“Healthcare.gov is fixable,” Obamacare fixer Jeffrey Zients told reporters Friday afternoon after completing a problem assessment with a team of private industry managers and programmers. Zients, the Obama administration's former acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, went to work on Healthcare.gov on Monday.
Zients and his team found performance problems related to the system’s ability to handle requests at high volume and functional problems caused by bugs in the code.
From the Oct. 1 launch of the healthcare site when very few people could create an account, “We’re now at over 90 percent who can create an account,” he said.
But that hasn’t helped the seven out of 10 people who have been able to continue with the process to complete an application, including this Florida Healthwatch reporter.
Zients said the system will get “faster and smoother” over time. “By the end of November, Healthcare.gov will work smoothly for the vast majority of users,” he said.
The date is more aggressive than the Dec. 15 target that contractors at Thursday's House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing gave for resolving the site’s problems.
Zients’s statements signaled a change both in how the Obama Administration is handling its contractors, and how it’s handling the press that it previously stonewalled.
Healthcare.gov contractors will be working on a punch list of “dozens” of fixes. Few details were offered, but among the top priorities is a problem insurance companies are having with the forms they are getting from the website, showing garbled information.
Zients also announced that one of Healthcare.gov’s major contractors, QSSI, has been hired to act as “general lead contractor” on the project. While CGI Federal was the website’s lead developer of the federal site, QSSI designed a hub that verifies applicants' personal information and income details. Zeits said QSSI's part of the site is working as designed.