After a rocky start; If I read one more article about HealthCare.gov that starts with the phrase, "after a rocky start", I'm going to throw up all over my rocky computer! As a former software developer, I was extremely critical of the procurement process and the incompetent company that was awarded the contract. But when the administration announced the "tech surge", I was also extremely hopeful that progress could be made on the mess the contractor had created, IF the right people took control.
On Nov. 5 I wrote a diary, Did HealthCare.gov Just Get A Lot Better?, when I believed the website had turned a major corner. I am extremely impressed that the tech people could make so much progress so quickly.
Yesterday, Secretary Sebelius gave a major hint, Healthcare.gov ‘Significantly Different’ for Nov. 30 Deadline that the website has already met the Presidents goal of working for the majority of people by Nov. 30. Make no mistake, the site isn't going to work perfectly, and since changes will be constant as they learn more, it may never be a perfect site, but what site is?
Below the fold for some media comments:
...from More fixes to HealthCare.gov as Nov. 30 deadline looms
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius assured state and local elected officials Tuesday that the troubled Obamacare website is “definitely on track” to improve by the end of November.
“We are definitely on track to have a significantly different user experience by the end of this month,” Sebelius said in a conference call with state and local officials Tuesday.
Sebelius told lawmakers Tuesday they should encourage their constituents to sign up for coverage on Healthcare.gov as the administration continues to make improvements to the site.
“I would urge you and your folks on the ground to not hesitate to recommend that people go to Healthcare.gov and get signed up because that experience is currently working much better and it will continue to work much better,” Sebelius said.
The government announced Monday it added yet more capacity and made more fixes, including hardware updates, to HealthCare.gov over the weekend, working toward its goal of a "smoothly operating" website by a self-imposed Saturday deadline.I was really shocked about a week ago to hear that the site could handle 50,000 people at once. That is a really huge number and means the site can probably handle everyone who wants to visit the site. Of course the emphasis from the press has been that the site has only reached half its goal of handling about 100K people at once. Who the hell cares if can handle 100K or 1M, as long as it can handle the vast majority of people trying to get on, and it can do that right now!
"The system will not work perfectly on Dec. 1, but it will operate much better than it did in October," said Julie Bataille, the director of the office of communications at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
To that end, Friday HHS announced that the site would be able to handle 50,000 people at once, as originally planned, by Nov. 30. That means 800,000 people will be able to access the site every day, she said.
Krugman sees in, The Obamacare Worm Turns, a backlash happening as the site starts signing up 100s of thousands of people, but I'm not so sure.
Conservatives are operating on the assumption that it’s an irredeemable disaster that they can ride all the way to 2016; but the facts on the ground are getting better by the day, and Obamacare will turn into a Benghazi-type affair where Republicans are screaming about a scandal nobody else cares about.Unfortunately, I don't believe for a moment that the media will give the same coverage of the remarkable recovery of HealthCare.gov, as they did to the problems. Even now, the stories tend to be, HealthCare.gov is making progress, BUT there's this problem and that problem and ...
Eventually, with our assistance of criticism of stories that emphasize the problems over the successes, the stories will have to turn to the successes. But I think the Administration is making a big mistake by not releasing some of the big numbers that must be happening right now. At least leak the numbers to stop these "broken Obamacare" stories from being forever locked in the minds of the uninformed voters.
So congratulations to the tech team that has made remarkable progress on a really big mess, and get on your Facebook and twitter accounts and push the media to report the remarkable turnaround with the same vigor they reported the problems!