October 27th, 2013
10:57 PM ET
11 months ago

HealthCare.gov homepage gets makeover

Washington (CNN) - An image of a young woman who became known as the "Obamacare girl" is no longer on the homepage of the federal government's health care site.

In the process of changing the homepage of HealthCare.gov to highlight the different enrollment options now being offered, the image of the woman, who has become a symbol of the online federal exchange, was set aside, said an official with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, or CMS.


CMS is the agency responsible for operating the website.

The picture drew much news coverage and online discussion with people wanting to know her identity. A small company that originally worked on the homepage told CNN's Jeanne Moos that the woman was part of the original design mock-up of the website.

HealthCare.gov's quiet makeover is the latest attempt by the administration to draw attention away from the website's problematic launch. When enrollment began October 1, just the website option was highlighted, punctuated by "Obamacare girl." Now, when visiting the site, new imagery emphasizes multiple ways to register for a new health insurance plan, such as enrollment by phone.

Republicans are already seizing on the site's overhaul. NRCC spokesman Matt Gorman wrote in a blog post that the redesign is symptomatic of the Obama administration's misplaced focus - "worrying about what is gracing the front page" instead of repairing the site's serious technical flaws.

"They can keep changing the photos, but what they cannot change is the fact that the site is nothing short of a debacle," Gorman said.

Online updates will continue in response to feedback from website users and social media, according to the official.

The individuals in the images that were initially used for the launch of the website signed standard release forms and understood how their images would be used, said the official, who was not authorized to speak for publication and declined to be identified.

CNN's Jason Seher contributed to this report.


Filed under: Health care • Kathleen Sebelius • Obamacare • President Obama
soundoff (158 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Aaron Poscovsky

    Obama care and its website, is just a evil plan by the both parties to get money from people. Make everyone buy insurance, the people in government get more from these companies and the big losers are the American taxer.
    --------------------
    There are laws against public nudity, which means that you have to go out and buy some clothes. But, you don't have to buy clothes if stay within the privacy of your own home.

    There are laws that require you to purchase auto insurance for your motor vehicle. But, you don't have to buy auto insurance as long as you do not operate your motor vehicle on public roads, and stay confined to driving your pickup around your farm.

    The Affordable Care Act is a law that requires you to purchase health insurance. But, you really wouldn't have to purchase health insurance if you never went to public hospital. You could stay at home and practice holistic medicine.

    But, since you do go out in public, and since you probably do ride in a motor vehicle on public streets, the chance exists that you will get into a motor vehicle accident and wind up in a public hospital without any health insurance. Now you would become one of your dreaded deadbeats, shiplifiting health care from hospitals at the expense of others.

    October 28, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. rs

    I'm also curious how many of you have actually signed up. Have you signed up (you might not need it because you are already covered through work)? What about Sniffit? rs? Wake Up? DMFO? Lynda? Rudy? Ol Yeller? I'd love to know how many of them have signed up for healthcare through the website or made the call...
    ___________________
    Happily insured through my workplace. No changes forthcoming. However, at somepoint, the ACA may allow me to retire earlier as I won't have to bridge current goldplate insurance at $1500 (last year's prices) a month to Medicare. And that is where ACA helps stimulate the economy- someone younger can get my job (and benefits ) if I leave early.

    October 28, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. tom l

    @Rudy and Data
    "... So you're perfectly comfortable with an inept company that couldn't build the website properly being able to properly protect your private information? "Encryption"? That's your answer. If they can't competently build the site, how on earth could they competently protect personal information? .... ...
    ---------
    A different, outside company was brought in to oversee the web site fix. As far as encruption goes, if you listened to someone who actually knows something about computers, then you would better understand encryption."

