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Administration Admits Obamacare Website Stinks

Unknown Lamer posted about 10 months ago | from the jay-sherman-presents dept.

Software 516

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The WSJ reports that six days into the launch of insurance marketplaces created by the new health-care law, the federal government finally acknowledged that design and software problems have kept customers from applying online for coverage. The website is troubled by coding problems and flaws in the architecture of the system, according to insurance-industry advisers, technical experts and people close to the development of the marketplace. Information technology experts who examined the healthcare.gov website at the request of The Wall Street Journal say the site appeared to be built on a sloppy software foundation and five outside technology experts interviewed by Reuters say they believe flaws in system architecture, not traffic alone, contribute to the problems. One possible cause of the problems is that hitting 'apply' on HealthCare.gov causes 92 separate files, plug-ins and other mammoth swarms of data to stream between the user's computer and the servers powering the government website, says Matthew Hancock, an independent expert in website design. He was able to track the files being requested through a feature in the Firefox browser. Of the 92 he found, 56 were JavaScript files... 'They set up the website in such a way that too many requests to the server arrived at the same time,' says Hancock adding that because so much traffic was going back and forth between the users' computers and the server hosting the government website, it was as if the system was attacking itself. The delays come three months after the Government Accountability Office said a smooth and timely rollout could not be guaranteed because the online system was not fully completed or tested. 'If there's not a general trend of improvement in the next 72 hours of use in this is system then it would indicate the problems they're dealing with are more deep seated and not an easy fix,' says Jay Dunlap, senior vice president of health care technology company EXL."

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516 comments

Microsoft crashes healthcare.gov .. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45067781)

Corrected headline ..

Gov't project (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#45067787)

So, you're saying that the web site is a proper government software project? ;-p

Re:Gov't project (5, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 10 months ago | (#45068069)

They shoulda used Mongo.

Mongo is webscale.

Re:Gov't project (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#45068143)

Mongo loves candy...

Re:Gov't project (5, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45068175)

Mongo just pawn in game of life.

Re:Gov't project (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068187)

They should have put it on them clouds. Clouds are fluffy.

Re:Gov't project (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068279)

So are sheep!

Re:Gov't project (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 10 months ago | (#45068183)

Government only rises to greatness when faced with an external threat, e.g. war.
Keep in mind that the Apollo Program was a cover story for ICBM development during the Cold War.

Re:Gov't project (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 10 months ago | (#45068237)

I never knew NASA was a military organisation... oh, wait, it isn't.

Ah... (2)

PortHaven (242123) | about 10 months ago | (#45068309)

But how many military/spy satellites did NASA launch into orbit. Then let's re-evaluated the definition of a military organization. NASA is clearly at least a hybrid entity. And I 3 NASA

Re:Gov't project (4, Interesting)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 10 months ago | (#45068231)

Not really.

They're built by lowest bidders Serco and QSS Inc. Neither an American company.

If they had decided to hire Americans to do this job, they would have had a very large pool of qualified and skilled workers from which to choose.

eliminate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45067793)

the data streaming to 'other' government servers, and healthcare.gov would function as intended.

What does IT run on .. (1)

codeusirae (3036835) | about 10 months ago | (#45067797)

"The WSJ reports that six days into the launch of insurance marketplaces created by the new health-care law, the federal government finally acknowledged that design and software problems have kept customers from applying online for coverage."

What software platform does the software run on ?

Re:What does IT run on .. (5, Insightful)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 10 months ago | (#45067861)

"The WSJ reports that six days into the launch of insurance marketplaces created by the new health-care law, the federal government finally acknowledged that design and software problems have kept customers from applying online for coverage."

What software platform does the software run on ?

I think this problem has less to do with the platform and more to do with the fact that this is what you get when you take the lowest bid without doing some basic research on the competence of the bidder. I mean 92 files per 'Apply'? Seriously? And they rolled it out after the Government Accountability Office warned that insufficient testing had been done? This mess says something about the people running the project. It seems to me that those three months could have been well spent hiring software testing contractors to do some load testing although one gets the feeling from the descriptions that team working on this system were scrambling so madly to get it working by their deadline that there would probably not have been any time to fix any except the very worst the bugs the contractors would have found.

Re:What does IT run on .. (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 10 months ago | (#45067937)

Keep in mind the lowest bid was still probably 50-100x more then it would normally be cause hey, 3$ hammer is worth 100$ to the government.

