Obama Administration: ‘We Have Met the Goal’ of Fixing Website

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Kristoffer Tripplaar / Sipa Press / Getty Images

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Tribal Nations Conference held at the Department of Interior Building in Washington on Nov. 13, 2013

When a White House faces a political crisis, one of the first decisions presidential aides must make is when to get its side of the story out. Too early, and the Administration comes off as evasive or dislocated from the issue. Too late, and the narrative becomes too ingrained in the American psyche to change. In the two months since the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges launched, the Obama White House has struggled to balance the two priorities, but not any longer.

“While we strive to innovate and improve our outreach and systems for reaching consumers,” representatives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wrote in a report released early on Sunday, “we believe we have met the goal of having a system that will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.”

After weeks of denying interviews and doling out small, minute bites of information, the White House is pulling back the curtain to give reporters their take on how the Obamacare website failed so spectacularly — and most important for them, the steps they are taking to fix it. The Administration is now cooperating on the spate of “ticktocks” and profiles detailing previously undisclosed efforts to fix the law. The New York Times was given access to the HealthCare.gov “war room.” The Times and the Associated Press took “strolls” with chief of staff Denis McDonough around the South Lawn of the White House.

“Bottom line: HealthCare.gov on Dec. 1 is night and day from where it was on Oct. 1,” said Jeff Zients, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget and future Obama economic aide, who was brought in to manage the salvage of the website, on a conference call with reporters.

The Administration’s push comes as its “end of November” deadline for fixing the troubled website expired, and the results are mixed. According to CMS, which runs the website, error rates and response times have been significantly reduced, while capacity has been increased to handle 50,000 concurrent visitors and 800,000 visitors per day. More than 400 software fixes have been made as “private-sector velocity” in the parlance of the Administration. But it is still a work in progress, even as the Administration claims they’ve met their goal of having the site work for 80% of users. Core functionality of the site still needs to be built in the coming months, and it is far from a completely stable platform. The site still suffers from long periods of planned downtime as engineers install and test software patches, and hundreds of fixes still need to be made.

On Friday, America’s Health Insurance Plans president and CEO Karen Ignagni released a statement saying that while the website is getting better, insurers still have concerns.

“Until the enrollment process is working from end to end, many consumers will not be able to enroll in coverage,” she said. “In addition to fixing the technical problems with HealthCare.gov, the significant ‘back-end’ issues must also be resolved to ensure that coverage can begin on Jan. 1, 2014. In particular, the ongoing problems with processing ‘834’ enrollment files need to be fixed.”

Indeed, as the deadline approached, the Administration appeared to dial back on its pledge, explaining that for some people, the website will never work: those who still suffer technical issues, those who aren’t sufficiently financially or technically literate to navigate the site alone, and those with complicated personal situations that will need one-on-one assistance over the phone or in person.

As frustrated Democrats turn their sights on the law, and Republicans gleefully attack the Administration’s management failures, the fact that they can’t point to a complete success will undoubtedly complicate the White House’s political task in the weeks and months ahead. “That will be an annoyance,” a senior White House official told TIME last month, who added it will be a “distraction.” “I can just tell you what Twitter will say on Dec. 1,” the official added. “Some person will have a problem and will be on the Today show the next day. That’s going to happen. And that is not a problem you can manage for.”

Here’s the full CMS report on the website fixes:

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79 comments
valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

IN CAPS ...FOR THE ELDERLY......DEFEND THE WEAK.....KNIGHT TEMPLARS


OBAMA IS AN EXCELLENT STUDENT OF JOSEPH GOEBBELS......THE NAZI PROPAGANDA CHIEF OF HITLER.....


REPEAT THE LIE .....MANY TIMES......LIKE BARRY O IS DOING....AND THE MONKEY PEOPLE WILL SOON ACCEPT IT AS REAL.


VALENTINE, COMEDIAN....LOL....

BFarmer1980
BFarmer1980

Well, prior to this week, I could at least login.  Now, I'm stuck in a loop and unable to do so.  But, yeah, it's fixed...and my identity verification hasn't been pending for two months, either...

oldwhiteguy
oldwhiteguy

Okay, the intro was botched. But a large amount of the culpability for the screw up comes from the insurance companies themselves, not to mention the right wing governors playing to their red state bases. But here's the important thing to remember. While it's true that only about 100,000 people have signed up, over 17 million kids with pre-existing conditions can never be excluded from being covered. 105 million Americans can't be thrown off their policies due to lifetime caps. And health care costs in general have been challenged to come down - and they are. Let's also mention the 8.5 million Americans (I'm one of them) who got rebate checks because their insurance carriers were spending too much on executive bonuses and salaries and not enough on actual healthcare. This law is needed and wanted. And we're not turning back, in spite of the right-wing propaganda. Can this law be made better? Absolutely. But only by people who deal in truth, not self-serving fiction. Apparently that would exclude mopes like Rick Santorum.

paulejb
paulejb

"Sebelius: Behold the power of our dramatically improved web portal, or something"

'Here’s Maggie Gallagher explaining the “dramatically improved” user experience:'

"It is better. It takes a lot longer until you reach the dreaded 404 message. Figuring out whether the plan I buy allows me to keep my doctor has been remarkably difficult. You hit “provider directory” and get sent to the insurance company’s website, making connecting up the plan with the doctor not particularly easy.

And then you hit the 404 message."

http://hotair.com/archives/2013/12/02/sebelius-behold-the-power-of-our-dramatically-improved-web-portal-or-something/

paulejb
paulejb

"Despite recent progress at HealthCare.gov, a raft of problems will remain beyond the Obama administration's Saturday deadline to make the troubled federal insurance website work.

The news isn't all bad: Users say the site looks better, pages load faster, and more people are getting through to sign up for health plans.

But technical problems still affect HealthCare.gov's ability to verify users' identities and transmit accurate enrollment data to insurers, officials say. The data center that supports the site faces continuing challenges, and tools for processing payments to insurers haven't been built."

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303332904579228413800602836

Well, at least the site looks better. Of course, embalmers make corpses look better, too.

AsokSmith
AsokSmith

Of COURSE the White House has announced that healthcare.gov is now working! Not in your wildest dreams would you have expected this pack of liars to do anything other than declare victory. To quote the administration on this historic accomplishment: "Due to the heroic efforts of the heroes working 24x7 in our glorious tractor factories, our heroic heroes have assured that the heroic peasants on the steppes have received enough glorious tractors to harvest the Motherland's bounteous potato crop before it rots in the fields and ruins our glorious five year plan quotas!"

parksj1
parksj1

It's not only NOT fixed...it's actually worse than before in my experience.  For several weeks I could log in, but couldn't apply or enroll.  Then, two weeks ago it stopped letting me log in.  Today I created two more logins with different email addresses, but none of them work.  Now, it won't even let me pull up the log in page.  This is a complete joke.

ChandraPanchabhikesan
ChandraPanchabhikesan

The President should be credited for trying to deliver a comprehensive health-care system. As the glitches are ironed out, patience should be shown. Of course the  Republicans will be pleased as Punch when Obama's initiatives suffer a set-back. But never discount the President's determination to find a health system that works for all Americans.  Give him the credit for trying.

Pancha Chandra Brussels   

Fastgirl
Fastgirl

People's real life experiences trump Obama's propaganda everytime. Many people are still having problems accessing the OBAMACARE website this morning. Fixed? I guess Obama has a different meaning of fixed than most Americans.

barneydidit
barneydidit

Went to the gym this morning, as usual Fox Noise was on one of the monitors and the entire time I was on the stairmaster (a pathetic 15 minutes but that's another issue), I had to watch a round table of Fox pundits parse every word that's come out of Obama's mouth regarding the ACA- What does "fixed" really mean?...What does "benefited from the ACA" really mean...etc. 

The twisted irony of that whole scenario is that those very same pundits were a year and a half ago letting Romney, Ryan, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum et al get away with telling us time and time again that their plans to slash spending consisted solely of vague, ill- defined soundbites such as "trim the fat". Or that they would fix healthcare by "increasing competition". If I hadn't heard Fox News describe themselves as "Fair and Balanced", I'd almost think they were guilty of a double standard. 

