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DHHS Preparing 'Tech Surge' To Fix Remaining Healthcare.gov Issues 429

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the operation-aca-freedom-eagle dept.
itwbennett writes "It's no secret that the healthcare.gov website has been plagued by problems since its launch 3 weeks ago. On Sunday, the Department of Health and Human Services said that it's now bringing in the big guns: 'Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the [HHS] team and help improve HealthCare.gov,' the blog post reads. 'We're also putting in place tools and processes to aggressively monitor and identify parts of HealthCare.gov where individuals are encountering errors or having difficulty using the site, so we can prioritize and fix them.' Other emergency measures being taken as part of what HHS calls a 'tech surge' include defining new test processes to prevent new problems and regularly patching bugs during off-peak hours. Still unclear is how long it will take to fix the site. As recently reported on Slashdot, that could be anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months."
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DHHS Preparing 'Tech Surge' To Fix Remaining Healthcare.gov Issues

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:05PM (#45189559)
    Single payer - have everyone buy into Medicare. Done.
    • licensing (Score:5, Informative)

      by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:10PM (#45189621) Journal
      Or bring it into compliance [weeklystandard.com] with the GPLv2 or BSD3 licenses.
      • Serious question here: So are they subject to DMCA takedown notices?

      • by lgw (121541)

        So apparently while the website's not working you can call the Healthcare.gov help line [healthcare.gov] at 800-318-2596. That's easy to remember as 1-800-F1UCKYO.

        That's so funny I thought it was urban legend, but as far as I can tell it checks out. If that's an elaborate prank, I stand in awe of the prankster!

    • by drfred79 (2936643)
      That's the exact opposite economically to produce affordable healthcare for the whole nation. Sure poor people will have little incentive not to come in for every cough but someone will pay for it. That will tax our whole economy, not including dead weight loss inefficiencies.
      • by rubycodez (864176) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:24PM (#45189813)

        you're confused. the whole reason we pay three times or more what more advanced countries do (yes kiddies, U.S. is not #1 for healthcare) is because of the big insurance and big healthcare full of fat cats lining their pockets. that system has to be destroyed. ACA just gives it more money. single payer might be viable solution but it will burn down some huge corporations. however, don't believe the lie that those big corporations are the main contributors or participants in our economy, people and small/medium business are the bulk of it.

        • The ACA exchanges are specifically designed to (a) help people buy in larger pools for discounts and (b) induce competition between insurance companies, to reduce prices.
          Where we don't have as much pressure is in healthcare, because people are not naturally inclined to go to a physician billing himself as the cheapest on the block. We as patients don't know how to evaluate the quality of the care we get, or its value, so we cannot effectively price the services we buy.

          • by phantomfive (622387) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:46PM (#45190123) Journal

            Where we don't have as much pressure is in healthcare, because people are not naturally inclined to go to a physician billing himself as the cheapest on the block.

            The way to make up for that is by allowing customers to know the outcomes for various surgeries in the hospital. Once customers know the price and the outcomes, they can make informed decisions.

            Price and outcomes are not always related. For example, a hospital that does many heart surgeries could be very good at them, and also very efficient, so they can do them more cheaply. Whereas another hospital that doesn't do many heart surgeries will need to charge more as a result, and also will have worse outcomes.

            Whether prices are published or not, outcomes should definitely be published, because making that information public will be an incentive for hospitals/doctors to improve treatment even if nothing else changes.

            • by shadow169 (203669) on Monday October 21, 2013 @01:48PM (#45191083)

              Not say that is a bad idea, however you may not be aware that it has some very negative consequences within itself. Once the outcomes of all procedures are made publicly available, health care providers (such as surgeons) will start to refuse to perform procedures on patients who do not have a very high probability of success. In addition the general public will look for simple "pass/fail" information on the outcomes, when that is a completely unrealistic way of looking at it. The cold hard truth is that surgical outcomes have too many factors for the general public to be able to make a well informed decision on.

            • A thousand time this. Price discovery is almost unheard of in the medical industry. If patients were told prices and actually paid for service themselves (to be later reimbursed by insurance) you would see an immediate change in behavior as people shop the marketplace and prices rationalize. These are basic Free Market principles.

