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.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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 Healthcare.gov, 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 Healthcare.gov and Medicare.gov.

    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.

    Healthcare.gov 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
    Lorky,
    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.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora