The federal Obamacare insurance marketplace's many tech problems were inevitable given the brief time contractors had to build it—but they can be fixed fairly soon at a fraction of the troubled website's cost, the ex-president of software giant Oracle told CNBC.com.
"This is not an intractable problem," Infor CEO Charles Phillips said Tuesday about the government's HealthCare.gov site. "It takes time, but it is fixable ... It's going to take several months, most likely, not years."
"Relative to what they've already spent, it should be a small number," Phillips said of the cost to solve problems at the site, which is selling health insurance to residents of the 36 states not operating their own Obamacare insurance exchanges.
Phillips said primary contractor CGI Federal and the other contractors like his former company Oracle didn't have enough time to properly build and test HealthCare.gov by the Oct. 1 launch date, because they received system requirements from the government only last April.
"I would have been surprised if it had worked on Day One," said Phillips, whose current company provides software used by 23 of the nation's 50 largest public hospitals.
"Given when they got the requirements, this was bound to happen," said Phillips, noting that it is a complex task to build a site from scratch that involves sharing data between multiple government websites that were never designed to work together.
In addition to that, CGI has told Congress, federal officials a month before the launch told contractors to change the design of HealthCare.gov to prevent users from seeing competing insurance plan prices before they created an account, a change that has been blamed for clogging up the site.