Re:What does IT run on .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068205)

3$ hammer is worth 100$ to the government.

Well, sometimes it is. [youtube.com]

Re:What does IT run on .. (0)

rtb61 (674572) | about 10 months ago | (#45068003)

It is all to do with the bullshit principles of privatisation and commercialisation. Why so many, each and every corporate insurance entity is entitled to equal non-exclusionary access. Now add in multiple policies from each insurance entity and you get horrendous complication. What it to work easily, Keep It Simple Stupid, 'SINGLE PAYER' but the horror that's communism.

Re:What does IT run on .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068041)

I think this problem has less to do with the platform...

C'mon. This is no fun! Some insider provide us with juicy details we can quibble over. Was it Java? C#? PHP?

My popcorn is getting cold!

Re:What does IT run on .. (1)

richlv (778496) | about 10 months ago | (#45067865)

supposedly, it's behind akamai :

http://toolbar.netcraft.com/site_report?url=http://www.healthcare.gov [netcraft.com]

Re:What does IT run on .. (3, Interesting)

CadentOrange (2429626) | about 10 months ago | (#45067939)

It doesn't matter if you're behind Akamai if your website is that inefficiently designed. 56 JS files that are downloaded on hitting apply. WTF?

Re:What does IT run on .. (1)

richlv (778496) | about 10 months ago | (#45067985)

sure. although akamai can take the hit of 56 js files pretty good, i guess :)

Re:What does IT run on .. (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45068197)

It doesn't matter if you're behind Akamai if your website is that inefficiently designed. 56 JS files that are downloaded on hitting apply. WTF?

When I was young we used a thing called HTML forms.

I guess they don't have enough 'zing' for Obamacare in the 21st century, that's why they weren't considered.

Re:What does IT run on .. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#45068089)

doesn't matter if it's not static files.

a bunch of images, no problem. but it's doing requests that depend on some logic, even if just auth, from the server that's the problem.

Re:What does IT run on .. (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 10 months ago | (#45067869)

Doesn't matter. It's a government job, and everyone involved makes more money if it's a ten-year debacle than if it actually works.

-jcr

Re:What does IT run on .. (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 10 months ago | (#45068147)

I think a contractor took the government for a ride.

Re:What does IT run on .. (2)

Seumas (6865) | about 10 months ago | (#45067977)

Do you expect anything more from the same entity that spent tens of millions of dollars to put together some Drupal websites for "data dashboards for american's to observe our transparent government" that were always unimpressive, usually half broken, and could have been put together by a high school student for a few hundred bucks or a few free pizzas?

Re:What does IT run on .. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#45068145)

Windows XP. It's written in Visual Basic 6.0

Client-side Caching (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45067801)

"Of the 92 he found, 56 were JavaScript files..."

Generally, the JS files should be cached client side so how is this really an issue? Not that 56 JS files really should have been needed. It isn't that hard to make it group them together into one large JS file (saving on the HTTP requests) or just cut down on the useless crap on the site. People want the site to work and be easy to navigate, not be Web 2.0 everywhere.

I've seen sites far worse with the amount of files requested (just went to yahoo.com and had 153 requests for the homepage).

captcha: identity (The NSA are on to me!)

Re:Client-side Caching (4, Informative)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 10 months ago | (#45067975)

Let's examine an HTTP request for a rather beefy portion of the JavaScript in question from healthcare.gov:

pparadis::palegray-mobile { ~ }-> curl --head https://assets.healthcare.gov/global/js/lib/jquery-1.8.2.js
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Apache
ETag: "cfa9051cc0b05eb519f1e16b2a6645d7:1370524513"
Last-Modified: Thu, 23 May 2013 15:59:12 GMT
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Content-Length: 93436
Content-Type: application/x-javascript
Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2013 09:44:20 GMT
Connection: keep-alive

They're not even bothering to set the HTTP Cache-Control, Proxy-*, or Expires headers on this content, which will most assuredly limit intermediary proxy and client caching. To say this is amateur hour would be a gross exaggeration of the skills being fielded by these developers.

Much larger issues undoubtedly exist in their backend infrastructure. Given the shit I've seen in this area, I could probably spend the next hour making educated guesses about how badly they've fucked up in various regards, spend another hour partially validating those guesses, and wind up just saying "yup, they're idiots." Instead, I think I'll go to bed now. I have work in the morning.

Re:Client-side Caching (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068137)

That's exactly the quality you get when you outsource to Indian programmers. We've had a decade to evaluate the outsourcing debacle...haven't we learned any lessons from it?

