White House wants to improve government websites
August 11th, 2014
01:30 PM ET
4 months ago

White House wants to improve government websites

Edgartown, Mass. (CNN) - The White House is putting the team of technology experts that helped revive the balky HealthCare.gov website to work, improving other government webpages, officials announced Monday.

The U.S. Digital Service, comprised of private and public sector technology experts, will help make websites of federal agencies and departments more user-friendly, accommodating the widespread desire among Americans to conduct business online.

The team will be led by Mikey Dickerson, a former Google engineer who left the tech giant last year to help improve the health care website after it crashed spectacularly upon its launch in October.

A team of experts from technology companies helped turn around the site, which eventually accommodated a surge in insurance sign-ups over the course of the six-month enrollment period. Final numbers indicated Obamacare enrollments surpassed 8 million people.

The White House wants to harness some of the success of that effort, applying the same principles to other federal government websites that are outdated, non-user friendly, or both.

"The same dynamic that drove the [initial] outcome of HealthCare.gov is present in other places," said Steven VanRoekel, the federal chief information officer in President Barack Obama's Office of Management and Budget. "We're showing agencies: here's another way. Here's a new way to approach these things."

The new team, housed with the OMB, will eventually number around 25. Private sector experts will be joined by workers with experience navigating the complicated system of federal regulations that government websites must adhere to.

"When we look across where we want to gather expertise, it comes from multiple places. But the big push here is to bring in people from the private sector," VanRoekel said, describing the desire to find "21st century" approaches to the government's digital properties.

The larger goal for the group, officials said, was to rethink the way Americans interact with federal agencies – eventually taking on challenges facing call centers and physical mail.

There's "opportunity beyond just websites," VanRoekel said.


Filed under: Obamacare • President Obama
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Finally! Our government is stepping into the 21st century. I can't wait to hear the republican criticism on this.

    August 11, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Say WHAT???

    White House wants to improve government websites
    --

    "I'm from the government and I am here to fix you."

    BTW, we still have never heard that the Obamacare web site actually got finished and fixed completely. Is it taking payments yet? Is it able to accurately tell people what their subsidy will be? Where is the status report on this disaster or have they all moved on to the newer Obama disasters?

    August 11, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    No need to work on improving government websites until Republicans learn to master the telegraph and rotary dial phones.

    August 11, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. definitely

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House Finally! Our government is stepping into the 21st century. I can't wait to hear the republican criticism on this.

    August 11, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |

    How about this, obama, always leading from behind! Ta Da!

    August 11, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. old age voter

    technology experts???? Hope their not the same ones that put the Democratic Party Health Care website that cost 800 million plus to develop and still does not work correctly! What a joke this will be, more taxpayer money wasted..

    August 11, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. old age voter

    Make the Democratic Party pay for it; take the money out of the Democratic Party election funds if White House wants to improve government websites.

    August 11, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    old age voter

    Make the Democratic Party pay for it; take the money out of the Democratic Party election funds if White House wants to improve government websites.
    ----------------------–
    Sure, provided the Republican Party agrees to pay for the Iraq War and the long term care for injured veterans. Deal?

    August 11, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. definitely

    Tampa Tim No need to work on improving government websites until Republicans learn to master the telegraph and rotary dial phones.

    August 11, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |

    Would help if liberal stop using stone walls to paint symbols on!

    August 11, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "or have they all moved on to the newer Obama disasters?"

    Yeah, like 20 million people having obtained insurance coverage via the ACA and states watching their uninsured rates plummet and industry analysts and large insurance giants all reporting that premiums WON'T be skyrocketing in 2015...it's all so horrifying!!!!

    August 11, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. it must be said

    Sniffit
    Yeah, like 20 million people having obtained insurance coverage via the ACA
    ---

    Article claims 8 million, Sniffit claims 20 million. So who is lying?

    August 11, 2014 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "White House wants to improve government websites"

    And GOPers/Teatrolls want gov't to fail and be broken so they can be "proven" right, so yeah, have fun getting them to agree to this instead of just screeching like banshees about spending, waste, and how unfair it is for wealthy white people to have to pay taxes.

    August 11, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. Longtimer

    Do pay attention. The site(s) are fixed, and in states where the program exists, or where the federal one applies, more than 11 million Americans now have access to health insurance- the greatest increase on record countering the last decade where more than 8 million Americans lost access.

    I realize this is a great disappointment to the those on the Right who want to strip Americans of such access, but I am sure you'll find some other dark-ages cause to promote.