              Do this experiment: next time you go to the Doctor, ask them the cost as if you were going to write them a check. Seems simple, right? What is the cost of "x", where x
        • by mc6809e (214243) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:42PM (#45190045)

          you're confused. the whole reason we pay three times or more what more advanced countries do (yes kiddies, U.S. is not #1 for healthcare) is because of the big insurance and big healthcare full of fat cats lining their pockets.

          Saying that they line their pockets with money may be a fact, but it's not a reason.

          The reason we collectively spend so much is because we have government spending competing with private spending for a finite amount of healthcare services.

          It's this competition for limited services that bids prices up for everything. And as prices rise, some people are priced out of the market, justifying more government spending to help them, which further increases prices.

          • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday October 21, 2013 @01:17PM (#45190581) Homepage

            Which limited services are you referring to? What's the limit?

            • by mc6809e (214243) on Monday October 21, 2013 @02:08PM (#45191337)

              Which limited services are you referring to? What's the limit?

              How about the time available to doctors and nurses to treat people? They can only treat so many people.

              And there are psychological limits, too. Doctors and nurses may have time but not the will to devote 80 hours a week to watching people die.

              There are also equipment limits. An MRI requires scarce materials and scarce skills to assemble.

              There are countless things that limit the total amount of healthcare available.

              Don't think like a mere consumer, where the perceived limit on what's available depends only on the money in your bank account. That's putting all the focus on the demand side of the equation. Try to see the big picture. To do that, you have to look at the supply side, too. The supply of most things is limited (ultimately by physics).

              • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday October 21, 2013 @02:44PM (#45191907) Homepage

                How about the time available to doctors and nurses to treat people? They can only treat so many people.

                I'm not sure that counts as a limited resource, since it doesn't explain why we can't scale up on doctors or nurses to meet the demand. After all, we do have unemployment. I'm not saying you don't have a point, but you're being very picky that we get down to the reason why things are so expensive, and your explanation doesn't quite seem adequate. Scarcity of materials for MRIs could be a real limit, but it would only explain why MRIs are expensive. Why is the aspirin in hospitals so expensive? Aspirin isn't meaningfully limited.

                This isn't a simple supply and demand issue.

          • by dywolf (2673597)

            no.
            just no.
            that is no where near the reason, and whomever modded you up isnt familiar with the industry or its cost drivers AT ALL.
            healthcare resources are no where near scarce in this country.
            the high costs are in no way shape or form being caused by a limited supply unable to keep up with demand.

        • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:57PM (#45190285)
          The reason we pay so much for health care is:
          1. Availability BECAUSE of widespread insurance. This drives up demand and screws with pricing since the people using it don't have to pay based on the type of service received. You see the same thing in our college education system, as the availability of 'free' education has gone up via grants and student loans that delay the financial pain, the costs have risen for essentially no improvement in services. When the lie took over that 'everyone has to have a college education to get anywhere', and everyone bought into it, it became far more expensive. The same type of lie has invaded our medical system; that 'everyone has to have access to health care, no matter what the real costs are'.
          2. Newer, more expensive treatments. My fibula was broken in a motorcycle crash. The billed costs to fix it were over $72K and included a three day hospital stay, a plate in my ankle, several follow-up visits with the surgeon, including one more surgery, and months of physical therapy. 50 years ago, they probably would have thrown a cast on it in the emergency room and I would have limped the rest of my life. The facts are that people are receiving more and better treatments and living longer and better than they ever have before, and it's costing a crap load more money than it used to.
          3. Duplicate/litigious-avoidance medical testing because insurance pays for it. I found it interesting when I had a high-deductible plan and started to question tests how many the doctors really didn't need to do but did so 'because insurance covers it'.
          4. Insurance companies are some of the lowest margin companies in the US that have driven down health care costs by forcing hospitals and doctors to accept lower payments. It's a double edged sword, while they have helped drive costs down, the increased demand has driven it back up.
          5. Tax laws and accounting procedures used by healthcare providers. Ever wonder why your hospital bill is $40K, but the insurance only pays $12K?? The $12K is the 'negotiated rate', while the $40K is the full rate. Everyone who fails to pay results in a $40K write-off for the hospital, not a $12K. And if you are in a car crash in many states, the hospitals can go after the at-fault person for the $28K difference. A friend of mine, who had chosen to not buy insurance where she works, needed an expensive procedure. When the hospital was offered cash, they took 50% off the price. So don't tell me that the prices being charged are real.
          6. Lack of transparency/competition coupled with government subsidies. Why is it auto repair facilities have to give a detailed estimate and are held to it, yet our hospitals don't have to?? My son, who doesn't have insurance, hurt his ankle and went to the hospital. He wanted to get it checked, and being a responsible person was going to pay for it. The hospital was unwilling to tell him how much it was going to cost, so he left. However, the next day they called him back and told him they were able to get the state insurance program to pay for it.

