Obamacare site still flawed, but staffer points to improvements
November 8th, 2013
03:09 PM ET
9 months ago

Obamacare site still flawed, but staffer points to improvements

Washington (CNN) – Officials overseeing the Obamacare website said it is still prone to errors and slow response times, but it has improved since its disastrous October 1 launch.

A key part of the site will be down over the Veterans Day weekend, including Monday, CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille told reporters on a conference call Friday.

The site “remains a long way from where it needs to be,” according to Jeffrey Zients, the management consultant and once and future White House staffer brought in to oversee fixes.

But he argued they are making it better in each of the five weeks it has been operational. He still hopes it will be operating smoothly by the end of November.

It is by no means perfect yet, however, and that was clear again this week, Zients said.

“The system was very slow and sporadic for many users for significant periods of time during the week. As we put new fixes in, volume is increasing, exposing new storage, capacity and software issues.”

“On both of our key metrics – response times and error rates – were headed in the right direction, but we have a lot of work ahead of us,” he said.

In the first few weeks of operation, he said, users were waiting an average of eight seconds to access each page. That time has been cut to an average of “well below 1 second,” he said.

On the other important metric, Zients said there is now a 2 percent per-page error rate, which he argued is an improvement from the more than 6 percent page error rate users were encountering when the site launched.

The site will be down over the coming holiday weekend, according to the CMS spokeswoman. She said in particular administrators would be tweaking the portion of the hub tied to the IRS that verifies a user’s income.

That means Americans who visit the site will be able to set up an account, log on and shop for insurance. But they’ll have to wait until after the weekend to complete a purchase.

But the outage, according to Zients, will allow administrators to work through a dozen or more of the issues on their punch list.

That punch list – which Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said this week is hundreds of items long – is an evolving thing, according to Zients.

Administrators solve some issues and identify others, he said. He wouldn’t disclose the length of the punch list now.

Zients also revealed more about his role.

He is soon to take a job at the White House as a top economic adviser, but he told reporters that right now he is working as a trustee and without pay. He is spending time both with contractors in the field and at CMS headquarters.

Briefers would not address a report from two Republican Senators that the exchange for the District of Columbia–one of 14 not run by the federal government–has enrolled only five people.

CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille said the agency is focused on giving accurate data, which she said they can’t offer until next week.

She also argued the administration refrain that “there will be a low number of enrollments this first month and that it will ramp up over the course of the enrollment period.”


Filed under: Health care • Obamacare • White House
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "still prone to errors and slow response times"

    So it's pretty much no different than CNN and the rest of the MSM?

    November 8, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    If the Republicans keep dragging the team leaders in for interrogations, then they will have the perfect excuse if they miss Nov. 30.

    November 8, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Sniffit wrote:

    Sniffit

    "still prone to errors and slow response times"

    So it's pretty much no different than CNN and the rest of the MSM?
    -----------------------------
    Should we point out the problems with the CNN web site to them? It's slow. I don't dare go to the "Business" portions of the site because of all of the popup ads. Pages can load quite slowly at times and, on frequent occasion, not at all. This site ain't perfect, either.

    November 8, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  4. ObamaSCAM.gov - Massive FAIL

    The failure of the website is just a small part of the problems Obamacare has started. Many MILLIONS of Americans losing their healthcare plan an ddoctors after Obama promised that would not happen is a major lie and failure. And the costs of the new Obamacare compliant plans are through the roof and people can't afford them. But the big shoe has yet to drop, the TENS OF MILLIONS of Americans that will lose their current healthcare insurance when employers start being forced to comply with Obamacare.

    But all those people signing up for free healthcare at our expense are doing just fine. If they can find any doctors crazy enough to work for the few pennies the government pays them.

    Obama, Reid, Pelosi and all the Democrats have royally screwed over the American people with Obamacare. The Republicans have been 100% right all along.

    November 8, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. Gurgyl

    Can we for a change about WMD, Bush Iraq War, Government Shut-Down. They fix this GLITCH. do not nag like a widow.

    November 8, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. just saying

    Rudy NYC
    Sniffit wrote:
    Sniffit
    "still prone to errors and slow response times"
    So it's pretty much no different than CNN and the rest of the MSM?
    ---------–
    Should we point out the problems with the CNN web site to them? It's slow. I don't dare go to the "Business" portions of the site because of all of the popup ads. Pages can load quite slowly at times and, on frequent occasion, not at all. This site ain't perfect, either.
    --

    bwahahahhaha!!! talk about reaching for straws!!! your desperation is really showing lefties...

    so when are you lefties going to admit the republicans have been right all along and obama has been a pathological liar?

    November 8, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. Long

    Why wasn't the website ready on October 1st?

    November 8, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. Tampa Tim

    For the last 85 years, the republicans have been wrong on every important issue, and try as it may, Fox cannot alter history.

    November 8, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. DPK

    NO EXCUSES
    NO BALANCED BUDGET NO HOLIDAY VACATION
    The President and Congress must do the job we elected them to do.
    Pass a balanced budget.
    They should not take any vacation until it is completed......

    November 8, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    just sayin wrote:

    so when are you lefties going to admit the republicans have been right all along and obama has been a pathological liar?
    ---------------------------–
    If you speak something that you honestly believe in that turns out to be untrue, then it makes you worng, not a liar. People like Karl Rove predicted a Romney victory by a landslide. Many had guaranteed it, like Rove, including yourself. They were all wrong. Are they liars? Does that make you a liar? By your measure, that would be an affirmative.

    November 8, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "bwahahahhaha!!! talk about reaching for straws!!! your desperation is really showing lefties... "

    We're not reaching for anything except laughs, Jethro. Learn to lighten up.

    And now I shall wait several minutes while my comment doesn't even appear with the "your comment is awaiting moderation" but then suddenly appears without it....

    November 8, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. Michael Benjamin

    Don't worry about Zients pay, financially he's doing just fine.

    November 8, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Gurgyl
    Can we for a change about WMD, Bush Iraq War, Government Shut-Down.
    ---

    Yeah!! YEAH!! And while we're at it let's throw in the Viet Nam War, 1970s gas shortage, the failed Iran rescue mission, the Korean War, WWii, WWi and the Spanish American War!! Live in the past much there buddy???

    November 8, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. just saying

    Long
    Why wasn't the website ready on October 1st?
    -–

    it was ready. they testified it was ready. they spent 3 years and hundreds of millions of dollars to get it ready. they even signed up 6 people the first day.

    what makes you think it wasn't ready? you have some real unrealistic expectations there. signing up people into the double digits required the influx of all the web gurus. hundreds of millions of dollars doesn't buy what it used to i guess.

    but michelle obama's college alumni buddy that made millions on the no bid contract sure is laughing all the way to the bank.

    November 8, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    -just saying

    Rudy NYC
    Sniffit wrote:
    Sniffit
    "still prone to errors and slow response times"
    So it's pretty much no different than CNN and the rest of the MSM?
    ---–
    Should we point out the problems with the CNN web site to them? It's slow. I don't dare go to the "Business" portions of the site because of all of the popup ads. Pages can load quite slowly at times and, on frequent occasion, not at all. This site ain't perfect, either.
    -

    bwahahahhaha!!! talk about reaching for straws!!! your desperation is really showing lefties...

    so when are you lefties going to admit the republicans have been right all along and obama has been a pathological liar?
    ******************
    What have you been right about? Not a damn thing. The Right has been on the wrong side of history every time when it really matters. By the way, you must be so proud that the brainchild of the Heritage Foundation was passed into law without any help whatsoever from the GOP. Typical rightie, can't see anything through to the end.

    November 8, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |