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Obama admin’s spin on Healthcare.debacle does little to gain users’ confidence

Obama admin’s spin on Healthcare.debacle does little to gain users’ confidence

The fallout of the launch of the Obamacare website continues, and as the administration spins and deflects questions, media outlets are digging deeper for answers that are sure to bring new concerns to light.  And that’s aside from all the other general concerns about the impact of the law itself.

The Washington Post came out with a report yesterday that contained a few key pieces of information that reaffirms what many have already suspected.

Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health ­insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.

Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead.

When the Web site went live Oct. 1, it locked up shortly after midnight as about 2,000 users attempted to complete the first step, according to two people familiar with the project.

Later in the report, it indicates that “U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park has said that the government expected HealthCare.gov to draw 50,000 to 60,000 simultaneous users but that the site was overwhelmed by up to five times as many users in the first week.”  CGI, which worked on the shopping and enrollment applications, reportedly built it to accommodate 60,000 concurrent users, according to the Post.

As we’ve covered previously, load and stress testing on a project such as this is typically done well in advance – not days prior.  Additionally, if a site expects to bring in up to 60,000 concurrent users, standard testing protocols would typically indicate multiplying that several times and testing with a simulated load of several hundred thousand users.

That the system failed tests at minimal levels days prior and someone in the administration decided to still move forward with the launch as planned is beyond comprehension.  More importantly, I ask again, where was the planning?

The Washington Post continues with more, including this:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency in charge of running the health insurance exchange in 36 states, invited about 10 insurers to give advice and help test the Web site.

About a month before the exchange opened, this testing group urged agency officials not to launch it nationwide because it was still riddled with problems, according to an insurance IT executive who was close to the rollout.

“We discussed . . . is there a way to do a pilot — by state, by geographic region?” the executive said.

It was clear at the time, the executive said, that the CMS was still dealing with the way the exchange handled enrollment, federal subsidies and the security of consumers’ personal information, such as income.

One key problem, according to a person close to the project, was that the agency assumed the role of managing the 55 contractors involved and had not ensured that all the pieces were working together.

Some key testing of the system did not take place until the week before launch, according to this person. As late as Sept. 26, there had been no tests to determine whether a consumer could complete the process from beginning to end: create an account, determine eligibility for federal subsidies and sign up for a health insurance plan, according to two sources familiar with the project.

Aside from reinforcing the concern that testing and planning were inadequate, there’s another concern highlighted by that excerpt: “the CMS was still dealing with the way the exchange handled enrollment, federal subsidies and the security of consumers’ personal information, such as income.”

This administration needs to remember that Americans are concerned about the protection of their personal information and privacy. I think the recent reporting on the NSA surveillance should only reinforce that.

The experiences with and numerous reports about all the issues surrounding the Obamacare website’s launch have certainly been frustrating even for supporters of the program. No doubt, the administration is likely concerned that many of the young consumers they need to sign up for plans won’t return to do so if the problems persist.

But what about the things that happen behind the scenes that we can’t see, and won’t see, even once all the so-called “glitches” are fixed?

The administration’s response to the debacle has been just as troubling as the problems themselves. It has been filled with spin and deflection and void of any open, straightforward answers.

President Obama has focused heavily on telling everyone all the supposedly great things the program can do for them.  But as usual, he offers few actual answers of substance.

Politico made the following observation about the president’s Rose Garden speech Monday:

Here’s what he didn’t do: explain why those problems weren’t addressed before the Oct. 1 launch, why he didn’t seem to be aware of them before they went very public, or who would be suffering the consequences for any of it. He didn’t apologize. He announced, in broad terms, who would be coming in to help. But he didn’t say anything about who would be shown the exits.

His “nobody’s madder than me” Monday echoed the kinds of statements he’s repeatedly made about problems over the last few months — “Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it” (the IRS scandal), “It’s not as if I don’t have a personal interest” (the NSA scandal), “This is not a world we should accept” (Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons). He puts himself forward as a man frustrated with what’s happened on his watch, promising change, insisting that nothing of the sort could ever happen again.

That’s the point. The concern is in the responses to these crises.

For those who worried from the beginning, even before the launch of the Obamacare website, that the government might have issues with things like adequately protecting our personal information on this project, all the recent news reports do little to quell those fears.  The administration’s response does even less to quell the concerns.

Meanwhile, it’s as though no one was in charge of this project.

After all the revelations about failures in basic things such as planning and technical competency, there has been little to date that gives many much confidence that other details have been managed any differently.  Fixing what the administration likes to keep calling “glitches” is not necessarily going to restore the users’ confidence in the system’s less visible components, like data security, or that the administration has adequately planned for them.  People want to understand what went wrong.

And this is probably most troubling of all for those who will be forced to purchase a plan through the program in order to avoid a penalty.

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Comments

PersonFromPorlock | October 22, 2013 at 6:30 pm

I had to chuckle at Rush’s sniping today at the administration’s appeal to Verizon to save the day: he was in ecstasy over the administration’s having finally to admit that government couldn’t do what private business could. Then off he went on a general celebration of free enterprise, never apparently realizing that Verizon, if it saves the ACA rollout, will be acting in the best tradition of Lenin’s rope-seller.

Top men are working on this. T-o-p men…

And they really mean that. Exclusively.

