Website repair shop like a rocket launch, says insider
December 2nd, 2013
10:25 AM ET
9 months ago

Website repair shop like a rocket launch, says insider

(CNN) – The Maryland office where government contractors toiled away to repair the broken HealthCare.gov website was like "a scaled-down control center for some sort of launch of a rocket," according to a tech expert who toured the facility.

John Engates, chief technology officer at tech firm Rackspace Hosting, toured the operation at QSSI, a firm charged with organizing the website fixes, a week ago, as the December 1 deadline for getting HealthCare.gov working bore down.

"It is kind of smaller than you'd imagine that NASA control center, but it's much the same design," Engates told CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta Friday on "The Lead."

"It's got those desks and everybody's got a phone and a couple computers on the desk and they've got big screens on the wall where they're monitoring the health and uptime of that website and paying very close attention to how well it's performing," he continued.

The administration has kept the facility closed to news organization's cameras, inviting only print reporters and tech experts to tour the facility.

On Sunday, White House officials claimed they had met their deadline for getting the health website working, saying response times had been cut down and capacity increased to allow 50,000 users concurrently.

Jeffrey Zients, the official tasked with managing the repair work, said Sunday the team conducting the repairs was functioning more like an independent firm than a government entity.

"We needed to get the team working with the speed and urgency of a high performing private sector tech company," he said.

Zients and other officials say glitches remain to be fixes–and Engates told CNN the site could still fail if demand reaches unanticipated levels.

"I don't think anyone can predict with 100% certainty what that traffic is going to look like," he said. "It's very hard to predict, especially given the publicity that's going on right now."


Filed under: Obamacare
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Oops, sorry Rudy, my response came up Anonymous cuz I cleared my browser, etc., hehe

    December 2, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    Hmmmmm.... seems that the insurance companies are taking calls from people that "think" they've been successfully enrolled, only to find out that the insurer has no clue what they're talking about. Little problem on the data collect / data transmission?

    December 2, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @A True Conservative
    I guess pols really can buy votes with promises of more "free stuff" from the public treasury.......

    Yeah, like Cheney spoon feeding the "defense" industry and the oil barons.

    December 2, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. anonymous

    how can the liberals claim there are not death panels when you have the ipab and this law has just started to be jammed down our throats? they also claimed we'd keep our plan if we liked it, period, keep our doctor, period, keep our hospital, period, we're going to pay less, and on and on. all lies and they knew they were lies.

    when that ipab panel decides who gets treatment and who does not, when they decide certain treatments will not be covered, the bottom line is that they are picking winners (who will receive treatment and live) and losers (who will not receive treatment and may very well die because of it). they already said that 280 million americans need to lose so that 30 million could benefit. same darn thing will happen with treatment. older people will be getting tossed to the healthcare curb.

    December 2, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Anonymous

    "Your estimattion makes what I think is a fatal assumption. What makes you think that sign up is going to evenly distributed across time? "

    This is why I used an AVERAGE and then inflated my estimate to 12 hours per person. It may take one person 3 hours and another 21. The average is still 12.
    ------------------------
    That's not what I consider to be good engineering. You are always supposed to design for the "worst case scenario".

    December 2, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. Ol' Yeller

    "when that ipab panel decides who gets treatment and who does not, when they decide certain treatments will not be covered, the bottom line is that they are picking winners"

    You could just easilit write this sentence like this....
    when that insurance company decides who gets treatment and who does not, when they decide certain treatments will not be covered, the bottom line is that they are only looking out for their profits.

    December 2, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "when that ipab panel decides who gets treatment and who does not, when they decide certain treatments will not be covered, the bottom line is that they are picking winners (who will receive treatment and live) and losers (who will not receive treatment and may very well die because of it)."

    When the IPAB actually gets statutory authority to do anything other than make RECOMMENDATIONS that then go to Congress for consideration (i.e., your representative stands between them and their recommendations becoming law), I'll be sure to let you know. Until then...yawn.

    BTW, "Just,"...at least have the decency to sockpuppet under a clever name or maybe apologize when you accidentally post anonymously.

    December 2, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. barryinlasvegas

    This is all you need to know.
    New York Times December 1, 2013
    “Until the enrollment process is working from end to end, many consumers will not be able to enroll in coverage,” said Karen M. Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group.
    For insurers the process is maddeningly inconsistent. Some people clearly are being enrolled. But insurers say they are still getting duplicate files and, more worrisome, sometimes not receiving information on every enrollment taking place.
    “Health plans can’t process enrollments they don’t receive,” said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans.

    December 2, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    anonymous

    how can the liberals claim there are not death panels when you have the ipab and this law has just started to be jammed down our throats? they also claimed we'd keep our plan if we liked it, period, keep our doctor, period, keep our hospital, period, we're going to pay less, and on and on. all lies and they knew they were lies.
    ------------------–
    Easy. How can conservatives claim that a panel of two dozen people can make millions of health care decisions on a daily basis? How can millions of consrvative voters be so stupid as to believe that lie? See? I told you it was easy.

    December 2, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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