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WASHINGTON (AP) — Crammed into conference rooms with pizza for dinner, some programmers building the Obama administration's showcase health insurance website were growing increasingly stressed. Some worked past 10 p.m., energy drinks in hand. Others rewrote computer code over and over to meet what they considered last-minute requests for changes from the government or other contractors.
As questions mount over the website's failure, insider interviews and a review of technical specifications by The Associated Press found a mind-numbingly complex system put together by harried programmers who pushed out a final product that congressional investigators said was tested by the government and not private developers with more expertise...
..Project developers for the health care website who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity — because they feared they would otherwise be fired or have their goats stolen — said they raised doubts among themselves whether the website could be ready in time. They complained openly to each other about what they considered tight and unrealistic deadlines. One was nearly brought to tears over the stress of finishing on time, one developer said. Website builders saw red flags for months.
A review of internal architectural diagrams obtained by the AP revealed the system's complexity. Insurance applicants have a host of personal information verified, including income and immigration status. The system connects to other federal computer networks, including ones at the Social Security Administration, IRS, Veterans Administration, Office of Personnel Management and the Peace Corps...
..The government spent at least $394 million in contracts to build the federal health care exchange and the data hub. Those contracts included major awards to Virginia-based CGI Federal Inc., Maryland-based Quality Software Services Inc. and Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.
CGI Federal said in a statement Monday it was working with the government and other contractors "around the clock" to improve the system, which it called "complex, ambitious and unprecedented."
The schematics from late 2012 show how officials designated a "data services hub" — a traffic cop for managing information — in lieu of a design that would have allowed state exchanges to connect directly to government servers when verifying an applicant's information. On Sunday, the Health and Human Services Department said the data hub was working but not meeting public expectations: "We are committed to doing better."
Administration officials so far have refused to say how many people actually have managed to enroll in insurance during the three weeks since the new marketplaces became available...
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How difficult is it to build a website?
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i'm surprised they wanted to verify all that inter-government data on the website
I assumed it'd be more like the "honor system" of IRS tax collection, with a yearly percentage of people being investigated to scare others into being honest
Let's be brutally honest here -- they probably knew that there were going to be problems, but politically they couldn't postpone the roll-out. There's no way that was going to happen. Better to just put it out into the wild and deal with the problems. It's not the end of the world. No website launches without a hitch.
Every day I fight for you. I tell them how smart you are. Turns out, I was wrong. You people are stupid.
-- Dave Chappelle
I get that this is a bad thing, and they should've handled it better, but as a software engineer myself, I can only think: "Every launch ever"
Time flies like the wind,
and fruit flies like a banana.
you get what you pay for, you can't expect quality when you go with the lowest bidder
2013 megatons - 3DS redesign with no 3D, WiiU flops, DS player for WiiU, no new PS or Xbox, MH4 flops
2014 megatons - Vita MHP4, Nintendo goes 3rd party
Probably a better idea is to start from scratch. I guess they should bring in the people that build kayak and other aggregate sites?
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free to play website games always suck
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