HealthCare.gov has been an unmitigated disaster. The government knows it. Software developers know it. Everyone knows it.
(Code Watch on HealthCare.gov: It’s enough to make you sick)
On Sunday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a “tech surge” to clean up the error-laden code behind the website. Today, it turns out that means handing over the reins to Verizon.
Verizon’s Enterprise Solutions Division has been asked to improve the performance of HealthCare.gov, a process that may take months and heap more costs onto the reported US$300 million already sunk into the site. Verizon has taken many government contracts over the years, and even has other IT contracts with HHS and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, so this move isn’t a huge surprise.
The bigger question is whether the cable and telecommunications giant is capable of righting the botched source code to improve the speed and performance of HealthCare.gov, and do it fast.
(A more successful government software project: NASA Apache data-management project gains top-level status)
President Obama expressed his continued frustration at a press event yesterday, touting the efforts to improve the site, and finally make the Affordable Care Act easily accessible.
“Nobody is madder than me that the website isn’t working as it should—which means that it’s going to get fixed,” President Obama said. “We are doing everything we can possibly do to get the websites working better, faster, sooner. We’ve had some of the best IT talent in the entire country join the team and we’re well into a tech surge to fix the problem.”