While even the most naive private sector cyber-experts knew well in advance that an effective rewrite of Obamacare's 500 million lines of code would take a "little longer" than the month promised by the government in advance of the November 30 fix deadline, the Obama administration went ahead with its much touted healthcare.gov relaunch anyway. The results have been mixed.
The WSJ quotes Obama administration officials who said Sunday there has been "dramatic progress" in fixing HealthCare.gov but acknowledged "there is more work to be done" in improving the site and its underlying technology and that technicians for the site said they will not be able to fix all the glitches by the deadline.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials released an eight-page report Sunday morning offering a few details of progress in fixing the site, which crashed shortly after its launch Oct. 1.
The site now allows 50,000 people to use it at the same time, according to the report, and wait times for Internet pages to load have dropped from 8 seconds to less than a second. More than 400 fixes have been made to the site.
"The bottom line, HealthCare.gov on Dec. 1 is night and day from where it was on Oct. 1," said Jeffrey Zients, the Obama aide tasked with fixing the technical mess, in a call with reporters.
Ironically, if Obamacare ends up being the success Obama has portrayed it as since day one, and traffic to the website surges (as is needed for Obamacare to become financially viable as opposed to just stop showing 404 screens), it is likely that it will crash once again. CMS representative Julie Bataille cautioned, “If there are extraordinary high spikes in traffic, which exceed the site’s capacity, consumers will be put in a new advance queuing system that will give them an expected wait time, or allow them to be notified via email when they can return to the site." Aka: F5.
That said, assuming the website is indeed finally fixed, it is clear who should be thanked: Google and Oracle. "Contractors and outside engineers from Google Inc. and Oracle Corp. brought in by Obama administration officials have been working overtime over the past five weeks to try to fix the site and its underlying technology, including systems that send information and payments to insurers. Administration officials say they installed fixes this weekend to address erroneous customer data that have been sent to insurers. They won't know if that issue has been fixed until more consumers get through the enrollment process and more customer data is sent to insurers, said Julie Bataille, a CMS spokeswoman."
In other words, you have to sign up for Obamacare, to find out not only what's in it and what your premiums will be, but if it has even been fixed.
Finally, those still confused about the enrollment process, will get some much needed clarity from the flowchart below.