Re:Client-side Caching (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068281)

Nevermind the fact that the problems you note will not improve performance in this case.
You are a nice example of what is wrong in the IT industry: slashing others work, and then wondering why IT isn't a nice place to work anymore.

Re:Client-side Caching (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 10 months ago | (#45067997)

Incidentally, I'm keenly aware they're using Akamai for CDN purposes. That doesn't make this any better; in fact, given some of their functionality, it makes it worse. Time for bed.

Re:Client-side Caching (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 10 months ago | (#45068117)

If they're using Akamai (so aren't against CDN use) why the hell are they locally hosting jQuery, albeit an out of date one? There's absolutely no need to.

Vote CRUZ in 2014 and Vote AMERICAN! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45067811)

Be a patriot and Vote CRUZ for president in 2014! What this great country needs is a true patriot, and from the country that brought us Bill Shatner, Garth Brooks, and Celine Dion, a Canadian-born patriot at that! Consttution says No? No problem! Rewrite it!

Vote CRUZ for president in 2014! Or are you a bleeding-heart commie lover?

Re:Vote CRUZ in 2014 and Vote AMERICAN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068157)

Go ahead and vote for a Canadian next year, see if I care.

This isn't exactly surprising. (4, Insightful)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 10 months ago | (#45067823)

So the story here is that a large team of software developers with no demonstrated experience in developing, testing, performing quality assurance for, and administering large scale enterprise application deployments get a federal contract and botches it horribly. Color me shocked.

I've been working in development and architecture roles for fifteen years, and have seen exactly the same pattern on a variety of scales over and over again. I've seen a number of rather large infrastructure development projects that worked out very well too, but none of those were public sector projects.

Just remember that the folks responsible for this mess are certainly still taking paychecks while an enormous number of government workers are suffering due to the inability of our Congress to do its job. Good times, huh?

Re:This isn't exactly surprising. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068141)

It's alright that they are all still getting paychecks, because they work for CGI Group Inc, a Canadian contractor.

I worked on a project contracted to them once. The lead developer accidentally deleted the entire source tree, and had to drive home to get the backup tapes.

Go head, sign up for Obamacare, your personal data will probably end up on a tape in some programmers bathroom magazine basket.

Compromise Opportunity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45067827)

So now Obama can agree to a later start of Obamacare without losing his face: He'll not give in to the Republicans, but just react to deficiencies in the technology.

Captcha: sequel -- how apt.

Re:Compromise Opportunity (-1, Flamebait)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 10 months ago | (#45067995)

So now Obama can agree to a later start of Obamacare without losing his face: He'll not give in to the Republicans, but just react to deficiencies in the technology.

To add insult to injury, the administration decided to take down the Amber Alerts website, blaming the shutdown, but Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" website is still up. They shut down the PX at Andrews AFB and the WW2 Memorial on the National Mall to WW2 vets, but the golf course at Andrews AFB, which Obama likes, is still open, as is the one at Camp David. Funny what this administration considers "essential".

For this administration it's about not compromising and punishing the American people for supporting their opposition. The pain they intentionally inflict they hope will convince most people to force the opposition to give in. A Park Services Ranger was quoted as saying they were told to make life as painful as possible for people.

"Tell your Senator/Representatives to cave or this kitten (or abducted child that won't show up on the shut-down Amber Alert website) gets it."

1. Nudge

2. Shove

3. Shoot

They are past "Nudge" and are now well into "Shove"...with scattered, mostly kept low-key (for now), but increasingly-numerous incidents where "Shoot" is starting to be employed.

The USA is frighteningly-close to tumbling into full totalitarianism.

Strat

Re:Compromise Opportunity (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068099)

The USA is frighteningly-close to tumbling into full totalitarianism.

You were doing so well - and then you threw in this bit of unsupported insanity.

Re:Compromise Opportunity (0)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 10 months ago | (#45068125)

The USA is frighteningly-close to tumbling into full totalitarianism.

You were doing so well - and then you threw in this bit of unsupported insanity.

Ah, so you're someone who has very little real knowledge of history, then.

Thanks. I'll be certain to give your critique all the attention it is due.

Strat

No, I'm one who has studied it fairly well... (3, Insightful)

PortHaven (242123) | about 10 months ago | (#45068289)

And I'll point out that while WWII started in 1939, but the precepts behind the rise of the Nazis started much earlier.

