If Amazon.com worked for 80% of its customers, Jeff Bezos would be publicly apologizing and the chief tech guru would be writing his resume.
This morning the White House had a conference call announcing “mission accomplished,” Heathcare.gov was working 80% of the time.
Jeff Zients, the White House official appointed to fix the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov since its disastrous rollout last month, said the site is “night and day from what it was on Nov. 1.”
Julie Bataille, a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesperson, said the site is “vastly improved,” compared to where it was five weeks ago. Still, she acknowledged more work needs to be done. “This is not a magic moment,” she said.
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Indeed it wasn’t magic. Zients didn’t talk about the fact the site still passes along partial or incorrect information to the insurance companies and the back-end part which pays the insurance companies still isn’t up and running.
Questions also remain about the website’s ability to direct payments to private insurance companies when consumers enroll in their plans. Portions of the system handling those functions are still being built, officials say.
“The real tests are: Were my premium payment and subsidy accurately calculated? Am I getting the coverage I signed up for? If my income situation changes, will the reconciliation occur in a timely fashion?” said Rick Howard, a research director at technology consultant Gartner.
The Spanish version of Healthcare.gov also isn’t up and running. And according to Congressman Mike Rogers the site doesn’t protect peoples most personal information.
“The most important part of this discussion that nobody talks about,” Rep. Mike Rogers, R- Mich., said on NBC’s Meet the Press, is that “the security of this site” and its ability to safeguard health and income information “does not meet even the minimal standards of the private sector.”
He argued that Americans “should not tolerate the sheer level of incompetence securing this site. And remember how much personal information is not only there, but all of the (federal government data) sites that the (healthcare.gov) hub accesses would expose Americans’ personal information in a way that is breathtakingly bad.”
President Obama recently said he’d consider a “fix” to be successful if 80 percent of the people are able to navigate the site without a major problem. According to Jeff Zients 90% of the people who visit would now be able to use the site (unless of course you need the Spanish version, don’t want your personal info ripped off, want the accurate policy information sent to the insurance companies or want the insurance companies to paid.
Even if you give the President the benefit of the doubt—just imagine the marathon runner who demands the trophy for running 21 miles, or the auto mechanic filling your tires to 80% or even worse, imagine coming out of surgery and your doctor saying it’s time to celebrate because they removed 80% of the cancer, etc.
Healthcare.gov was a failure on October 1 when it opened and it is still a failure (albeit less of a failure). Only in a government bureaucracy could 80% be mission accomplished.