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Is the HealthCare.gov Fix Too Late to Save Obamacare?

Is the HealthCare.gov Fix Too Late to Save Obamacare?

HealthCare.gov finally works. Now people just need to use it.

The error-plagued website, which was supposed to be the portal for Americans seeking to buy health insurance through the exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act, isfinally approaching basic functionality two months after it went online.

In a report released Sunday, the Department of Health and Human Services breathlessly announced that the website now functions more than 90 percent of the time, not including scheduled downtime for maintenance. That is twice the rate of the beginning of November, when the website was functional 42 percent of the time. Of course, for users logging on in an attempt to get health care for themselves and their family, HealthCare.gov still won’t work roughly 10 percent of the time. But it’s still an improvement.

The report and an accompanying blog post offer a blizzard of metrics, none of which has been independently verified, on how the website has improved since the fiasco of its launch. Those working to turn around HealthCare.gov, according to Julie Bataille of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “identified the root cause problems that needed to be addressed to fix the site. These root causes included hundreds of software bugs, inadequate hardware and infrastructure, and a general lack of system monitoring and incident response capabilities. The assessment also identified weaknesses in how the project was being managed, with slow decision-making and diffuse or unclear accountability. With these root causes identified, the conclusion was that HealthCare.gov was fixable, if significant changes were made to the management approach and if we executed against the lengthy punch list of software and hardware fixes with relentless focus and discipline.”

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