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The "tech surge" is coming to fix Healthcare.gov


@patriciaborns  The Obama administration promised Sunday to enlist experts both inside and outside the government to solve the problems that have crippled healthcare.gov and caused consumers frustration as they attempt to shop for coverage, Kaiser Health news reports. But some federal contractors worry the system may be weeks away from operating smoothly.

An inside look at the fix-it team's progress comes from the New York Times, which reported, "Federal contractors have identified most of the main problems crippling President Obama’s online health insurance marketplace,"

But, asked if the problems could be fixed by Nov. 1, contractors appeared to think not.Some specialists told NYT they thought the redevelopment work was extensive enough to continue beyond Dec. 15, the date people need to sign up for coverage in order to have it be effective on January 1.

When the original Healthcare.gov project was defined, some 48 companies were contracted to help built it, according to the Government Accountability Office. But instead of hiring an outside company to overlook and integrate their work, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid decided to do it themselves.

The role of systems integrator functions somehwat like a construction manager on a building project, managing all the subs on the job. At least one contractor implied CSS is to blame for the system's problems, due to its lack of bench strength to perform the sytem integration role.  

One of Healthcare.gov's problems, greater perhaps than the code itself, is the outside pressure it will receive moving forward to the next Obamacare milestone date of Dec. 15. Software development inside  companies is private and secretive for good reasons, including protecting the project from otuside pressures. Healthcare.gov will face pressure from GOP leaders seeking to use it as a predictor of Obamacare's failure, pressure from contractors to move jobs and funds their way, and pressure from a public anxious for a solution.  

Under the circumstances, throwing more bodies and money at the problem may or may not be effective, but it offers the reassuring feeling that something's being done. Read the story.


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