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Monday, October 7, 2013

Mangan - Evening Brief, October 7, 2013 - Health Care

Slow-bamacare: Tech fixes planned for health exchange

Published: Monday, 7 Oct 2013 | 5:34 PM ET
By:  | Health Care Reporter
It's 1 a.m.—Do you know where your Obamacare is?
                                                          Getty Images
President Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act in San Jose, Calif.
The federal government's health insurance marketplace is—again—shutting down its online application section for several hours early Tuesday morning to address persistent technical problems that have dramatically bogged down the system since it launched last week.
And even as the Department of Health and Human Services on Monday said the work it did during a similar off-hour shutdown over the past weekend "is beginning to show results," particularly in reducing wait times, criticism about its glitchy, slow Healthcare.gov site continued.
"This is not normal maintenance, this is a huge fix," said Bill Curtis, chief scientist of the software quality analysis firm CAST Software.
"You just have a system that is in gross overload right now," said Curtis, whose firm is not involved in the fixes being made to the federal marketplace. "You've got just a constellation of problems here. ... It has all the hallmarks of a project that was in a rush." 
One of those hallmarks was a screen that many visitors saw when they went online to HHS' Healthcare.gov site, which asked them to wait and be patient because of the high volume of visitors. That, and similar messages, have been seen by millions of people visiting the federal and state insurance marketplaces since enrollment inObamacare began Oct. 1.
HHS said that it is not satisfied with the performance of its website, which is handling health insurance enrollment applications for the residents of 36 states that are not running their own Obamacare insurance exchanges.

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