    I understand what encryption is. It's the process to make things unreadable to a hacker. Come to think of it, that is probably the only thing they could do...make things unreadable. ;)

    Perhaps you can further explain how you trust that they will have proper encryption schemes when they can't even build the site properly. Why do you feel so comfortable just because a new company has come in to oversee the website fix? If the first one they chose did this job, what gives you the confidence in the new company? Oh, and encryption by the new company might be great, but what about the encryption for the people that already signed up? Do you think their information is safe?

    I fully admit that I don't know a lot about encryption but I do know a little bit about it so please explain more to me other than a one-word "encryption" answer.

    October 28, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. rs

    You know Righties- it is very different to have a problem with a web site than with the program accessed via the web site. Honestly, do you all think that a problem with the ACA's website some how equates your party's attempt to take down the government and economy of the United States of America, only two weeks ago? Do you think these issues are somehow equitable?
    The web site will get fixed. The GOP goes merrily on its way- Graham blocking appointements, Cruz- talking about another vote to recind the ACA; Texas abridging women's rights; Boehner- hey anyone see him? The GOP is the TRAINWRECK, not the ACA. Your popularity is somewhere south of a colonoscopy for most Americans. Chatting up a web site problem does not fix your toxic nature- witness NC Republicans just last week. Blowing $24 billion to demonstrate your hatred of America will not be quickly forgotten- and that gentlemen is your real problem.

    October 28, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. Wilson

    "Answer: encryption. Hacked in the movies; in real life, never."

    ----------
    Bull. There is no such thing as an "UN-hackable" encryption.
    $

    October 28, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    tom l. wrote

    Perhaps you can further explain how you trust that they will have proper encryption schemes when they can't even build the site properly. Why do you feel so comfortable just because a new company has come in to oversee the website fix? If the first one they chose did this job, what gives you the confidence in the new company? Oh, and encryption by the new company might be great, but what about the encryption for the people that already signed up? Do you think their information is safe?

    I fully admit that I don't know a lot about encryption but I do know a little bit about it so please explain more to me other than a one-word "encryption" answer.
    ----------------
    I admonished you a week ago about talking about stuff that you know absolutely nothing about. Since you couldn't figure it out the answer to your question on your own, I guess I have to speel it out for you. ,, ,, again. You are confusing two different companies.and conflating them into one.

    "Nice try, but you gotcha self."

    October 28, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. Ken

    They might be trying to protect the unnamed model from being hounded. Maybe she asked to be removed.

    October 28, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. ireuel

    It will be soon replaced with the "I didn't know anything about anything cartoon character" named Barry the Blamer. That just repeats "What Buck". Bummer man the only good thing about the site was her. So glad I got maternity insurance, just in case I get pregos. Now that's funny right there.

    October 28, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. PeterD

    The Affordable Care Act is so Bogus and Phony that even Computer Website refuse to Implement this Pathetic Law.

    October 28, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  10. Data Driven

    Tom,

    Those who specialize in writing encryption code are very good at what they do. You worry too much, especially given the fact that health insurers share your health info already without benefit of health care dot gov.

    October 28, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. Ol' Yeller

    The website will get fixed and these righties on here (some who seem to have just appeared out of the ether) will either disappear or move onto their next set of talking points provided by rush and faux news, completely ignoring or refusing to accept they were/are wrong. The hypocrites on here complaining about the cost of the website to the taxpayer are the same sheeple that supported cruz and House republicants in their failed government shutdown which cost the American taxpayers billions just yesterday (and we got zilch for it- not even a website with a few glitches). Yet here they are today complaining that Obamacare is bad yet it isn't getting to the people fast enough and the Dems have wasted 150 to 600 million (according to the embellisher).
    tom I- I did not have to sign up for the healthcare as I receive it through my employer. My cost went up (Wait a second before for you do your little happy dance), however it has went up dramatically each and every year for the past 15 years and this was the least amount of increase I have can remember. Whether it is due to the ACA or not, I do not know, but I have never been one to complain about a cost or tax going up if it actually helps those less fortunate or benefits me (which the ACA will do both). Taxes being 'too high' is a myth. Taxes, as related to the benefit gained, is usually a pretty good deal (if you don't believe me, build your own road to work).

