The administration has set a deadline for fixing Healthcare.gov, the buggy federal website where Americans are supposed to purchase health insurance. "By the end of November, HealthCare.gov will work smoothly for the vast majority of users," Jeffrey Zients, who has been put in charge of the effort, said Friday on a call with reporters. "The HealthCare.gov site is fixable. It will take a lot of work, and there are a lot of problems that need to be addressed."
The website has been plagued by technical issues, preventing users from creating accounts and resulting in errors on completed applications. Dozens of companies and hundreds of workers have been fixing parts of the site since it launched on October 1st, and things are getting slightly better: 90 percent of users can now at least create an account, Zients says.
QSSI, one of the primary contractors that built the website, has been appointed to manage the debugging process. During a Congressional hearing, QSSI testified that it had tried to warn the administration of problems before the website launched, but was ignored. This is a black eye for CGI Federal, the company that won the largest contract for building the site.
Good news: 90 percent of users can at least create an account
This is all part of President Barack Obama's promised "tech surge," which is adding manpower to an already-bloated project. There is intense pressure to get the site fixed fast. Uninsured Americans must get health insurance by December 15 in order to avoid a penalty fee under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the open enrollment period ends in March.
In the meantime, new problems with the website continue to be discovered. Mother Jones reported this morning that a vulnerability in the site could make it easy for hackers to grab Social Security numbers and other sensitive information
Update: The administration is now saying some of the ACA deadlines will be changed, according to MarketWatch.