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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs