News / USA

Tech Executives Blame US Officials for Insurance Site Problems

Andrew Slavitt, group executive vice president for Optum/QSSI testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Washington, Oct. 24, 2013.
Andrew Slavitt, group executive vice president for Optum/QSSI testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Washington, Oct. 24, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says officials are working around the clock to make the government's health insurance website better.

Speaking Thursday at a call center in Phoenix that is to help people enroll for coverage, Sebelius said nobody has been fired for technical glitches. She said a lot of the problems were caused by a surge in demand.

Earlier, technology contractors blamed health care officials in the Obama administration for the website problems that have left millions of uninsured Americans staring at computers showing error messages.  

At a congressional hearing, contractor Andrew Slavitt of QSSI said his company shared its concerns with government officials about the website before its October 1 opening.   He it was particularly troublesome that government officials made late decisions about how people could browse for health care policies.

A spokeswoman for the government agency in charge of the website's design (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) told reporters, “The system just was not tested enough, especially for high volumes.”

The spokeswoman said about 700,000 applications have been submitted through new exchanges created by the new health care program called the Affordable Care Act.

The hearing Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee was highly politicized.  Republicans opposed to the law, popularly known as Obamacare, called its launch a disaster.

The panel's chairman, Michigan Congressman Fred Upton, accused government officials of withholding information about the website's failures.

"We still do not know the real picture. The administration appears allergic to transparency and continues to withhold enrollment figures," said Upton.

Democrats on the House committee said many people are successfully buying insurance, but they, too, complained about the website problems.

Seven Senate Democrats said they want the White House to postpone parts of the law while contractors and the government work out the kinks.
In a radio interview (KNPR), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said, "... the administration should have known how difficult it was going to be to have 35 million or 40 million people to suddenly hook up to a place to go on the Internet."

President Barack Obama has called in key private and government technology experts to try to fix the health insurance portal.

Sebelius is to testify to Congress next week about the website failures and efforts to correct them.

Under the new law, people without private health insurance can sign up for government subsidized insurance.  Those who choose not to buy any insurance will have to pay a fine.

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Comment Sorting
by: Scum CIA from: D.C.
October 25, 2013 1:22 AM
A software company funded by the Central Intelligence Agency is managing data on, the Obamacare insurance exchange website.The CIA spies on the American people.

In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm, invested heavily into Socrata, the software company who provides data collection and management for and

Through a press release, Socrata announced a “strategic investment and technology development agreement with In-Q-Tel (IQT), the independent strategic investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the U.S. Intelligence Community.”

“Under the agreement, IQT will make a strategic investment in Socrata,” the press release states. “The two entities will work together to further develop Socrata’s data consumerization platform for internal business analysts in data-rich organizations.”

“Users of Socrata’s technologies can transform raw data from multiple sources into more sophisticated and useful resources.”

In other words, Socrata will work with the CIA and other intelligence agencies to transform raw data into a format easily utilized and accessible to the intelligence community.

The CIA’s interest in Socrata is crystal clear considering that the Department of Health and Human Services is establishing a centralized Federal Data Services Hub, a comprehensive database of Americans’ private information made available to multiple federal entities. captures the personal data provided during the Obamacare enrollment process for this spy grid database.

In-Q-Tel has been investing in firms developing data mining technologies for years.

In the early 2000s, In-Q-Tel invested in Keyhole Inc., the company that developed 3D “flyby” images of buildings and terrain from geospatial data collected by satellites.

Google later purchased Keyhole in 2004 and rolled its technology into Google Earth.

Around the same time, the Director of Technology Assessment at In-Q-Tel, Rob Painter, left his position to become the Senior Federal Manager at Google.

A former CIA case officer, Robert Steele, said that Google is “in bed with” the CIA.

Facebook also received funding through Accel Partners, a venture capital firm with ties to In-Q-Tel and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

We now live in the FSA, the FASCIST STATES OF AMERICA.

by: not Lorky from: DC
October 24, 2013 2:06 PM
Since you clearly want everyone to know your a developer, let's try this analogy...
You and your team develop an app for months. In the months leading up to the release of the app, your team informs the client that the app is not ready and needs more testing and debugging. The client ignores the comment and continues to tell it's end users that the amazing app will be available for use as planned. The day comes and the app is released. Within minutes, it's down because the app had not been developed for the obvious traffic levels that were going to hit it. In addition, the app continues to have major and minor problems for almost a month, in many cases making it useless to the end user. The end users are pissed because the app didn't help them to do the main things they were told it would. The client is pissed because they don't like all the complaints they're getting from the end users. I'm assuming you'd be pissed because you tried to warn the client that it wasn't ready.
I know you don't think politics had anything to do with this, but think again, and you'll realize it did...
In Response

by: Lorky
October 24, 2013 2:39 PM
The scenario you just described sounds like every project I've ever worked on.

I'm just saying a buggy, rushed release (despite what developers say) isn't some kind of anomaly.

by: Jerry from: Missouri
October 24, 2013 11:29 AM
Typical, Obama refuses to listen to reason. Republicans asked him to delay this rollout. His arrogance, would never bow down to reason. Now we have a nightmare on our hands, Very typical of his entire presidency. He could sure use a lesson in humility, and this just might be the thing he needs to learn it.
In Response

by: Lorky
October 24, 2013 12:30 PM
As an application developer, I don't think this issue has much of anything to do with politics, but rather has to do with the process of software deployment. You can spend months hammering out bugs in a test environment, but you're never able to simulate the production environment until you're actually there. People are jumping the gun and calling the program a failure because of software technicalities, but typically software takes months to hammer out once in production.

I refuse to judge the effectiveness of the software until I see how it works after a few months. I'd advise everyone to be patient and thoughtful.

by: Scott from: Warsaw, IN
October 24, 2013 8:55 AM
typical of Congress to debate about something that will eventually work it's glitches out, instead of moving forward. Here's a thought, get started on the budget before the February deadline you morons, instead of putting it off until the week before. A balanced one would be nice, I know I have to balance my budget every month.
In Response

by: Lorky
October 24, 2013 12:33 PM
Exactly! As an application developer, I agree that most bugs take time to hammer out after software is deployed into a production environment. It definitely should not be a political priority.

by: arthurpkaske from: Missoula Montana
October 24, 2013 8:11 AM
Why would anyone buy a new car that won't start?
In Response

by: Lorky
October 24, 2013 12:42 PM
Who would want a child who can't talk? Was my question relevant? No. Neither was yours. You're talking about completely separate instances of technology. Creating a car and creating software are amazingly different. You can't simulate an unpredictable production environment when testing a car. Not to mention that cars fail millions of times a year, resulting in death. Please don't continue to make use of this analogy. It's not a very good one.

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