White House says HealthCare.gov now working for ‘vast majority of users’

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The Washington Post reports HealthCare.gov meets deadline for fixes, White House says:

Administration officials announced Sunday that they had met their Saturday deadline for improving HealthCare.gov after completing a series of hardware upgrades and software fixes to the troubled Web site.

A progress report released Sunday morning by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said: “While we strive to innovate and improve our outreach and systems for reaching consumers, we believe we have met the goal of having a system that will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.” Read the administration report.

Government and outside technical employees have worked round-the-clock for weeks on the fixes so the administration could keep its promise to have the site working smoothly for most people by Nov. 30.

The report served as the basis for a press briefing Sunday morning by Jeffrey Zients, the man President Obama tasked to oversee the fixes.

“The bottom line, HealthCare.gov on Dec. 1 is night and day from where it was on Oct. 1,” when the site was launched, he told reporters.

As a result of the improvements: the average system response time is under 1 second; the error rate is “consistently well below 1 percent”; the online system is stable — not crashing — more than 90 percent of the time; as many as 50,000 shoppers can use the site at the same time, or up to 800,000 visits a day.

At the same time, the report cautioned that more work needs to be done in the weeks and months ahead “to improve and enhance the website and continue to improve the consumer experience.” Officials have also said repeatedly that consumers might still encounter difficulties and urged them to use the call center and seek help from specially trained personnel.

The report also confirms, however, that the administration has yet to meet at least one of its key goals: reducing the average response time of the site to half a second. And government officials, who asked not to be identified in order to discuss ongoing operations, cautioned last week that they will not know if they’ve actually expanded the site’s carrying capacity to 50,000 users at once until they have that many users online in the coming days.

Do you have any idea how many news sites I use that do not come close to an average response time of a half a second? Yet, it is a near certainty that these hypocritical news organizations will focus on any shortcomings or delays in the website, rather than credit the efforts made to improve HealthCare.gov to make it work. It reminds me of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:3: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" Because media villagers judge others, but never admit any fault of their own.

Zients said that workers made more than 400 bug fixes and upgraded the software used for the enrollment process. The results are additional capacity, faster response time and much improved stability on the Web site, he said. About 50 fixes were made Saturday night, Zients said.

Now the system is consistently up over 90 percent of the time, Zients said.

“We have a much more stable system that’s reliably open for business,” he said. “HealthCare.gov can now support intended volumes.”

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The Obama administration has been under intense public and political pressure to meet its self-imposed deadline for correcting the many defects that became apparent when HealthCare.gov opened on Oct. 1. Whether the upbeat assessment in the report and in Sunday’s call with reporters is warranted will only become clear as more Americans try to buy health insurance in coming weeks and months.

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Administration officials have said for several weeks that they define success as having “the vast majority of users” be able to navigate the site and sign up for insurance. While they initially did not define what that meant, White House press secretary Jay Carney said last month that the administration’s aim was to have 80 percent of users be able to enroll through the site. Those working on the project have set speed and error rates as a way of measuring that goal.

Dec. 23 is the deadline to sign up for coverage effective Jan. 1. In anticipation of high volume in the next three weeks, administration officials said they have set up a system to help consumers if they can’t immediately get access to the site during peak demand. If consumers visit the site when it is at capacity, they may leave an e-mail address to receive an e-mail notification from the site with a link that allows them to “go to the front of the queue when they come back to the site,” Zients said.

I previously posted the Arizona Marketplace health care insurance exchange info to help you register.

UPDATE: The Washington Post's Colbert King gets it exactly right in Obamacare — a question of morality: "Drawn into sharp relief is the struggle taking place in this country between doing what is right and good and an unashamed indulgence in the immorality of indifference."

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