          No one is entitled to affordable health care, there is no reason why everyone should be able to have liver transplants regardless of income level. We should have access to fairly priced health care that we can work out the details of paying for it. And choose whether or not it's worth the money to us as individuals. Not the government deciding.

          • by dywolf (2673597) on Monday October 21, 2013 @02:15PM (#45191447)

            1: Nope.
            2: Nope.
            3: Contributes, but nearly as much as people think.
            4: Nope. In fact the opposite. Hospitals can get away with charging more because the insurers act a a shock absorber, insulator, between your wallet and the true cost of care. they dispute some, but not all excessive costs, because they act more as a match maker between patients and hospitals than a representative of the patient. in fact, it can be argued that hte true commodity is the patients, and the customers are the hospitals.
            5: Nope. Red herring. It contributes, but negligibly so.
            6: Finally got one right. Lack of competition and economic pressure. This single factor is responsible for the majority of high cost of healthcare in this country. Quite simply, healthcare costs so much because it can. Because they can get away with it. Because there is a middleman between our wallets and the caregivers, that sheilds us from direct costs. Because healthcare isnt like a car sale...you're not going to walk away from life saving surgery because it's too expensive.

            It's as a simple as that. Number 6 is the single most important factor, all others are either false or negligible.

            http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/what-makes-the-us-health-care-system-so-expensive-introduction/ [theinciden...nomist.com]
            http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/what-makes-the-us-health-care-system-so-expensive-red-herrings/ [theinciden...nomist.com]

            We should have access to fairly priced health care that we can work out the details of paying for it. And choose whether or not it's worth the money to us as individuals.

            Again: no one actually does that. No one is ever going to do that. If I tell you you need to take these pills, that cost 100$ per pill, or you will die, you're not going to walk away and just accept death. People just dont do that. and since you care to mention government...the single most cost efficient sector of our healthcare system IS the government run single payer segments: Medicaire/Medicaide.

          • by Xyrus (755017) on Monday October 21, 2013 @03:20PM (#45192409) Journal

            Why did you write a wall of text? Here's a brief summary: Poor people deserve to die.

            That's really what you want, isn't it? The haves can have health care, the have-nots can die in a gutter someplace. And this will be better for everyone.

            Unfortunately for you, other more socially advanced nations have provided strong counter-examples to your Rynd-esque sociopathic utopia.

        • by judoguy (534886)

          So, you want to replace large greedy corporations with...

          the largest, greediest most inefficient corporation. One that use lots of guns to enforce it's will.

          Hey, what could go wrong?

          Or perhaps we can enforce a market with true competition. Which is not what we have now. "Oh Noz! Can't do that!" People must be forced to do the right thing by a vast, inefficient, "compassionate", smarter-than-we-are totalitarian state.

      • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:33PM (#45189905) Homepage Journal

        That's the exact opposite economically to produce affordable healthcare for the whole nation. Sure poor people will have little incentive not to come in for every cough but someone will pay for it. That will tax our whole economy, not including dead weight loss inefficiencies.

        Cut the 3 billion sent to Israel's military every year. Why subsidize the Israeli social welfare system, when they have a booming economy and the US has bread lines?
         

        • by Salgak1 (20136) <salgak@ s p e a k e a s y.net> on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:41PM (#45190023) Homepage

          Or even better, apply the O'Rourke Circumcision Principle [kungfuquip.com]. All budgets get cut, 10%, off the top.