    August 11, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. rs

    The US. Government is the greatest producer of public access information and data, and the U.S. Government Printing Office is the largest publisher in the world. The array of data, reports, and information available (increasingly via the Web) is of tremendous value to Americans, whether they be students, teachers, researchers, or just folks looking for basic verifiable information. This is the sort of information-based material that helps drive better education, more commerce, and scientific research that represents the positive side of what the federal government is all about.
    This is something every citizen ought to support.

    August 11, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. rs

    old age voter

    Make the Democratic Party pay for it; take the money out of the Democratic Party election funds if White House wants to improve government websites.
    ______________________
    Sure, because Republicans don't need information to make their decisions, right?

    August 11, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. Tom l

    Sniffit says:
    August 11, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm
    “White House wants to improve government websites”

    And GOPers/Teatrolls want gov’t to fail and be broken so they can be “proven” right, so yeah, have fun getting them to agree to this instead of just screeching like banshees about spending, waste, and how unfair it is for wealthy white people to have to pay taxes.
    --–

    And you had the audacity to say that non dems/liberals mis characterize dems positions. That's all you do and all you got now after another problem with the current administration.

    August 11, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. just asking

    I'm sure this will only cost use a paltry trillion dollars given how much the obamacare web site fiasco cost taxpayers. huge federal government, 20 years after the entire world does something, decides it is not a passing fad.

    August 11, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    smith

    @Sniffit- Mischarcterizing? I hardly think so. You sound like repub trying to deny the split in the GOP. Its there, denial won`t change that.
    --------------------------
    And, what exactly are Democrats supposed to be split over? If Democrats are so split, then why are they so overwhelmingly behind not only Hillary Clinton, but they're also behind the president's policies and agenda. Folks around here point that out everyday be referring to Democrats as brain washed, Obamabots, etc. But, aren't people allowed to disagree on stuff once in a while?

    Nah, you're just trying to manufacture a controversy where none really exists.

    August 11, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. salty dog

    Why doesn't dick Cheney, and George w pay for the wars the need for more va funding, they were the ones who just so happened to get very wealthy over this war, I can only imagine the things the rwnj would say if it were a Democrat who lied and got thousands killed, while! enriching themselves, beyong belief no less.

    August 11, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Yeah, like 20 million people having obtained insurance coverage via the ACA
    -

    Article claims 8 million, Sniffit claims 20 million. So who is lying?"

    The article was quite clearly talking about the number who had signed up via the federal exchange by the end of MARCH, which was 8M. New England Journal of Medicine just recently had an article by some experts showing that the total number of people who have obtained insurance coverage via the ACA is 20M, which includes state exchanges and Medicaid expansion, etc. It's measuring two different things. I'm sorry you're too underinformed to understand that.

    August 11, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "And you had the audacity to say that non dems/liberals mis characterize dems positions. That's all you do and all you got now after another problem with the current administration."

    I'm not mischaracterizing anything. GOPers/Teatrolls are largely driven by white fright, race resentment over dwindling white power and privilege and existential partisan angst over demographic shifts. It's not rocket science and it's not fairy tales. Their behavior and words give them away over and over and over and over and over and over again. There's no mystery here, Sparky. I've consistently and repeatedly listed myriad examples of the proof and the lists are looooong, without ever even approaching being exhaustive rundowns of everything that the GOP/Teatrolls have done since November 4, 2008 to prove to the world that some truly deranged and angry white people are driving their clown car.

    August 11, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. sonny chapman

    It takes $ to do that. I'm sure THIS Congress(Power of the Purse) will be happy to provide $ to try & make Govt. work better.
    Nooooo ! That might make Obama look good.

    August 11, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    "I'm not mischaracterizing anything. GOPers/Teatrolls are largely driven by white fright, race resentment over dwindling white power and privilege and existential partisan angst over demographic shifts."
    -------
    Teatroll Rosetta something something demographic armageddon blah blah something something...

    August 11, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. jerome

    The White House site uses canvas fingerprinting developed by AddThis, a new kind tracking technology that is nearly impossible to block using conventional privacy tools.

    No wonder Obama wants to update all the government web sites.

    August 11, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. smith

    @Rudy-The split is between progressives and traditional dems. More and more we hearing Warren`s name being thrown out by progressives for potus. Why do you think Sanders is getting attention? Not all Dems are behind Obama. You ask what they split over ? Guns, immigration, Israel, and foreign policy.

    August 11, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  25. Chris..E.Al

    I think they should focus on more computers for public libraries instead for the kids to use .

    August 11, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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