“American women participated in the nation’s labor force in September at a rate that matched the lowest level in 24 years, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

People want to understand what went wrong.

What went wrong?

Everything!

    Two options for “What went wrong”

    #1) Obama got elected

    #2) America had degraded it’s moral and intellectual fiber to the point where Obama got elected.

    It’s worst case, either way.

Humphreys Executor | October 22, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Either he was lied to, in which case heads should already be rolling, or he failed to exercise proper supervision, for which he should accept responsibility.

    Insufficiently Sensitive in reply to Humphreys Executor. | October 22, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    He has the responsibility whether he accepts it or not. It’s HIS signature legislation and HIS people putting it online and HIS reputation if it fails. As Chief Executive, the buck stops with him. If he didn’t lift a finger during the artificially shortened time between releasing the specs to the programmers (AFTER the 2012 election) to find out how it was going, and to talk to some of the folks doing the work to get their opinion, he’s merely a poseur, playing a role as President but not acting as a manager nor an executive.

    The blame is all HIS, with a minority share for the craven media who have never reported to the American people what a lump this guy is as leader of any enterprise other than a class-warfare organization funded by rich leftists.

“STAY ON THIS PAGE’

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ADJUST YOUR SCREEN

WE ARE IN CONTROL”

All of these problems, and the website only sells insurance. Let’s hope that no one needs medical attention.

The failure to enroll is obvious to everyone, what’s really going to be bad is when the enrollment is successful but with the wrong data. Wrong incomes, wrong subsidies, wrong dependents will not be visible to anybody, it won’t even be detected.

Curious to see how Hillary or Dem candidate will spin this.

    sjf_control in reply to Ike1. | October 22, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    That’s easy! He’ll blame it on the republicans for causing the shutdown and sequester. And he’ll probably blame GW, too…

When trying to upgrade my customers to a better product I usually quoted the old but true adage that ” you get what you pay for”. While this is generally true in the private sector, it is never true of the government. I don’t know the actual figure but I have heard that we paid over 500 million for this garbage website. This is more than Amazon has spent worldwide to set up its websites since its inception.
Obama has wasted more money in 5 years than entire continents have wasted in 25 years.
Really people, do you actually think it is wise or prudent to entrust something as important to our well being as health care or health insurance are to the government, to Obama and his cronies?
If you do then I can only assume you are so mentally challenged that you probably do need a keeper to help you with any decisions beyond getting out of bed in the morning.

2nd Ammendment Mother | October 22, 2013 at 10:00 pm

I haven’t seen any answers yet to what happens when the price that was quoted on the front page based on faulty data is different from the actual cost of the policy – once the Insurers have contacted the applicant, verified that they intended to purchase a policy and input the correct data and properly calculated subsidy?

If Apple told Joe Schmoe that his iPhone would cost $200 on his receipt and then billed him $400 when they delivered it, it would be called fraud, racketeering and deceptive trade practices and involve jail time.

Silver Lining: The Obama administration is finally learning how to commit their massive blunders without killing people.

SMART POWER. FORWARD.

I think Ted Cruz is playing chess and little boy blue Barry Soetero is playing checkers again. I think Cruz got wind of the sorry state of affairs with the site and played Soetero’s massive ego in a way that he knew would force little Barry to plow forward no matter what. Now the site and the whole program is like a burning tire around Soetero’s neck. Sorry for the lynching imagry there, but the Dems say it is OK.

    Estragon in reply to Paul. | October 23, 2013 at 1:05 am

    Sorry, but if Cruz hadn’t diverted attention from Obama’s embarrassing failures in the Middle East for three weeks, then the ACA fiasco would have been the top story from Day One of the rollout.

    Cruz only gave Obama a break, the law was always his and embraced by him and Democrats without a single Republican vote – before Cruz even got to Washington.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Estragon. | October 23, 2013 at 11:55 am

      You are neither sorry nor correct. The idea that this country, its citizens, and its media may focus on one and only one issue at a time is ludicrous. Necessary to your false premise, but ludicrous.

      If you possess this limitation of intellectual focus, do not project it onto others. We are not bound by your limitations.

Typical leftists, the Obama regime is comprised only 22% appointees with any private experience at all, the lowest in nearly a century. They come from academics, government work, advocacy groups and other political activists instead.

The typical leftist idea is that a group of experts can design a system better than the result of free individuals making their free choices in a free market. So far, this concept has been tried in thousands of instances in a hundred or so countries all over the world over the last century or so, and has never ever worked out. Naturally, leftists feel this is because they were all underfunded.

How long before the ObamaCare site gets hacked? If Anonymous really was about the little guy, it would have already happened. Keep the site down until Congress and staff agree to live under the same laws they foist on the rest of us.

    Phillep Harding in reply to Fen. | October 23, 2013 at 11:34 am

    How long would it take for them to determine it was down because it was hacked? From what I’m hearing, it was a kludge from day one.

[…] are sorry, the contracted doctors hired to do your surgery don’t know what they are doing so we are hiring new ones. […]

Shouldn’t Obama get credit for helping Canada improve their economy? He spent $600 million with a Canadian company to create the software for Obamacare that does’t work? I wonder how much more money will be spent with that same company. Who are the principals there; George Soros?

Does the lower half of that circular graphic on the left side of that screen resemble a pair of toe tags to anyone else?

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