Facing such intense opposition from congressional Republicans, the administration was in a bunker mentality as it built the enrollment system, one former administration official said. Officials feared that if they called on outsiders to help with the technical details of how to run a commerce website, those companies could be subpoenaed by Hill Republicans, the former aide said. So the task fell to trusted campaign tech experts.
Very important to understand: Between this and the fact that HHS deliberately hid the price of insurance behind a reg wall on Healthcare.gov to reduce “rate shock,” the grand takeaway about the website’s failure is that O and his team made it much worse than it needed to be because they were terrified of transparency. And the reason they were terrified of transparency, both in the case of hiding the cost of the premiums from web users and hiding the site’s architectural problems from contractors who might be hauled before Congress, is because they know they’ve delivered a bad product. Put the premiums on the front page and the public, expecting “affordable care,” would recoil at the truth. Put the contractors at the witness table before Issa’s committee and the public, expecting that the government would “fix” health care, would recoil upon discovering that they can’t even build a website with three years’ lead time.
The federal health care exchange was built using 10-year-old technology that may require constant fixes and updates for the next six months and the eventual overhaul of the entire system, technology experts told USA TODAY…
Recent changes have made the exchanges easier to use, but they still require clearing the computer’s cache several times, stopping a pop-up blocker, talking to people via Web chat who suggest waiting until the server is not busy, opening links in new windows and clicking on every available possibility on a page in the hopes of not receiving an error message. With those changes, it took one hour to navigate the HealthCare.gov enrollment process Wednesday.
Those steps shouldn’t be necessary, experts said.
“I have never seen a website — in the last five years — require you to delete the cache in an effort to resolve errors,” said Dan Schuyler, a director at Leavitt Partners, a health care group by former Health and Human Services secretary Mike Leavitt. “This is a very early Web 1.0 type of fix.”Read this, too: No one’s getting fired, huh?
The root cause of the problems was a pivotal decision by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials to act as systems integrator, the central coordinator for the entire program. Usually this role is reserved for the prime information technology contractor.
As a result, full testing of the site was delayed until four to six days before the fateful Oct. 1 launch.