I have been critical of www.healthcare.gov since I first used the web site in 2010. It sure looked like I was the only person who had tried to use it and I can say that it did not improve with age. Two weeks ago I had to chuckle when Mr. Zients announced that “by the end of November, HealthCare.gov will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.” Since his claim violates much of my personal experience and knowledge of software design and development, I was skeptical that they could fix www.healthcare.gov by November 30th. When a project like www.healthcare.gov makes the transition from development mode to maintenance mode, fixing problems on the fly while customers are using the system is difficult and risky. I am not saying the healthcare.gov folks cannot do this but experienced IT guys will remind anyone still listening that they have been there, done that, and have the cuts and bruises to show for it. I hate to say I told you so but CBS is reporting in “Memo warned of "limitless" security risks for HealthCare.gov” that:
Chao said he was unaware of a Sept. 3 government memo written by another senior official at CMS. It found two high-risk issues, which are redacted for security reasons. The memo said "the threat and risk potential (to the system) is limitless." The memo shows CMS gave deadlines of mid-2014 and early 2015 to address them.
I can think of only one reason that Mr. Chao was unaware of the memo, somebody did not want Mr. Chao to know the extent and gravity of the problems. Management failure is a dish best served cold. Good luck, Mr. Zients!