Totalitarianism does not require mass murder. Especially if the populace is obedient to the authority.

Re:Compromise Opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068169)

The USA is frighteningly-close to tumbling into full totalitarianism.

You were doing so well - and then you threw in this bit of unsupported insanity.

What would you call it, when a "free individual person" can be taxed for any activity, as well as, any NON-ACTIVITY ?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism or totalitarian state is a term used by some political scientists to describe a political system in which the state holds total authority over the society and seeks to control all aspects of public and private life wherever possible.[1]

Obamacare is totalitarianism, which is SCOTUS supported insanity, and freedom is now officially a myth.

Welcome to Obamacare comrade.

What unsupported insanity... (2, Insightful)

PortHaven (242123) | about 10 months ago | (#45068269)

They are listening to your phone calls, reading your emails, and recording all your chats. They are monitoring your vehicle movements. How is that not totalitarianism?

Re:Compromise Opportunity (5, Informative)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 10 months ago | (#45068155)

So now Obama can agree to a later start of Obamacare without losing his face: He'll not give in to the Republicans, but just react to deficiencies in the technology.

To add insult to injury, the administration decided to take down the Amber Alerts website, blaming the shutdown, but Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" website is still up. They shut down the PX at Andrews AFB and the WW2 Memorial on the National Mall to WW2 vets, but the golf course at Andrews AFB, which Obama likes, is still open, as is the one at Camp David. Funny what this administration considers "essential".

For this administration it's about not compromising and punishing the American people for supporting their opposition. The pain they intentionally inflict they hope will convince most people to force the opposition to give in. A Park Services Ranger was quoted as saying they were told to make life as painful as possible for people.

"Tell your Senator/Representatives to cave or this kitten (or abducted child that won't show up on the shut-down Amber Alert website) gets it."

1. Nudge

2. Shove

3. Shoot

They are past "Nudge" and are now well into "Shove"...with scattered, mostly kept low-key (for now), but increasingly-numerous incidents where "Shoot" is starting to be employed.

The USA is frighteningly-close to tumbling into full totalitarianism.

Strat

Seriously? You're going to reference The Examiner for the park ranger quote? Come on.

For the rest Reuters has a good explanation of why parts of the government are hit by the shutdown and other parts continue unaffected, the explanation being that the parts that get funding from Congress stop and those and which are funded otherwise continue to function. In the case of the Andrews AFB golf course, for example, it's funded by user fees and is not reliant upon Congress for budget.

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-03/troops-forage-for-food-while-golfers-play-on-in-shutdown.html [bloomberg.com]

But hell...don't let details get in the way of your rant...

Re:Compromise Opportunity (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068217)

But hell...don't let details get in the way of your rant...

Yes, lets not let details get in the way, just have another glass of Michelles cool-aid.

"Feds Try to Close the OCEAN Because of Shutdown"
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/10/05/Feds-Try-to-Close-the-OCEAN-Because-of-Shutdown

Just before the weekend, the National Park Service informed charter boat captains in Florida that the Florida Bay was "closed" due to the shutdown. Until government funding is restored, the fishing boats are prohibited from taking anglers into 1,100 square-miles of open ocean.

1,100 square miles of ocean, closed, due to lack of funding ?

The Park Service will also have rangers on duty to police the ban... of access to an ocean.

Rangers on duty, to police the closure of the ocean, but not enough money for rangers, to police the ocean when its open.

Who the hell are you kidding ?

Re:Compromise Opportunity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068179)

For this administration it's about not compromising and punishing the American people for supporting their opposition.

So true. Suddenly imposed austerity measures have been so good for the Irish, Greek, and Spanish economies, I don't understand why the libtards are so hostile to them. I mean, 20 years of neoliberalism in Poland, one of the shining success stories, have lowered unemployment to 11% and raised their GDP growth rate to 1.9%.

No compromise: end social support programs TODAY!

Re:Compromise Opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068203)

And what are your sources for any of this info? Oh wait lemme guess, it was a right-wing biased outlet like Fox News, Rush Limbaugh or website like Breitbart.

This article is about the technical issues surrounding what went wrong, not political blame. When politically biased crap like this gets modded +4 insightful, the shark has not only jumped, it's dead, Jim.

And yes, I'd say the same thing if it was pro-Obama/Democrat/Left. Slashdot is supposed to be a higher standard because the commenters are in technical fields where facts matter. Of course political ideologies will vary, but backing up your statements with reputable sources is expected. If you don't then you should be ostracized by mod downs.

