Obamacrats on Obamacare: Good Enough for Government Work

 

Two months after the launch of the Obamacare federal online health insurance exchange, it still isn’t fixed. Let’s be clear about that. Team Tech Surge may well be “operating with private sector velocity and effectiveness,” but that is really, really beside the point — unless of course your goal merely is to buck up shaky liberals. From the WSJ:

Federal officials said they had largely succeeded in repairing parts of the site that had most snarled users in the two months since its troubled launch, but acknowledged they only had begun to make headway on the biggest underlying problems: the system’s ability to verify users’ identities and accurately transmit enrollment data to insurers.

It’s like that Seinfeld episode where a frustrated Jerry is dealing with a rental car agent: “See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to hold the reservation and that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.” Yes, selecting a plan on the site is important, but it’s all for nothing if the government can’t properly and accurately transmit enrollment data to insurers.

But there are also questions if the consumer access is really working so well. As Phil Klein explains:

For instance, an HHS chart – which Zients boasted about – shows system uptime now at 95.1 percent (excluding scheduled maintenance), which compares to 42.9 percent a month ago. But, the industry standard is for websites to be available for users 99.9 percent of the time. Anything below that is considered a failure and 95.1 percent is a disaster. …

A 95.1 percent uptime means that over the course of a year, a website would be down for about 18 days. Alternatively, imagine what a disaster it would be for sales if, during the holiday shopping season, Amazon’s website were down for about a day and a half, excluding scheduled maintenance.

Another goal that the administration had offered was to make it possible for 80 percent of those intending to sign up for insurance to get through the entire application process.

On the call, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid spokeswoman Julie Bataille was a bit vague about whether that goal had been met. … “Today, we’re now more in the zone of about 80 percent of users being able to do that same process successfully,” she said.

What does “in the zone of about” mean? Furthermore, she emphasized that not all Americans will feel comfortable signing up by the website, and could seek help by phone or in person. That suggests that the vague 80 percent number includes all forms of signing up for insurance, not just through the website.

And once again, comparing it to the private sector, imagine if one out of every five people trying to buy airplane tickets on Orbitz could not do so.

But, hey, that’s the private sector. Obamacare is working well enough — at least for government work. Or at least if your goal is the program’s survival until its 2nd birthday rather than meeting White House promises about health reform.

There are 8 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Profile Photo Member
    @CuriousKevmo

    Funny.  We shoot for, and routinely achieve, 99.99 percent including scheduled maintenance.  We don’t take our sites down for maintenance, nor does Amazon or any other big retailer that I’m aware of.

    The “operating with private sector velocity and effectiveness” is an awesome quote.  We should be shouting that over the rooftops at every chance.  T-shirts, bumper stickers, you name it.  A tacit admission from the libs that government is relatively ineffective.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    @JMaestro

    ACA has very clearly crossed the line between “binding law” and “cruel hoax.” It was legislated with much pomp and fanfare — lots of majesty for keeping the subjects in awe and in compliance. But in operation ACA is a joke, unworkable, and very visibly ridiculous.

    At what point will Americans, en masse, flip the collective bird and tell their rulers to pound sand, we’re ignoring your rules and ignoring your fines?

    Better yet, is there no red state adventurous enough to pass legislation enabling alternate insurance products, for sale nationwide, forget the exchanges, to hell with federal law? (How’s that for flipping the bird.)

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @DanHanson

    The real crime here isn’t the uptime, though.  The crime is that they focused on consumer response times instead of ensuring that the back-end systems work.  This was a political decision – not one based on engineering best practices.   They had to make it look good for the public.

    Unfortunately, scaling up the front end while leaving the back end riddled with bugs will simply expose more consumers to a dangerous product,  flood insurance companies with bad data they’ll have to sort out, leave people uninsured when they thought they were insured,  lead to fraud and abuse because the identification system doesn’t work, etc.  

    They’re not just failing to live up to industry standard metrics and best practices, they’re failing to live up to basic ethical standards that any business would be held accountable for.   Releasing a product with known major flaws that could lead to people not receiving health care is negligent and would get a private company in deep legal trouble.

