Healthcare.gov not working yet (duh)

I feel really bad for President Obama and I am still a big fan. But. As we all know now, this is a total disaster, on a lot of levels. For first hand experience, I tried to create an account on Healthcare.gov about the middle of October. After several tries I managed to do it. Yesterday I tried to log into the site to see how things were going, and after several tries and I managed to log in. But I didn’t get too far  before I got a 404 error.

Those of us who have worked on, or seen close up how a complex “web site” is built have a feeling of how complicated this is. And coupled with other factors and complications (like politics and buareaucratic ineptitude) we can’t say this is not a movie we’ve seen before. But that doesn’t begin to explain nor excuse it. Here’s a good behind the scenes article:

HealthCare.gov: How political fear was pitted against technical needs – The Washington Post:

“They were running the biggest start-up in the world, and they didn’t have anyone who had run a start-up, or even run a business,” said David Cutler, a Harvard professor and health adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign, who was not the individual who provided the memo to The Washington Post but confirmed he was the author. “It’s very hard to think of a situation where the people best at getting legislation passed are best at implementing it. They are a different set of skills.”

 

[FUNNY] Congress investigates problems with healthcare.gove

Really, this is NO JOKING MATTER

Rep. Upton said that “looking serious and nodding our heads a lot” contributed to the illusion that committee members had even scant comprehension of what was being discussed. “At the end of the day, a lot of it came down to not asking the questions you really wanted to ask,” he said. “Like, ‘What exactly is a Web site?’” (from Congress Spends Several Hours Pretending to Understand Internet : The New Yorker)

Fascinating article about the technology behind Healthcare.gov

Pretty amazing that the govt is actually placing all the code for healthcare.gov on github for all of us to inspect. There’s only one commit, and it’s 3 months old. Also there’s a reasonable amount of developer information available.

Somehow I suspect that it is not *all* there or how fast it will be updated, but still whatever’s there is a big step forward from the SOP of the past!

Open by design: Why the way the new Healthcare.gov was built matters | E Pluribus Unum:

The people building the new Healthcare.gov are unusual: instead of an obscure sub-contractor in a nameless office park in northern Virginia, a by a multidisciplinary team at HHS worked with Development Seed, a scrappy startup in a garage in the District of Columbia that made its mark in the DC tech scene deploying Drupal, an open source content management system that has become popular in the federal government over the past several years.

 

I wouldn’t put it past them

How much do you want to bet that somewhere someone in this country a malware or other attack is being launched against the new “Obamacare” Web site? 

I have great sympathy for the team(s) that put up that web site, back end and other support infrastructure for this site. And in the best of possible conditions there will be hiccups in deploying such a complex system. Add to that that at 8:00am today everyone on earth knew that the site was up and that they could start playing with it, and you are facing a real challenge. So don’t be surprised if there’s a small or big hiccup in the first few weeks and months.

But it occurred to me that over and above that, there are so many haters in this country (and probably around the world) that there almost certainly are concious and malicious attacks being waged to corrupt, disrupt, bring down, slow down, or steal data from this service, all in an effort to embarass us in front of all the world.

I really really hope this isn’t true, but, I wouldn’t put it past them.