The administration wants the Affordable Care Act's website repaired by early November.
... That goal struck many contractors as unrealistic, at least for major components of the system. Some specialists working on the project said the online system required such extensive repairs that it might not operate smoothly until after the Dec. 15 deadline for people to sign up for coverage starting in January, although that view is not universally shared.
In interviews, experts said the technological problems of the site went far beyond the roadblocks to creating accounts that continue to prevent legions of users from even registering. Indeed, several said, the login problems, though vexing to consumers, may be the easiest to solve. One specialist said that as many as five million lines of software code may need to be rewritten before the Web site runs properly.
“The account creation and registration problems are masking the problems that will happen later,” said one person involved in the repair effort. ...NYT
The federal agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid had the ACA added to their territory but had no expertise in managing the blending of software necessary for their new oversight job. Anyone who has worked in projects that require public sector agencies to work with a variety of often rival private sector contractors will probably be familiar with the problem.
A part of the system, hidden from users, draws data from several federal and state databases to determine if consumers qualify for coverage and then calculates the subsidies for which they may be eligible. Another part of the system sends enrollment data to insurers. Several people involved in the project say that problems like those of the last three weeks are not uncommon when software from several companies is combined into a large, complex system. ...NYT
Maybe it's a matter of large, proud IT industry contractors screwing up. That thought crossed my mind when I found that a United Healthcare IT group is part of the mix.
As the Times describes the situation, CGI Federal has been "responsible for the architecture of major parts of the system, but not for its integration." Though "integration" (apparently the main cause of the ACA website's problems) is part of CGI's NYSE description.
The United Healthcare unit -- QSSI -- is responsible for integration and "identity management," both of which seem to be at the core of the flaws at the website.