          Stop ALL foreign aid. Means-test ALL transfer payments to individuals. And prohibit the use of proprietary software: MANDATE open-source.

          And most importantly, Limit ALL Congressmen to 6 terms max, lifetime, and all Senators to two terms max, lifetime. If it's good enough for the President, it's good enough for them. . .

    • by sycodon (149926) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:21PM (#45189761)

      Thirty Million out of 300+ million supposedly don't have health insurance.

      So, lets write a plan that affects all 300+ million instead of one that addresses the 30 million.

      Brilliant!

      • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:41PM (#45190041)

        That's not insightful. The problem is lots of us who have insurance have been getting a raw deal. Including getting dropped when you get sick, having coverage capped, losing a job for being sick and being unable to afford a new plan after you get well (preconditions). The ACA isn't about just those 30 million, or they would've just expanded Medicaid.

        • by sycodon (149926)

          Tweaks...not a wholesale rewrite of the entire medical/insurance system.

          How about we address the costs instead of redistributing them?

          • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Monday October 21, 2013 @02:30PM (#45191657)

            Insurance IS redistribution!

            I would never call this bill mere tweaks. I can't believe *anyone* would call this bill mere tweaks. Now, as for costs, there are some things that the ACA does. For one, it caps profiteering by the healthcare insurance industry by forcing at least 80% of expenditures to be used on actual healthcare. Second, it makes healthcare checkup plans far cheaper so that people don't ignore small health problems, then run to the ER when their pancreas explodes. I'd google for some of the other cost control measures.

            Personally, I wanted a whole-hog UK healthcare system completely run and funded by the government and making doctors and nurses federal employees. What we've got is the best compromise that we could get through Congress. People are criticizing features of the ACA like they slept through the 2 years of rancorous public debate. It's a miracle that we got as much passed as we did.

            In the future, when the idiots in this country crying about socialized healthcare understand what it actually means, I foresee a government-run public option being dropped into Obamacare. I also see other future changes like larger penalties for the John Waynes who declare they don't want insurance, but run to the ER when their pancreas explodes.

  • by Albanach (527650) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:10PM (#45189619) Homepage

    Personally, I'm not that bothered by teething problems. Plenty of sites have experienced them. Yes, there are many ways they could have been avoided, but they weren't, and they will undoubtedl be fixed.

    More interesting would be to know what penalty clauses are in the contracts? If they were absent, it's a whole lot clearer why these problems have hit. There was simply no financial incentive to design a site that could scale appropriately.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by John Jorsett (171560)

      Personally, I'm not that bothered by teething problems. Plenty of sites have experienced them. Yes, there are many ways they could have been avoided, but they weren't, and they will undoubtedl be fixed.

      Even assuming that to be true, fixed by when? The law has hard-coded dates in it, and insurers have vast sums at stake predicated on the numbers and types of people signing up, the premiums they'll get, and the subsidies they'll receive. If things slip, lawsuits will fly and it's logical to assume that taxpayers will be on the hook for damages. Not to mention the people who are losing their coverage at work who were expecting to be able to sign up via the exchanges. This disaster has knock-on effects that w

    • Do we have data showing that penalty clauses either (a) guarantee good rollouts or (b) make the process of getting to a good roll-out [eventually] cheaper? It works like insurance, so you wind up paying for it up-front in the contract anyway...

      Also, do we have details on what's going wrong or why? I keep seeing headlines frothing at the mouth, but am given short-shrift on details. Things like:

      In a blog post, the Department of Health and Human Services said some users of HealthCare.gov "have had trouble crea

    • Personally, I'm not that bothered by teething problems. Plenty of sites have experienced them. Yes, there are many ways they could have been avoided, but they weren't, and they will undoubtedl be fixed.

      The bigger question is whether the entire ACA will be run the same way.

    • Even more, more interesting, is what are the penalties applied to individuals who cannot sign up for Obamacare in time because of a broken website. If it's still broken by March 15th (the deadline for individuals to sign up), will the IRS still enforce its penalties, given that the tool the Federal Government provided didn't work?
  • How about this... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:10PM (#45189623)
    Defund the NSA, and repurpose their data center for this. Two birds with one stone.
    • by Capt James McCarthy (860294) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:23PM (#45189785) Journal

      How about defund both and give me my money back. I don't want to pay to listen to phone calls and could care less about paying for someones birth control.

