Obama dubs Healthcare.gov glitches 'unacceptable'; calls in tech support

Healthcare.gov hasn't seen the greatest start. Now the Obama administration is bringing in an elite team of technical experts to crush some of the site's biggest bugs.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Image: ZDNet

The Obama administration said Sunday it has called in technical experts to help squash some of the biggest glitches and snafus experienced by millions of Americans with the new Healthcare.gov website.

Experts will be scrambled in to rewrite parts of the site's code and underlying infrastructure which has dogged the site, created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (dubbed "Obamacare").

The site, which launched on October 1, has been plagued by flaws and defects that have left many unable to access the online health insurance marketplace or subscribe to a medical plan.

In a blog post published Sunday, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) said many had suffered a "frustrating" experience, while others had "received confusing error messages."

"We are committed to doing better," the post read. 

President Obama is expected to speak in the late morning at a White House event to call the site's problems "unacceptable." It comes amid mixed messages from the administration, which has on the most part up until now remained mum on the problems, or what HHS will actively do about it.

The "tech surge," as described by the HHS blog post, will see "some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team" in efforts to improve the site. 

The department said it will prioritize and fix problems based on aggressive monitoring of the site, which has seen 19 million unique visits to the site since it first launched.

"We are also defining new test processes to prevent new issues from cropping up as we improve the overall service and deploying fixes to the site during off-peak hours on a regular basis," the post read.

Though many of the problems have been on the back-end of the site, many on the public site have and continue to experience issues that highlight the state of affairs of the site's infrastructure. Aside from feeding back details of health plans and medical coverage, the site also passes data to and from insurers. 

But in many cases, this data is erroneous and as a result serving incorrect responses to applicants.

Healthcare.gov will close its doors for registration on December 15 for the deadline for 2014 enrollment. Close to half a million Americans have applied for insurance through the federal and state exchanges under the healthcare act. 

(via Reuters)

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