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

Oh, no.  Now the GOTP will have to find something else to whine about.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

As if it will solve the problems. This is the least of their worries. The website will be fixed everybody had already agreed on that.  This is the the most advanced technological country in the world. It is when a President blatantly lies and fools his own people about keeping their insurance plans, no increase in premiums, no change of their doctors period. It is when companies start chucking their employees because they cannot afford their insurance, cut their hours and their salaries and start cutting the labor force. 

A_Pierse
A_Pierse

Only minutes after the White House announced the Obamacare website is up and running, a CNN hot mic picked up Obama and Biden cracking jokes about the new health care law. Oops! http://goo.gl/Dqnhbx

grape_crush
grape_crush

> "The site still suffers from long periods of planned downtime as engineers install and test software patches, and hundreds of fixes still need to be made."

This isn't anything out of the ordinary for large online applications that have to integrate with numerous backend systems. And planned downtime is not a bad thing...it's the unplanned downtime that's very, very bad.

> ...insurers still have concerns...

I'm sure that part of the mess on the backend is due to having to fit a standard set of information collected by the Federal site into hundreds of different tables, all with varying data specifications, present on the insurers' side.

If that's true, it was a mistake trying to make that integration happen. Should have just sent orgs like Blue Cross a file (encrypted xml or delimited), for them to figure out how add to their own system. And insurers can't complain too much, considering how the federal government is the nation's largest insurance agent.

> "Some person will have a problem and will be on the Today show the next day. That’s going to happen. And that is not a problem you can manage for.”

Yep. There's always going to be people who don't have a great experience when doing something online. I've had checkout from Amazon go haywire, the LiveFyre commenting application here is barely or non-functional in some browsers, and resetting my kid's Xbox account password was a trial. The difference between those and the Healthcare.gov site is that there isn't a political party - with no better ideas themselves - actively fomenting outrage in an attempt to undermine a law that allows sick people to go see a doctor.

RicardoRivera
RicardoRivera

Good to see some people work on solution. It will take at least one more month to have it at 100%..

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

Grading the Healthcare.gov roll out;

Oct. 1 - F---

Dec. 1 - D-

An improvement for sure.  But with the significantly watered down goal of "...of having a system that will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.” it simply isn't enough.  Especially when one considers the fact that the government had years to prepare for that original roll out date.

This is what I want to see;  First, continue to fix the site and get it up an running properly.  Second, find out exactly how this process was so mismanaged and hold accountable those individuals and/or companies responsible.  Third, revise, repeal or replace the ACA.  In that order.

EthanHunter
EthanHunter

Yeah, whatever, commander in chief.....

RohintonIrani
RohintonIrani

It's ALIVE !....It's ALIVE !


By George....It FINNALY Works !

Well republicans....what are Ya gonna COMPLAIN about now ?....The Weather ! ?

I know....being The Good EVIL War Mongers that YOU ARE !

Crank Up your Propaganda Machine : False  News,and Start LYING about How Iran is Secretly Plotting to NOT Honor It's 6 Month Agreement with Us,and the E.U. !

And when that LIE Fails ?....Oh I don't know I'm Sure YOU EVIL S.O.B.'s will Think up ANOTHER LIE to Try to Run out The Clock on Pres. Obama's Term.

barneydidit
barneydidit

@AsokSmith Oh I get it...because he's a Marxist....right? Because using the free market system of private health insurance companies is....Marxist...right?

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@Fastgirl One thing the Idiot has to fixed most urgently is his propensity to lie and fool people. The website will be fixed. This country did not send men to space because it is technologically challenged. It is the moral depravity of the fraud calling himself Commander in Chief that cannot be fixed.

Soulice
Soulice

@barneydidit  - I can't stand Fox news...but since they are one of the few reporting non-left leaning items...you get what you get.  That being said, they did just recently break 54% of Americans trust their ACA and other coverage in multiple left leaning polls.  

Soulice
Soulice

@Hollywooddeed  - not really.   Obama magazine, er, I mean Time magazine is feeding things.   You can not go from 60% complete AND 1000's of bugs and errors in a back log of fixes to "clean bill of health" in 30 days....not possible.  Just not possible.   

