The glitch-filled Obamacare healthcare.gov website reportedly cost US taxpayers somewhere in the neighborhood of at least $500 million. The healthcare exchange/marketplace enrollment site was taken down during off-peak hours last weekend for repairs.
Earlier this week, the White House said it was “adding server capacity and making software changes to make the system more efficient,” Reuters reports.
The Daily Mail claims 51,000 people completed Obamacare applications since the site went live last Tuesday, but there has been no official tally released by the government.
The Digital Trends website, which crunched the complicated, murky government numbers to come up with the Obamacare price tag, summarized the situation as follows:
“The site itself, which apparently underwent major code renovations over the weekend, still rejects user logins, fails to load drop-down menus and other crucial components for users that successfully gain entrance, and otherwise prevents uninsured Americans in the 36 states it serves from purchasing healthcare at competitive rates — Healthcare.gov’s primary purpose… The reason for this nationwide headache apparently stems from poorly written code, which buckled under the heavy influx of traffic that its engineers and administrators should have seen coming. But the fact that Healthcare.gov can’t do the one job it was built to do isn’t the most infuriating part of this debacle -– it’s that we, the taxpayers, seem to have forked up more than $500 million of the federal purse to build the digital equivalent of a rock.”
According to a report in Slate, the larger failure of the site may have been a consequence of two different contractors developing healthcare.gov and “Coordination between them appears to have been nonexistent.”
“Anyone in software engineering will tell you that cross-group coordination is one of the hardest things to get right, and also one of the most crucial, because while programmers are great at testing their own code, testing that their code works with everybody else’s code is much more difficult.”
In discussing the healthcare.gov rollout, the Silicon ANGLE blog contends that “This is really playing out as a clinic in how not to launch a major website project, failing in every respect across the board, from planning, to the communications, to testing and everything in between.”
Did you try to enroll in a health insurance plan through healthcare.gov? If so, what was the experience like for you?