." [Of course it does. Insurance company systems complete contracting and report everything back to the DHHS same as healthcare.gov.]
-- "Obama is an idiot. He wasted 6 million paying a firm to do this" [and that code did 98% of the work to get HealthSherpa up and turning.]
-- "Obama: You didn't build it!
Private Sector: Yeah, we fixed it."
[Charity: No, we fixed it.]
-- "The NSA can intercept 7 billion communications globally on a daily basis from us peons to foreign leaders, sort, data mine and process that data, but our govt can't get this working. Priceless."
-- And many-many-many whines about subsidies. Which the insurance companies will calculate for you, no sweat. That's only a problem in the alternate-fantasy-whoop-dee-do world of GOPer hoaxes.
And sane observations:
-- "This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you build a website that works..."
-- From the team: "That's the great thing about having such a small team. You sit around a table and say, 'Okay, how does this work?' There's no coordination meetings, there's no planning sessions. It's like, 'Well, let's read the document and let's implement this.'"
-- "While the GOP conducts ANOTHER of their witch hunts asking political aimed asinine questions ... some folks are trying to help ... Does the GOP know what cooperation means?????????"
-- Care to comment on their subsidy calculator? How many websites might that program hit? I understand the concept of streamlining with out hitting the servers part of your rationale and I do actually see the value of their approach, as simple is better in this case, but the perfect system has not yet been designed where average users can obtain the information they seek, maybe they can work on it again tonight. .... [Which is why it's all pulled down at once and put to tables in memory. And the final subsidy amount has to come from the insurance company. First rate question from a non-database person.]
-- "This is for all the morons who think private business can do everything better!!! ... the banks that went bust in 2008 weren't government run business, neither was Enron or Hostess."
[Charity + government = a KISS web site that works.]
Gotta love this. Cool as Occupy the first month of so.