Anyone who understands Web development that has looked at the healthcare.gov website can see that it’s a mess. With unfiltered comments, copy-pasted code, missing sections of scripts, and more plaguing the site, it’s a wonder it even loads in many browsers. After spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get healthcare.gov running, the government is now planning a “tech surge” to attempt to rapidly fix all of its ailments and make it whole.
In a blog post, the Department of Health and Human Services says they are “committed to doing better.” They are bringing in experts from outside the government to do the work. So far, no mention of any repercussions for the firm responsible for the site, and which has been paid a reported near-$500 million for the job, have been mentioned.
So far, the site is processing less than 1% of the applications being entered and of those, many are riddled with errors from data mismanagement and error-prone handling. Government insiders say that as each problem is targeted and fixed with healthcare.gov, more arise, becoming an onion-peeling process that no doubt induces the same kind of tears in the developers being brought in to make the fixes.
Defenders of the system, of course, say that the “glitches” are just like what every major tech company has when it rolls out. Of course, if Foursquare had launched with a 99% failure rate for those attempting to sign up, it would have closed up shop within days. A few problems are expected, but when the majority of users are finding serious flaws and outright failure in the code, things are out of hand.
The new coders brought in will have until January 1 to make it right. At that point, the system either goes live officially or dies under the inevitable political backlash that’s waiting for it in the wings.