DavidStrayer
DavidStrayer

@ReneDemonteverde 

How about when a President lies, Vice President lies, gets the country into a war on the basis of fabricated and falsified evidence, gets 4500 Americans killed, tens of thousands maimed for life, untold other country's citizens killed and maimed?

How about when, after an attack on the country perpetrated from one particular country in south Asia, he launches a war against that country, but then fails to get the perpetrators of the attack because of bungled military tactics and then diverts most of the military effort to a country that had nothing to do with the attack and didn't threaten U.S. security at all?

How about when, as  consequence of that criminal hostile action having removed a regime from power, the Administration thereby empowered an extremely hostile regime that began uranium enrichment that it could never have attempted if its natural enemy were still sitting in its borders with a huge army?

Give me a break here.  Either you focus on what's important or defer comment.

The Republicans never stopped lying about virtually anything, from their fiscal policy, to the consequences of deregulation (like this massive recession they triggered), to their obstruction of jobs bills, … On top of which, the GOP has NO plan to replace Obamacare.  When the Republicans come up with a realistic plan to cover all Americans' health care, then they can talk.  Until then, they should keep quiet to avoid calling attention to the vacuity of their agenda.

tommyudo
tommyudo

@ReneDemonteverde 


Have you been living in a cave? Years before the ACA was passed employers were cutting hours because they didn't want to provide their employees with full time benefits, like healthcare. The labor force will never be cut, except for situations where automation takes over. In case you don't  realize it, we are a nation of retail clerks - a service economy where people are working longer and harder for less  and less. Wave your little flag on the 4th of July over that.

I'm sure you are one of the types who don't believe in raising the minimum wage either. If people don't have disposable income to buy c**p that they really don't need, then the economy can never thrive. It's Econ 101.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@A_Pierse If it is true. Everybody make up stories now. Left and right. Blue and red. Liberals and conservatives. If true however somebody should release the tapes.

Soulice
Soulice

@grape_crush  -  except they did offer and continued to....but Reid, Pelosi, and Obama would constantly say the ideas would be DOA.  Love how the left leaves that out.   Prior to the shutdown, many ideas were offered including a last minute offer that gave Obama everything he asked for....but a big fat NO came out of Obama and Reid..then the govt shut down.   Lets get all the facts before commenting.  But if you like your current ideas, you can keep them.

bryanfred1
bryanfred1

@grape_crush Your third point may be entirely true, but it doesn't really matter.  Democrats, especially Hillary, long ago perfected the art of presenting anecdotal situations of people who fell through the cracks as indictments of the entire system.  And it works.  So you can bet Republicans will pull a page from the same playbook, with the notable difference that the "exceptions" will be in the millions.

Soulice
Soulice

@RicardoRivera  - so 60% with errors took 3 years, but the other 40 and bugs/errors done in 2 months.   Either they lied, sandbagged, or we got screwed on the invoice.

aztecian
aztecian

@RicardoRivera it is there.  now the winger/baggers are going to have to find something else to politicize. 

tom.litton
tom.litton

@AlphaJuliette What exactly are you going to revise?  

If you want to repeal it, then how do you handle the people that will be left without insurance?  

If you want to replace it then with what?  A single payer system?  If so, how are you going to get the republicans to go along with it?  There wasn't even enough votes for a public option, let alone a public system.  There never was.  What are you going to do in the mean time, or if there is never enough support for a single payer system?

Javalin
Javalin

@RohintonIrani It doesn't work! I have a friend who is still trying to register on the website to this day and hour without success.  He needs coverage badly!  He's frustrated with this whole shenanigan and he's a Democrat!  It doesn't matter who are running the government, Dems or GOP's, they both are screwing up this country and Obamacare is an utter failure.  Obama lied about people being allowed to keep their current insurance coverages. My friend lost his coverage due to cancellation because his insurance company stated that his coverage no longer meets the statue laid out in the Affordable Care Act.  He can't afford to buy their new policies and must rely on healthcare.gov to provide it. Unfortunately, the website isn't working for him and he's been trying for hours today to register. Someone like him shouldn't have to suffer because the government failed on their promise and failed to do their jobs.

reallife
reallife

@RohintonIrani is it working? ok, now the "real" problems of obamacare are going to show up, now you have no excuses - you'll be wishing for that website to go down again

btw - where are the 48 million uninsured? how come they're not signing up? have they been kidnapped? deported maybe? 

