After San Francisco programmers George Kalogeropoulos, Ning Liang and Michael Wasser all tried and failed to get insurance through HealthCare.gov, they decided to simply make a better website themselves.
Health Sherpa, created in three days for only a few hundred dollars, has a simple interface allowing users to enter their zip code plus family and income details, then directs them to suggested health insurance plans in their area. It’s that easy.
Kalogeropoulos told CNN the site has received half a million page views and more than 200,000 unique visitors since going live last week.
“The Health Sherpa is a free guide that makes it easier to find and sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act,” the site reads in its “About” section. “We only use carefully vetted, publicly available data. The Health Sherpa is not affiliated with any lobby, trade group or government agency, and has no political agenda.”
HealthCare.gov has (and still is) sinking millions of taxpayer dollars into buoying what is arguably the most high-profile software blunder in American history. The hopelessly mangled code, the convoluted legacy systems handcuffing developers, the endemic problems with the government project as a whole; the site is an unmitigated disaster, and the self-imposed end-of-November deadline to fix it is a slim hope at best.
Now, after a month of constant drubbing by the president, the tech community and the American people, the site was bested in three days by three 20 year-old programmers. The biggest “tech surge” the government can muster doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell against efficiency like that.