      • Okay, so we should continue to deny women coverage for birth control while insurance companies will pay for Viagra.
        • Odd, my insurance company covers birth control but not Viagra.

          And don't forget that Viagra has uses beyond just sustaining erections... unless it helps your argument, then by all means forget it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Salgak1 (20136)

          Hate to rain on your parade, but pregnancy is not an illness or a dysfunction. That being said, insurance is willing to pay for birth control if that's what's in the contract. Some employers CHOOSE not to include that in their insurance contracts, often for religious reasons. . .

    • Throwing more hardware at a software problem... that sure sounds like a government solution

  • Mythical Man-Month (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:11PM (#45189635)

    "Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government"

  • Brooks (Score:5, Funny)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:13PM (#45189667)

    Part of me wants to send Obama a copy of, "The Mythical Man-Month". Another part of me wants to just sit back and watch.

    • The web coding is a lot like the Obama-care act; nobody knows whats in it.
    • by J Story (30227)

      I might be over-pessimistic, but I predict that the IT will fail disastrously.

      I read somewhere that there are 3 million lines of code holding this together. If that's true, then it will take months for the new guys just to understand it. Then, bug-fixing is going to introduce more bugs. Ultimately, everything will be scrapped in order to start over. (Of course by then a private company would have gone out of business, but we are talking about the limitless resources of the federal government.)

      Purportedly, o

  • "But we need that baby NOW! Bring in even MORE women!"

    I'm going to have to go with Agent Zed on this:

    "Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training."

  • Bad Medicine (Score:3, Informative)

    by drfred79 (2936643) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:15PM (#45189681)
    How is taking over more of the economy an even better idea when the DHHS can't even take over half of medicine? Single-payer is dead in the water and immoral. There is no real way to kill the entirety of Obamacare but Congress should work to mitigate its impending harm.
    • When the state is your god, you consider it sovereign over all and turn over your will, freedom, respect, devotion and everything you can offer to have it protect you, feed you and care for you. The statist masterminds have yet to achieve this version of heaven they have dreamt up, and they have no interest in mitigating anything. It is the new "moral" imperative to hurt the many to help a few and nationalizing healthcare is key to doing so. See below:

      http://youtu.be/r2Kevz_9lsw [youtu.be]

      And they don't think it'

    • by Chirs (87576)

      Single-payer seems to work just fine for other countries...

  • by bugs2squash (1132591) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:15PM (#45189683)
    Which platform did they use to implement this ?
  • by dkegel (904729) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:19PM (#45189737) Homepage

    Just how broken is it? Let's find out.

    I tried creating an account early Sunday morning and failed.
    I tried again Sunday evening, and it worked... on Firefox, anyway. On Chrome, logging in took me to a blank screen.
    ( See https://plus.google.com/u/0/113779301404424240904/posts/2mxh2wPTein [google.com] )

    If you try creating an account on healthcare.gov, reply here with what happened. Let's see how broken it is.

  • This statement may be an oversimplification, but "adding manpower to a late software project makes it later" [wikipedia.org]. The application in this case would be, why didn't they have enough workers on the project to begin with?
    • This statement may be an oversimplification, but "adding manpower to a late software project makes it later" [wikipedia.org]. The application in this case would be, why didn't they have enough workers on the project to begin with?

      A more interesting question is why many of the major beltway tech companies one would expect to find attached to a huge government tech project aren't present. My suspicion is that when they saw the specs (or maybe the lack or vagueness of them) and the due date, they declined to participate.

      • This statement may be an oversimplification, but "adding manpower to a late software project makes it later" [wikipedia.org]. The application in this case would be, why didn't they have enough workers on the project to begin with?

        A more interesting question is why many of the major beltway tech companies one would expect to find attached to a huge government tech project aren't present. My suspicion is that when they saw the specs (or maybe the lack or vagueness of them) and the due date, they declined to participate.

        A more interesting question is, how does light manage to act like both a wave and a particle!