If there's any hope for /., in a few hours the parent post will be modded correctly to -1 Troll. Otherwise, I for one, will be signing off of /. forever. We'll see.

Rant over.

Re:Compromise Opportunity (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068239)

Amber Alert site : http://www.amberalert.gov/

Re:Compromise Opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068043)

He's already lost face over this: too many shenanigans with the federal budget resulting in the current impasse.

Thats actually HTML6 code! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45067831)

If a webpage can "stink" via TCP/IP

Computer ? Website ? (3, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 10 months ago | (#45067841)

Silly question, but... what happens when you want to apply and you don't have a computer ? Surely, by definition, a sizable portion of the population that requires Obamacare doesn't necessarily have the means to have a computer or an internet connection.

And no, "anybody has a computer these days" is not an answer. I know plenty of people who don't have enough to feed themselves, let alone buy a computer - let alone one that's recent enough to cope with plugins that invariably tell you "your operating system / browser is not supported anymore, please upgrade." every 6 months.

Re:Computer ? Website ? (3, Insightful)

isorox (205688) | about 10 months ago | (#45067847)

Silly question, but... what happens when you want to apply and you don't have a computer ? Surely, by definition, a sizable portion of the population that requires Obamacare doesn't necessarily have the means to have a computer or an internet connection.

And no, "anybody has a computer these days" is not an answer. I know plenty of people who don't have enough to feed themselves, let alone buy a computer - let alone one that's recent enough to cope with plugins that invariably tell you "your operating system / browser is not supported anymore, please upgrade." every 6 months.

Do you have libraries in america?

Re:Computer ? Website ? (0)

Narcocide (102829) | about 10 months ago | (#45067871)

Most libraries in rural America are generally exclusively for books on non-controversial topics. Even if you could convince the communities to fund computers in the library as a more efficient delivery method for said approved books you would never trick them into believing the internet doesn't represent an unacceptable risk of exposure to controversial information.

Re:Computer ? Website ? (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about 10 months ago | (#45067913)

Source? As it simply isn't true. What IS unfortunate is the loss of the old card catalogs. It used to be the case that multiple people could access the card catalog simultaneously but with the advent of PCs most have been replaced with a library-software equipped PC which limits use to the numbers of PCs on-hand. For a small library that is typically one.

Re:Computer ? Website ? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 10 months ago | (#45068073)

What IS unfortunate is the loss of the old card catalogs. It used to be the case that multiple people could access the card catalog simultaneously but with the advent of PCs most have been replaced with a library-software equipped PC which limits use to the numbers of PCs on-hand. For a small library that is typically one.

Don't worry, the current administration is implementing the solution as we post!

After "Common Core" has been fully implemented for a generation or two, there won't be enough people around who are literate to worry about lines/waiting for the library catalog PC. Bonus, very seldom will you encounter "already on loan" when searching for a particular book.

"We're from the government and we're here to help."

Strat

Re:Computer ? Website ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068219)

You obviously don't live in the Bible Belt. Or Michele Bachmann's district.

Re:Computer ? Website ? (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 10 months ago | (#45068079)

Silly question, but... what happens when you want to apply and you don't have a computer ? Surely, by definition, a sizable portion of the population that requires Obamacare doesn't necessarily have the means to have a computer or an internet connection.

And no, "anybody has a computer these days" is not an answer. I know plenty of people who don't have enough to feed themselves, let alone buy a computer - let alone one that's recent enough to cope with plugins that invariably tell you "your operating system / browser is not supported anymore, please upgrade." every 6 months.

Do you have libraries in america?

You would advise people to input personal details into public access workstations?

Bad IT professional. No. Off to bed with no supper.

Re:Computer ? Website ? (4, Informative)

linuxguy (98493) | about 10 months ago | (#45067915)

> Silly question, but... what happens when you want to apply and you don't have a computer ?

Obamacare by phone: 800-318-2596

800-F1U-CKYO (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45067963)

hee hee

Re:Computer ? Website ? (1)

N3x)( (1722680) | about 10 months ago | (#45067957)

I believe the solution you're looking for is called a phone. Most people have access to such a device.

Re:Computer ? Website ? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 10 months ago | (#45068009)

Any computer from the last 10 years would run a web browser well enough. We actually pay people to get rid of our old IT equipment. You really can get an old computer if you want one. Even if you don't want one, you're bound to have a friend, or even a friend of a friend, who has a computer, and probably would be willing to help out for you signing up to Obamacare if you asked nicely.