    October 28, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. mkuske

    Here's an educated guess. Most stock photos like this don't come from the US. The Obama administration probably doesn't want to admit that the face of Obamacare is actually some woman from the Ukraine. The political optics of that fact just wouldn't go over well. The media while looking for Glitch Girl have been looking in all the wrong places. They need to look outside the US.

    October 28, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. IT guy

    Working in IT for 20 years now, I run into political extremest of both bents in this group. I wouldn't put it past some of the developers and programs to have done this on purpose... I think we need an investigation.

    October 28, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. Data Driven

    @Wilson,

    Looking forward to all your examples of 14-year-old hackers busting 64-bit code. I like exciting science fiction!

    October 28, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Wilson

    "Answer: encryption. Hacked in the movies; in real life, never."

    Bull. There is no such thing as an "UN-hackable" encryption.
    --------------------------
    Yes, there is. If it would take you hundreds of thousands of lifetimes to try all of the permutations on the encryption key, then it is effectively unhackable. Encryptions are broken when the encryption key is compromised, which is not the same as "hacking."

    October 28, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    IT guy

    Working in IT for 20 years now, I run into political extremest of both bents in this group. I wouldn't put it past some of the developers and programs to have done this on purpose... I think we need an investigation.
    ----------------------
    I share that same suspicion. The inability to be design for, or woefully underestimate, a worst case scenario for traffic volume is highly troubling. I would compare it to building a 100 lane bridge that only has two lanes for toll booths.

    October 28, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. Ol' Yeller

    @IT guy - "I wouldn't put it past some of the developers and programs to have done this on purpose... I think we need an investigation."

    I'm sure Issa will jump right on that in one of his 'investigations'. If a programmer took the stand and testified they had sabotaged the entire system due to their political stand against the ACA, the only thing that would happen would be the hearing would abruptly end (like all those before them when it wasn't panning out the way he wanted- the IRS hearings, the Fast and Furious hearings, the Benghazi hearings.... all for naught). Where are the 'wasting taxpayer money' people on this subject? (crickets- it only counts if Dems do it)

    October 28, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. jkingqm

    Wilson, there is one mathematically proven unbreakable encryption. It's called a one-time pad.

    October 28, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. Data Driven

    @mkuske,

    "Here's an educated guess. Most stock photos like this don't come from the US. The Obama administration probably doesn't want to admit that the face of Obamacare is actually some woman from the Ukraine. The political optics of that fact just wouldn't go over well. The media while looking for Glitch Girl have been looking in all the wrong places. They need to look outside the US."

    Oh man, you are so right. Get Issa on the case! Where did the mysterious Obamacare Girl come from? WE DEMAND ANSWERS

    October 28, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. nomad2003

    the site is a reflection of the whole bill... ACA (Obamacare or Democare)
    Causing millions to lose their insurance. Guess that is one way to get more to buy new and drive traffic to the web site.

    October 28, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. PeterD

    I told President Obama to Outsource the development of Website to India rather than his Ex ACORN Members. But Boy Does He ever Listen?

    October 28, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Silence DoGood

    The Tea-hats are hoping to shut this down before it works. Can you imagine if this gets fixed and it (gulp) WORKS?
    Will they say "sorry"? More like "um ...um um.....birth certificate...um ... "

    October 28, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. Gmen

    She was done in by the Death Squad, if not why is she missing?

    October 28, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Data Driven

    @nomad2003,

    "Causing millions to lose their insurance."

    Prove?

    October 28, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. $$$$

    Last month you guys ridiculed Ted Cruz for standing up against Obamacare. When Democrats rose up in unison to protect Obamacare, they fell in to the trap that Cruz set for them. Now every Democrat in Washington has OBAMACARE"
    tattooed across their forehead. The November 2014 elections can't get here soon enough.

    October 28, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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