#FAILFriday: Obamacare Website

obamacare website failing

Comedian W. Kamau Bell poking fun at the Obamacare website’s struggles

By Thomas Lashier

Happy Friday to everyone out there! And if you’re an employee of CGI Federal, the contractor who designed the new Obamacare website, Healthcare.gov, you’re probably drinking pretty heavily right now. Every Friday, we pick on a product that failed to take off for one reason or another. Typically, we stick to marketing-related fails, but today we we veer off that path to pick on the government.

The government’s Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) website was supposed to make signing up for healthcare a simple, painless process. A majority of those who have tried using the website in the past month would likely opt for a root canal instead of suffering through the problematic site. According to a recent article from TIME, nearly 20 million Americans have now been exposed to the broken site. While initial reports blamed the enormous amount of web traffic for the site’s malfunctions, it is now believed that the actual site design and structure was flawed from the beginning.

The TIME article mentions that part of the website created so much tracking data that it exceeded the site’s capacity to accept login information.  Others have noticed that there are serious security concerns with the Obamacare website. An error message from the site passed along personal information through the internet without any encryption, making that sensitive information vulnerable. For the limited amount of information that has been successfully collected, the structure of the site has made that information almost unusable. The reports that have been received by insurance companies have been filled with errors and duplicate data, forcing those companies to follow up with individual applicants in person.

Experts predict that the White House only has a few weeks to fix the problems before they start to effect the success of health reform. Government officials are hoping to enroll 7 million people in Obamacare by the end of 2014, and if they get substantially less, costs could rise for others in the system.

The situation is still unresolved and even President Obama has voiced his frustrations. “Nobody is madder than me about the fact that the website isn’t working,” he said on Oct. 21. Yesterday, employees of CGI Federal were asked to testify before Congress (video below). CGI employees claim that the government did not give them adequate time to test the system, but government officials claim they saw no reason to delay the launch of the site. New talent is now being recruited from Silicon Valley and other areas to address the above problems.

So why has this site been such an enormous failure so far? Did the government rush the launch? Was the wrong organization put in charge of the website design in the first place? Was the sheer volume of traffic to blame? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! And as always, sign up on the left sidebar to get these articles sent directly to you!


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