In some countries, internet access is already a basic human right.

Re:Computer ? Website ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068171)

The US is not one of those countries...

The only basic right we have here left is to pay taxes. Everything else well... Fuck you pay me.

Re:Computer ? Website ? (2)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 10 months ago | (#45068161)

Silly question, but... what happens when you want to apply and you don't have a computer ? Surely, by definition, a sizable portion of the population that requires Obamacare doesn't necessarily have the means to have a computer or an internet connection.

And no, "anybody has a computer these days" is not an answer. I know plenty of people who don't have enough to feed themselves, let alone buy a computer - let alone one that's recent enough to cope with plugins that invariably tell you "your operating system / browser is not supported anymore, please upgrade." every 6 months.

If they can't afford a computer then they're most likely already on title 19 medical and don't need Obamacare.

Re:Computer ? Website ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068163)

Obamacare doesn't do a single thing to help people who can't feed themselves. Only people who make BETWEEN 100% and 400% of the poverty level get subsidies from obamacare. If you live in poverty you don't get any benefit.

Re:Computer ? Website ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068247)

https://www.healthcare.gov/how-do-i-get-help-enrolling-in-the-marketplace/

Alternatives?? (2)

eclectro (227083) | about 10 months ago | (#45067843)

Why can't they just drop a contract in Oracle's lap to handle the website from start to finish? There has to be more than one CRM platform [wikipedia.org] out there.

Re:Alternatives?? (2)

jcr (53032) | about 10 months ago | (#45067879)

Google for the Oracle California DMV disaster.

-jcr

Re:Alternatives?? (4, Informative)

linuxguy (98493) | about 10 months ago | (#45067927)

Oregon did just that. About $50mil later they had a website that did not work for the first few days. And it is a view-only site to begin with.

Giving lots of money to a large company is no guarantee of success.

Re:Alternatives?? (3, Funny)

CadentOrange (2429626) | about 10 months ago | (#45067945)

Oracle?

Well played sir. I can't tell if you're trolling or being serious.

I'm confused (5, Funny)

isorox (205688) | about 10 months ago | (#45067855)

I'm confused, I thought that nobody wanted obamacare?

Re:I'm confused (0)

gumper23 (700105) | about 10 months ago | (#45067885)

By that logic many want to be in a devastating car crash because they slow down to look at the carnage?

Re:I'm confused (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45067993)

" thought that nobody wanted obamacare?"

Many millions will lose their current insurance on Jan 1 because of Obamacare. The law makes it illegal to sell certain types of insurance, and they're forced to sell you prepackaged insurance similar to the way cable companies package channels.

Those millions don't want obamacare. They just have no choice. But on the plus side, most will get to pay more for it.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068287)

Or maybe we could take a little pain now to avoid a truly catastrophic debt problem in 2020. As it stands now, Medicare and Medicaid entitlements will contribute to an overwhelming portion of that debt (>75%).

It's (very) far from perfect but Obamacare is at least a first step toward doing something about it, like making the proverbial sausage.

Perhaps we can come together and actually build something better from it. Instead of cutting off our noses to spite our collective faces.

Re:I'm confused (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068299)

The law makes it illegal to sell certain types of insurance, and they're forced to sell you prepackaged insurance similar to the way cable companies package channels.

Yes, the law forbids selling insurance plans with fixed "lifetime caps." Especially those where the payout cap is less than the cost of many major treatments. Now, some people may argue that people who signed up for those very low cost programs did so with full knowledge that their "coverage" wouldn't actually pay their bills, and I'm sure the commissioned sales agents went out of their way to explain this risk, but it sure does seem like a short road to fraud.

ACA also bans policies with "preexisting condition" clauses. Those policies allowed insurance companies to offer substantial discounts to customers who could prove they were healthy and unlikely to actually need anything but trauma care. Unfortunately, they did so by punishing people with genetic predispositions or family history of certain diseases with extremely high premiums. Insurance is about spreading the cost of unusual but expensive events across a large pool of people - essentially averaging the cost and risk - and biasing the cost towards those with the most risk is certainly a legitimate strategy. On the other hand, it seems "unfair" to subject certain people to 3x or 4x insurance premiums just because of who their parents are.