  • Maybe they can swing by all the other failed government IT projects while they're at it. Maybe they can take a shot at Virtual Case File for the FBI. Throwing money at a problem - especially a government IT problem is not going to work.

  • This does not sound promising. When they say they are bringing in the best of the best to fix this ASAP, best of the best better actually mean something in this case. Otherwise throwing more of what caused this mess in the first place at it will only cause more trouble.

    I also have to think: due to the substantial importance, essential timeliness, and over all sensitivity of this gigantic project. Why didn't they simply bring in "the best and brightest from both inside and outside government" to begin with
  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:46PM (#45190119)

    I'm sure there's tons of people salivating at the chance to jump all over this topic and say things like "classic government inefficiency at work." But the reality is that these kinds of projects happen every day in private sector companies. You only hear about them when they make the news. I've seen many companies throw out millions in sunk costs because they couldn't get an ERP system massaged enough to fit their business processes. Often, the companies realize too late that they're getting bled dry by outsourcing "partners" and getting nothing in return, then make the hard decision to just dump everything and try again.

    Some of it may be leadership incompetence (analogous to CIOs getting swindled by consulting salesmen over copious rounds of golf and strippers) but HHS doesn't have hundreds of web developers on staff, and there would be a monster backlash if they actually did go out and hire them as permanent employees. IN the real world, they're forced to outsource to be "good stewards of the taxpayer's dollar" and end up getting crap. I can't believe that no one over the last 30 years has come to the realization that outsourcing always costs more, and results are not guaranteed no matter how much money gets flushed. What probably happened is that the project got awarded to the lowest bidder of the big consultancy firms, who promptly replaced all the super-geniuses they promised with new grads, and just kept collecting money.

    A lot of private firms get fed up and just insource the whole thing, but I don't think the government has that option right now. Given the political climate, I'm sure every paper clip purchased is tracked by certain right-wing groups, and hiring hundreds of Federal employees certainly won't go over well. So, we'll just see the same consultancies who screwed up get rewarded to "fix" the problem. Just like in the private sector...

    • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:58PM (#45190311)

      As a former government software developer, I can honestly say that it's just not a worthwhile place to work, hiring caps or not.

      Well, let me correct that. If you're willing to have that be the last place you work in your career, and you're willing to find job satisfaction outside of work, and you can handle both the intense frustration of being prevented from doing your job properly, with being badmouthed by politicians for not doing your job properly, then it can actually be an okay place to work.

  • It was smart to build in the 3 month cushion, but that site is driving me nuts. First I dealt with 2 weeks of not even being able to log in (getting dropped to blank screens). Then I had registrations blow up over and over forcing me to repeat the process. Then, when I finally got my account set up, I had deal with Experian's validation blowing up, then being told to wait 24 hours for the fix, then calling back and finding out there was nothing Experian really could do and just call healthcare.gov help,

  • by EMG at MU (1194965) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:52PM (#45190215)
    I think this might be the first goverment case of a large organization trying to execute a publicly facing software project and failing. For decades the goverment didn't do public facing benefit projects. If this all happened in the 90s you would have to sign up using paper forms and although it may have been slow and inconvenient by today's standards that's what the goverment had experience in doing, it probably would have worked just fine.

    I think software/web centric failures like this are going to keep happening. Few organizations, especially those whose primary business isn't software, are good at implementing huge software projects. Most management doesn't know how to run software projects, budget departments dont know how to account for software projects. If the Social Security administration has a huge backlog of applications they just add more people to the workforce until they work through it. Now everything is different, it doesn't matter how many people and how much money you throw at it, it's going to talk a while to fix. Very few people in goverment, and very few members of the electorate understand how a software project is run, hence a "surge" to fix the problem. People understand that concept, they imagine tons of nerdy looking guys flowing into some building and typing furiously at a keyboard until the problems go away. Good imagery, not really accurate.

    I'm actually really amused by all this, it's my job playing out on a national stage. Terrible software estimates, contractors failing to live up to contracts, unrealistic timelines, poorly understood requirements, angry management demanding all hands on deck, and unhappy users. Maybe now software management will become an academic subject and mandatory study for MBAs and such.

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