Days before launch, was crashing with load of just 500 simulated test users

Saturday, December 07, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags:, Obamacare, website launch

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(NaturalNews) Under normal circumstances, companies set to launch a major new interactive website that will offer a product or service to tens of millions of people test that site repeatedly to ensure that it functions properly.

But the federal government is not a company, so that's not what happened with

In fact, days before the site launched, officials were concerned that it would bomb - concern that had actually lingered for months. But because the site represented the crowning achievement of President Obama, officials were told to move forward with the launch anyway, and the rest is, as they say, history.

Here's the story.

'I don't want a repeat' of an earlier website 'meltdown'

As reported by Reuters:

In the last days before the botched October 1 launch of President Barack Obama's healthcare website, the team in charge was seeing alarming results from performance tests, according to internal emails released by Republican lawmakers investigating the rollout. was unable to consistently handle 500 users at once in the testing, and tests failed with 2,000 users over a three-day period, according to a series of emails between members of the information technology team at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS.

"I do not want a repeat of what happened near the end of December 2005 where Medicare.Gov had a meltdown," said Henry Chao, the website's project manager at CMS, who wrote in capital letters in an urgent message on September 26 to his agency team and contractors.

He was referencing a bad launch of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program passed into law during President George W. Bush's administration. Technical problems prevented a number of senior citizens from accessing the website (sound familiar?).

Well, several years later, government ineptitude regarding website construction continues unabated. Seems like the geniuses "running things" in D.C. are incapable of learning from mistakes. That, and the bureaucracy is so thick and arcane that it's a wonder the whole system doesn't seize up from the mental inertia.

Chao's emails, which were released to the press by the Republican majority on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, are just the latest illustrating that the Obamacare website was a disaster-in-waiting. The site has frustrated Americans who have tried to sign up for health insurance, as required by law, because it is rife with problems that the administration swears will be fixed by Nov. 30 (though they didn't say which year).

The press has framed the "troubled roll-out" of the website as merely embarrassing to Obama and his minions in government, but the fact is that Americans are more than simply "troubled" by Obamacare in general.

They are ticked off that the president lied to them repeatedly about being able to keep their current health plans. They are angry that the president lied that plans would cost $2,500 less. They are miffed that they won't be able to keep their own doctors, again as Obama said they could.

And the health exchange website doesn't work, either.

All of this raises questions not only about the president's veracity (he's a serial liar) but about the government's ability to "run" something so vast and complex as the nation's healthcare system.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz did his job and tried to spin the problems as he accused the GOP of using "cherry-picked" emails to demonstrate how woefully unprepared the website was for launch.

"To the extent that CMS had identified capacity issues, we of course sought assurances that they were getting addressed," Schultz said. "But, as is well-known, nobody anticipated the severity of the problems we experienced once the site launched."

The site was never going to work

Well, gee, it isn't as if Chao and his team didn't warn the administration well in advance.

The New York Times reported that Chao, in March, "told industry executives that he was deeply worried about the Web site's debut. 'Let's just make sure it's not a third-world experience,' he told them."

But because of White House (read Obama) arrogance, Chao's warnings were ignored:

Confidential progress reports from the Health and Human Services Department show that senior officials repeatedly expressed doubts that the computer systems for the federal exchange would be ready on time, blaming delayed regulations, a lack of resources and other factors.

The Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, warned in June that many challenges had to be overcome before the Oct. 1 rollout.

But Mr. Chao's superiors at the Department of Health and Human Services told him, in effect, that failure was not an option, according to people who have spoken with him. ... Former government officials say the White House, which was calling the shots, feared that any backtracking would further embolden Republican critics who were trying to repeal the health care law
[emphasis added].

The website was never going to work. Despite the government spending hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money on its development, it still was not ready. And there's no telling, with 500 million lines of code, just how long it will take to actually fix (if it will ever be fixed). That's more than 20 times the amount of code used by Facebook and 10 times the amount used in Windows 8.


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