So, yeah, people who were paying for "scam" health insurance are going to have to get "real" health insurance, and real coverage costs more. Likewise, the hordes of healthy, unemployed young people are going to have to pay a little more (or stay on their parents' plan) to reduce the costs to the few really sick people. But that's the whole idea behind insurance.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068023)

Obama sure wants it, so much so that he's (him & US Senate) shut down the government so it can be funded.

Healthcare.gov problems are real (4, Insightful)

linuxguy (98493) | about 10 months ago | (#45067877)

Healthcare.gov problems are real. But asking for opinions from people who have a dog in the fight is probably less than ideal. When you ask the likes of Wall Street Journal (Rupert Murdoch's conservative rag) or healthcare technology company EXL (sour that they did not get the contract), you'll get answers that are entirely predictable.

Why is the website a clusterF? Several reasons come to mind.

1. It is a 1.0 product.
2. It is a government project, what do you expect?
3. The states who setup smaller (in comparison) exchanges had similar problems. My state of OR paid Oracle about $50,000,000 for a much simpler setup where you cannot buy anything, but can only view plans on offer. And even that did not work for first few days.
4. The developers were stupid and did not anticipate the traffic they got. Even engineering oriented companies like Google often make that mistake. If you have ever tried registering for Google I/O you would know what I am talking about.
5. Obama's coding skills are simply not up to snuff.

Team Red would like you to think that the govt. has all of a sudden become very inefficient under Obama's presidency. And under their guy Bush, it was a model of transparency and efficiency.

Re:Healthcare.gov problems are real (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45067935)

And Team Blue would like you to think a badly crafted law, a poorly coded website, and Obama's sad political skillz at negotiating will still triumph. Instead of delaying it to fix the problems they knew about, they decided to move forward and really turn people against it.

Re:Healthcare.gov problems are real (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068115)

thanks for this, but please don't try to education /-tarders - it won't work due to propagandized mental entrenchment by the Messiah and His Machine

Re:Healthcare.gov problems are real (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 10 months ago | (#45068307)

Inside the liberal bubble (where I don't live, but I have relatives who do), there's another reason starting to be cited:
6) The State of New York is reporting that they had about 4-5 times as many unique visitors as they had uninsured people, and that many of those visits come in waves of 100,000 or so all at once. The suspicion is that opponents of Obamacare have organized DDOS attacks on the exchanges.

No idea if the premise is accurate, but it's certainly something that would be both technically possible and not (IMHO) below the die-hard opponents of the law.

Join the crowd (3, Funny)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about 10 months ago | (#45067883)

Vermont's site is a disaster. Based on Oracle you'll encounter pages that were set up using what looks like boilerplate language then never corrected. For example, I was prompted to create this one time password – poorly explained – and presented with this screen that tells the user to enter a mobile phone number then shows a field for an email address – there is no field for a phone number. Then, there is a line of text - "I agree to [ENTER COMPANY OR SERVICE NAME HERE] – that is obviously boilerplate that was never replaced or corrected." The pols and the press keep announcing it is a "processing bottleneck" - now blamed on "old computers"... Can you say "we're gonna waste even more money on this thing?"

Re:Join the crowd (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068213)

Based on Oracle you'll encounter pages that were set up using what looks like boilerplate language then never corrected.

I've actually seen that a lot from Oracle contractors. Problem is if you try to call them out on it, you'll get labeled as "not a team player" and taken off the project, so you just have to turn a blind eye or find another job.

incompetance out of leftists is SOP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45067899)

You think these leftists want the system to work ?? They want to destroy it - its part of their long term agenda.

I suggest all of you read accounts of what medical care was like in the old soviet union, because thats what these commies like obama are trying to give you.

Re:incompetance out of leftists is SOP (3, Informative)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 10 months ago | (#45067973)

Yeah, the communist (not Marxist socialist, but actually "to each according to his need") English NHS is awful.

Oh wait, no, it's the best healthcare system I've ever experienced.

Also the problem here is contracting out to the lowest bidder. The problem was introduction of the private sector into government work - the same problem there always is.

Ofc you're a troll, but a nice launchpad.

Re:incompetance out of leftists is SOP (3, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 10 months ago | (#45067999)

The waiting time can be a bit of an issue, and a lot of the hospitals are overloaded due to meddling by government officials who have no notion of what it's actually like at ground level, but even through that it still manages to do a very good job of keeping the population alive and healthy. We're beating the US on every health metric worth considering (Except, oddly, cancer survival rate), and at a substantially lower per-capita spending.

