Obamacare Website ‘Tech Surge’ Will Get Assist From Verizon [Report]

The glitch-filled Obamacare healthcare.gov website will reportedly get help from Verizon as part of the so-called tech surge to rid the portal of bugs and implement software repairs.

In a Rose Garden photo op today (where a woman almost fainted), President Obama acknowledged that the health insurance marketplace site had a lot of problems. He used the term tech surge to describe how some of the the best IT talent in the country will be pitching in to help. That same terminology appeared on the the US Health and Human Services website, which also indicated on Sunday that “Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov.”

According to USA Today, Verizon will be part of the tech surge: “An informed source in the telecommunications industry said Verizon’s Enterprise Solutions division has been asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to improve the performance of the HealthCare.gov site, which is a key component of the Affordable Care Act. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made official.”

The Wall Street Journal suggests that the problems with healthcare.gov could run deeper than just the difficulty in the consumer registration process: “… the administration has been making some progress resolving front-end problems with the site but as it does so, is finding more problems cropping up down the line, including error-riddled enrollment data being passed along to insurers at the final stage in the site from the trickle of consumers who have got that far to date.”

The New York Times also weighed on on the magnitude of the flaws in helathcare.gov: “Administration officials approached the contractors last week to see if they could perform the necessary repairs and reboot the system by Nov. 1. However, that goal struck many contractors as unrealistic, at least for major components of the system. Some specialists working on the project said the online system required such extensive repairs that it might not operate smoothly until after the Dec. 15 deadline for people to sign up for coverage starting in January, although that view is not universally shared. In interviews, experts said the technological problems of the site went far beyond the roadblocks to creating accounts that continue to prevent legions of users from even registering. Indeed, several said, the login problems, though vexing to consumers, may be the easiest to solve. One specialist said that as many as five million lines of software code may need to be rewritten before the Web site runs properly.”

Several published accounts have suggested that the site has crashed because the Obama administration wanted to hide the actual costs of premiums and thereby avoid consumer rate shock.

Consumer Reports has recommended that individuals stay away from healthcare.gov for at least another month. “Hopefully that will be long enough for its software vendors to clean up the mess they’ve made.”

Next Media Animation, the prolific Taiwan CGI studio that creates irreverent news videos, offered its satirical take on the healthcare.gov rollout: