Healthcare.gov rush job, builders claim

October 25, 2013 in Medical Technology

The House Energy and Commerce Committee interrogated, scrutinzed, and criticized contractors for Healthcare.gov Thursday, just days after the Obama Administration called in a “fix it” team amid growing public frustration over the site’s problems. Contractors testified that CMS was responsible for testing the site and decidind whether to go live.

“Why were we told everything was OK just weeks before one of the biggest IT disasters in government history?” asked Pennsylvania Republican Joseph Pitts.

“The website should have been the easy part. … Taxpayers around the country really expected a user friendly system,” said committee chairman Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican.

[See also: What happened to Healthcare.gov?.]

“It’s 2013, there are thousands of websites that handle concurrent volumes larger than Healthcare.gov,” said Anna Eshoo, a Democrat representing much of Silicon Valley. The explanation that Healthcare.gov’s problem stemmed from large traffic: “I think that’s really kind of a lame excuse. Amazon and eBay don’t crash the week before Christmas,” Eshoo said.

“If 55 contractors couldn’t create a working website,” asked Pennsylvania Republican Tim Murphy, what will the fix-it team be able to do?

While the testimony and answers by leaders from two of the main contractors did not seem to satisfy lawmakers, they did seem to confirm what’s become a tech industry adage: “If you go live months late when you’re ready, no one will ever remember. If you go live on time, when you’re not ready, no one will ever forget.”

Referring to the Centers for Medicare Medicare Services as the ultimate tester of the website and the final decision maker of the October 1 go-live date, they all but said: We didn’t have enough time.

[See also: Lessons learned from health insurance exchange launch.]

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Article source: http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/healthcaregov-rush-job-builders-claim

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