Re:incompetance out of leftists is SOP (3, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 10 months ago | (#45068051)

Aye, we're not the best on waiting times, and the "internal market" tempered centrally is a lot less efficient than pre-Thatcher, but - like Bevan said - there will be an NHS as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.

Something created out of compassion and solidarity is very hard (and I mean this sincerely) for a more capitalistic society to contemplate, let alone implement.

Re:incompetance out of leftists is SOP (4, Insightful)

Paul Steffen (2947609) | about 10 months ago | (#45068107)

Indeed. Remember that Bush/Cheney failed experiment of outsourcing the Iraq War to private companies - companies that brought in untrained "experts" to interrogate prisoners, private security companies to police the streets like the Blackwater employees who killed 17 civilians in Nissor Square, Bahgdad thinking they were being fired upon, or the Halliburton contractor who improperly installed water pumps that killed over a dozen American soldiers while they were showering. Libertarians and anti-government conservatives that complain that government never works while living in a country in which quality of life is almost purely dependent on government programs - like freeways, municipal transportation, clean air, water systems, waste disposal, the internet, police departments, etc, etc, etc - should really just move to Afghanistan.

Re:incompetance out of leftists is SOP (1)

LavouraArcaica (2012798) | about 10 months ago | (#45068263)

Yeah, the communist (not Marxist socialist, but actually "to each according to his need") English NHS is awful.

Oh wait, no, it's the best healthcare system I've ever experienced.

Also the problem here is contracting out to the lowest bidder. The problem was introduction of the private sector into government work - the same problem there always is.

Ofc you're a troll, but a nice launchpad.

This.
I worked at brazilian public sector. Everytime a private contractor was put on the loop, the costs rise 2 - 3x and the quality goes down.
(And I should point out that brazilian public sector is really inneffective)
The solution is not easy, but it is simple: contract a GOOD management guy and a few engeneers directly. Put this guy in charge and create a accontability proccess.

i am agree (1)

Meerathakur1990 (3314685) | about 10 months ago | (#45067947)

i am agree with these lines.

No content here, move along. (1)

Paul Steffen (2947609) | about 10 months ago | (#45067983)

This article lacks any actual, useful, technical content. Any website can be done better to handle a hypothetical million hits at once. They could've of written it as a webapp that stores it's state into the browser's local database, so a user can resume and resubmit their data later - like some DMV sites. Or supply an option to submit data via mailto: - as email has a proven robust track record of moving data under heavy loads. However, coulda/shoulda/woulda means little if web serving is inadequate to handle the millions of people interested in signing up and the #1 concern probably isn't whether they can handle the sheer volume of people but keeping people's data confidential.

who is responsible for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068105)

of course, we'll never see names being named, because finger-pointing is a favorite game at Cabinet meetings, and certainly the Executive would never take responsibility

Re:who is responsible for this? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#45068139)

Whoever hired the site contractor is at fault. Never allow a moron executive to make any decisions on something that he has no clue about.

Obamacare Versus The Affordable Care Act (5, Insightful)

mynamestolen (2566945) | about 10 months ago | (#45068109)

I'm a bit surprised that we seem to accept the "Obamacare" nomenclature. Can we at least try to be objective? http://www.prosebeforehos.com/video-of-the-day/10/06/obamacare-versus-affordable-care-act/ [prosebeforehos.com] http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/09/27/poll-more-oppose-obamacare-than-affordable-care-act/ [msnbc.com]

Re:Obamacare Versus The Affordable Care Act (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 10 months ago | (#45068313)

Can we at least try to be objective?

This is about a piece in the WSJ, a.k.a. the higher-class Murdoch outlet, so no.

Buttloads paid to low quality contractors..... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#45068131)

For a low grade website.

And to fix it they will pay the same low grade contractor more money.

And people wonder why our Government cant do anything right.

Sabotage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068185)

Is this level of incompetence simply the usual, or is this a kind of sabotage. It would appear that a lot of Americans have a serious issue with universal health care, and, in their insanely deluded way think that universal medical provision will cause their country to be overtaken by Stalinists. Weird...

Suddenly.... (1, Insightful)

PortHaven (242123) | about 10 months ago | (#45068243)

Republican's request to delay by one year looks like it would of been a prudent decision.

CGI Group Canadian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068259)

The CGI Group is Canadian so maybe this is a first wave Canadian invasion. First destroy the computer networks then....

92 separate files (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45068265)

If it is a matter of files, no harm in putting all that js in less files. Images could be cut out if there are too many. These are simple fixes if this is true.

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