A rocky rollout of Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance services on HealthCare.gov has President Obama angry, and he has put IT on the case to fix the site’s issues, he said today. In fact, upon news of apparently widespread malfunctions with the site, private tech companies are “reaching out and offering to send help.”
Republicans have called for Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary, to testify at a U.S. House of Representatives oversight meeting specifically about the website’s launch problems. She is currently scheduled to do so next week, according to Reuters. Sebelius, whose HHS department is responsible for delivering ACA services, has the “full confidence” of the White House, says the Reuters piece, though President Obama said in his speech today that there is “no excuse for the problems.”
No numbers for total enrollees in ACA coverage have been released, but some 20 million people have visited the site. Obama spoke today about the 24/7 focus on repairing technical problems, while also addressing how the glitches have damaged attitudes toward the ACA in its entirety: A Washington Post/ABC News poll found over half of its respondents felt the website problems indicated “a broader problem.”
A post on the HHS.gov website, “Doing Better: Making Improvements to Healthcare.gov,” posted October 20, reads in part:
Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov. 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. We are also defining new test processes to prevent new issues from cropping up as we improve the overall service and deploying fixes to the site during off-peak hours on a regular basis.
Citizens are invited to leave comments and questions on their experiences with the site. Commenters have already begun leaving suggestions for how to improve the functionality of the site, from calling Adobe to create the forms to taking cues from the fast-moving digital game industry.