The White House's man responsible for curing the Obamacare website tech disaster vowed Friday that the HealthCare.gov site is "fixable," and "will operate smoothly for the vast majority of users" by the end of November.
"It's going to take a lot of work, and some time, but there's a clear path," Jeff Zients told reporters on a conference call about the troubled health insurance marketplace site, whose many problems have prevented many people from enrolling in coverage. "Each week, HealthCare.gov will get faster and better."
"Let me be clear: HealthCare.gov is fixable," said Zients, who announced a new "general contractor" will oversee the aggressive push to repair that site.
That contractor is UnitedHealth Group subsidiary QSSI, which has already built the site's federal data hub, a core function that unlike the rest of HealthCare.gov is said to be working as designed.
QSSI's appointment is a clear slap in the face both to CGI Federal, which was the primary contractor in building HealthCare.gov, and to the site's operator, the federal Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services. CMS was responsible for making sure the components built by separate contractors worked together.
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"They are familiar with the complexity of the system . . . they have the skills and expertise to address these problems right now," said CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille about QSSI.
Bataille's agency has been faulted for doing end-to-end testing of HealthCare.gov just two weeks—or less—before its Oct. 1 launch, and for launching the site even after tests revealed serious software problems that became even worse with thousands of actual visitors.