    Until the back end is working, what they’ve delivered to the people is little more than a prototype of a health care registration system.  It’s a disgrace.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Member
    @CuriousKevmo

    Tru dat Dan.  I remember thinking at the time (and I may have even posted it here) that they’d better get the back-end working first and work their way toward the front for precisely the reasons you’ve stated.  My hunch is that if they have indeed improved the front end, they will have succeeded in bringing the next wave of bad publicity via sticker shock.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @DanHanson

    First the sticker shock.

    Then the realization that your doctor is no longer in your new ‘network’.  For people currently undergoing treatment, that could literally be a killer.

    Then will come the realization that not enough healthy people signed up.  Either rates will be jacked up again just before the next enrollment period, or the government will have to bail out  the insurance industry.

    Then there will be the people who get fined who thought they had insurance but the insurance wasn’t recorded properly in the IRS systems.

    Then there will be the reports of abuse – people misreporting their income to get subsidies (since the back end isn’t able to check).  I’m waiting for the next James O’Keefe video where he catches some health care ‘navigator’ advising people to do just that.

    Then, once we get to about June or July, employers will start notifying their employees about the changes in their plans due to Obamacare – premiums skyrocketing or coverage being cut dramatically.   And I expect thousands of employers to simply drop health care coverage for their employees because they can no longer afford to do so.

    We’re just seeing the start of this mess.

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @ChrisCampion
    Roberto

    Dan Hanson: The crime is that they focused on consumer response times instead of ensuring that the back-end systems work. 

    Even this long after the initial roll out basic infosec 101 issues are not being addressed:

    Please note that TrustedSec performed no form of hacking, just passive analysis of the healthcare.gov website. One exposure identified is the ability to perform an open redirect, there are multiple open redirects still vulnerable on the healthcare.gov website and supporting sub-sites…Below is an example of going to the link and it redirecting to a malicious website that hacks the computer and takes complete control over it.

    Additionally, TrustedSec identified the ability to enumerate user information (first, last, email, userid, profile, etc.) through one of the sub-sites that directly integrates into the healthcare.gov website. 

    I have no idea what any of that means, but it sounds really bad.  Like putting Harry Reid in charge of a Senate.  Like it’s that bad.

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @ChrisCampion
    Dan Hanson: Then, once we get to about June or July, employers will start notifying their employees about the changes in their plans due to Obamacare – premiums skyrocketing or coverage being cut dramatically.   And I expect thousands of employers to simply drop health care coverage for their employees because they can no longer afford to do so.

    We’re just seeing the start of this mess. · 1 hour ago

    This is exactly what our HR department said in the company I was working in a year ago.  They said that the cost of the new insurance with additional requirements will basically force the company to drop coverage altogether – and this is a Fortune 100 company.

    So it’s been long known that the plan is to make insurance so expensive as to shunt employer-provided recipients onto BarryCare, because they won’t have a choice – and then everyone’s in the same rotting, fetid, stinking pool of garbage provided to you by every Democrat in Congress.

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Member
    @Roberto
    Dan Hanson: The crime is that they focused on consumer response times instead of ensuring that the back-end systems work. 

    I would say an even worse crime than that was the complete neglect of security concerns in the SDLC of this project. As matters currently stand everyone should be incredibly thankful at how difficult it is to enroll, this project is nothing more than a massive honey pot servicing criminals seeking credentials for identity theft or those seeking machines for botnets.  

    Even this long after the initial roll out basic infosec 101 issues are not being addressed:

    Please note that TrustedSec performed no form of hacking, just passive analysis of the healthcare.gov website. One exposure identified is the ability to perform an open redirect, there are multiple open redirects still vulnerable on the healthcare.gov website and supporting sub-sites…Below is an example of going to the link and it redirecting to a malicious website that hacks the computer and takes complete control over it.

    Additionally, TrustedSec identified the ability to enumerate user information (first, last, email, userid, profile, etc.) through one of the sub-sites that directly integrates into the healthcare.gov website. 

    • #8

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.