Obamacare tech workers will toil on Thanksgiving
There'll be no Thanksgiving holiday for the tech team trying to fix this turkey of a website.
Software engineers, managers and other tech experts will be toiling away Thursday on repairs to the federal Obamacare insurance marketplace, HealthCare.gov, as most of the country sits down for their Thanksgiving dinners, officials said.
"That team will continue to work 24/7," said Julie Bataille, spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that operates the tech-troubled website.
"This is a very busy week, and we have a lot of fixes and upgrades planned for the system."
"Our tech team will continue to be available, 24/7, monitoring the site and putting fixes in place," she told reporters Monday during a conference call.
(Read more: GoHealth launches Obamacare enrollment workaround)
Those techies will be on the job even as the customer service representatives for HealthCare.gov's phone call-in service take the holiday off.
And they'll have their work cut out for them.
Bataille and other federal officials have repeatedly vowed that the "tech surge," which began in mid-October, to fix HealthCare.gov would have that insurance exchange running "smoothly for the vast majority of users" by this Sunday, just three days after Thanksgiving.
Bataille said that by Sunday the site will be able to handle 50,000 users at one time, which was the volume it was originally planned to handle before its belly flop of a launch on Oct. 1.
But glitches continue to plague the site.
(Read more: Two more Obamacare delays)
On Monday, HealthCare.gov's application and enrollment system experienced an unscheduled outage for about an hour, Bataille said. The day before, she said, there was "latency or slowness" experienced by some users because of other tech problems.
Bataille said that as fixes continue being made, it is likely they will find additional glitches and that users will see "intermittent periods where the system may be slow or not responsive."
"The system will not work perfectly on Dec. 1, but will operate much better than it did in October," she said.
HealthCare.gov is selling Obamacare insurance plans to the residents of the 36 states that are not operating their own insurance exchanges.
But the federally run website's multiple software problems made it impossible for many users to create accounts and enroll in insurance plans for weeks after it launched, dramatically depressing overall enrollment figures.
The Obama administration had been aiming to have about 7 million people enrolled in plans sold by all of the government-run exchanges by the close of enrollment on March 31, the deadline for which most people must have health coverage or face a tax penalty.
But as of this month, only an estimated 200,000 or so people nationally had enrolled, casting that goal into serious question.
—By CNBC's Dan Mangan. Follow him on Twitter @_DanMangan