LOL



tkd8283
tkd8283

@DavidStrayer @ReneDemonteverde You may want to consider the possibility that there is not a realistic plan to cover all Americans' health care. Scarcity exists. It's a fact of the world. Pretending otherwise will not make reality match the imagination. I was not a fan of Bush's war. I think he made a lot of mistakes. But if I had provided the argument that "Democrats should keep their mouths shut until they can tell me where the WMDs are" it would be a ridiculous stance. 

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@DavidStrayer @ReneDemonteverde I will give you a break. But you have to have an open mind which many liberals do not seem to have. Here are the facts. When Dubya { I am sure he is the one you are referring to} took office, Bill Clinton the outgoing President urge him to take action on Saddams WMDs as the CIA director of Clinton George Tenet verified the existence of the WMDs in Iraq. Clinton had urged Bush to do something about it. Remember the Slam Dunk statement ? When 9/11 happened Bush was thinking that with the existence of the WMDs as a far greater threat if the terrorists get ahold of it with the complicity of Saddam. The CIA furnished a copy of the report to the Senate which includes Democratic Senators like Hillary, John Kerry, Chuck Schumer, Carl Levein who upon reading the report approved the invasion of Iraq. Those are facts. There are still so many things that have happened that caused the Iraq war. But just open your mind before opening your mouth. You seem to be an intelligent and learned man in the picture. Try to keep up with your image.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@tommyudo @ReneDemonteverde You are partially right. They were cutting hours years before but not as much as the economic uncertainty and the anti business practices that Obama is implementing now. You are wrong. Even caves have cable news that brings news up to date now. No problem with raising minimum wage either. But if it causes bigger losses on small businesses in the long run and causes closures and more lay offs what good will it do ? It is called Common Sense 101. By the way why do you think people are working longer and longer for less and less ? Think harder. You  might be able to capture that thought why. 

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@aztecian @RicardoRivera Yeah like wait till the companies start laying of employees or cutting hours and benefits because they cant afford the premiums. That is the best solution for the Dims/libturds to politicize.

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

@Javalin @RohintonIrani 

Wow, looks like someone is cutting and pasting from the "American's for Prosperity" brochures.  Good thing that we have "common folks" like them Koch brothers to look out for their brethren working nine-to-five.

djbhhi
djbhhi

I Am Afraid I Don't Believe You. If Your Friend Is In This Much Need He Or She Would Call The Hotline Number.

bryanfred1
bryanfred1

@aztecian @RohintonIrani Maybe you two missed the paragraph about "core functionality" still needing to be fixed?  Who cares how many people can visit a site concurrently if the registration process still doesn't work?  I'm pretty sure critics of the bill and its implementation haven't needed much in the way of propaganda.  Reality has a way of catching up with rhetoric.

tommyudo
tommyudo

@reallife @tommyudo @ReneDemonteverde 


We all do. It's called living in a civil society, like all being citizens of the same country, where you all look out for the common good. Now if you are one of these greedy "I got mine" types, there are obviously many Third World countries that would be more hospitable to your view of what society does for its citizens.

tommyudo
tommyudo

@ReneDemonteverde 


US wages have stagnated for approx. 30 years, as good paying mfg. jobs were moved overseas, or eliminated through automation. Labor unions, which were the backbone of the middle class, have dwindled. Small and big businesses will  become more competitive when they no longer have to concern themselves with providing health coverage. A single payer healthcare system would get companies out of the business of having to look for new insurance, often on a yearly basis. Sure, go on, call  single payer  "socialism", but this isn't Fox "News", and no one is listening. I call it Medicare For All. Seems to work just fine for the old geezers, so why not for those who are 14, 34 or 54 years old?