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Paula Bolyard


October 18, 2013 - 10:00 am
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Kathleen Sebelius testifies before a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

Sebelius blamed the problems on the popularity of the new healthcare exchanges: “I think it shows there’s pent-up demand.” Sebelius said they would not have been able to identify all the bugs in the system “unless millions of people flooded the marketplace.” Pent-up demand? Pent-up demand is when your team hasn’t been to the World Series in 50 years and tickets go on sale at midnight and 100,000 people flood the Ticketmaster website at the exact same moment to get a coveted ticket. Or on Black Friday after Thanksgiving when Walmart offers a great deal on the latest TV model and shoppers trample one another to be the first to the electronics section. I don’t know about where you live, but here in Ohio, people are not trampling one another to sign up for their forced government health insurance.

According to an internal government memo obtained by the Associated Press, HHS expected 13,300 Ohioans to enroll by the end of the first month. But CareSource, an Ohio insurer, told the Columbus Dispatch that though it has enrollees from six different regions of the state, the company has only seen “double-digit” enrollment to date.

Sebelius said the system had been pressure-tested at five times the highest volume that the website had ever seen.

The Washington Examiner reported that a person familiar with the project, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Obamacare website project suffered from “top-level management disarray, changing systems requirements and recurring delays.”

The root cause of the problems was a pivotal decision by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials to act as systems integrator, the central coordinator for the entire program. Usually this role is reserved for the prime information technology contractor.

As a result, full testing of the site was delayed until four to six days before the fateful Oct. 1 launch of the health care exchanges, the individual said.

IT experts have said that the problems cannot be attributed to overloaded systems alone, as Sebelius and others have asserted.

Jyoti Bansal, the founder of AppDynamics, told the Washington Post,

“That seems like not a very good excuse to me. In sites like these there’s a very standard approach to capacity planning. You start with some basic math. Like, in this case, you look at all the federal states and how many uninsured people they have. Out of those you think, maybe 10 percent would log in in the first day.” Bansal said that you model for the worst case scenario to “come up with your peak of how many people could try to do the same thing at the same time.”

Bansal added, ”It’s a bug in the system, a coding problem.”

wrote about my difficulties logging onto the site a few days after its launch. In addition to the long wait times, I experienced problems with the password and login and pages that led to nowhere. I decided to try again today to see if it is “a whole lot better today than it was two weeks ago,” as Sebelius claimed.

While I didn’t have to wait in line to get to the login page this time, once I entered my login and password, I was taken to this page:


Don’t see it? That’s because the site is not actually working “a whole lot better today than it was two weeks ago.” Once again, it led me down a rabbit hole of white nothingness. I wonder if those individuals Sebelius described as “desperate for affordable health care” are faring better than I did this week.

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In addition to writing for PJ Tatler and PJ Lifestyle, Paula also writes for Ohio Conservative Review,. She is co-author of a new Ebook called, Homeschooling: Fighting for My Children’s Future. Paula describes herself as a Christian first, conservative second, and Republican third. She is also a member of the Wayne County Ohio Executive Committee.

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All Comments   (5)
All Comments   (5)
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So, other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The only things working are the IT guys trying to figure out where they messed up and the spin doctors trying to convince everyone it's not that bad.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I am a family physician in CT and have a direct pay practice. We work directly for our patients, not for the government and not for the insurance companies. In so doing, we provide very affordable primary care: $50/month and $20 a visit. Anyway, I have come across an alternative to Obamacare that some of your readers might be interested in. You might consider spreading the word. Here are 2 links:,9171,1992385,00.html

It seems to me that these programs have the advantage of supporting our freedoms, supporting our faith communities, and undermining Obamacare all at the same time!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Perhaps she means "working as designed." Its a nice little euphemism we use in the sw biz to deflect defects we don't want to resolve. Its similar to, "Sorry you don't like how the app works but that's the way it was intended to function." Clever those software people. We shouldn't be teaching those politicians our tricks.

So just wait until the data losses begin to occur. Sounds like they did a poor job of testing happy path. lol I suspect that fault injection was out scope for version one.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think you may be confused as to what the definition of 'working' is that Ms. Sebelius means. You and many others seem to be thinking that the website 'working' means that it would work in the standard definition of a customer ordering something like they would from Amazon thru their website and the transaction goes as planned.

That isn't the case for Obamacare. Obamacare was designed to screw things up and hurt as many people as possible while funneling money to select preferred groups, like using ACORN as navigators. To that end all is proceeding as planned and the website is working perfectly.

Hope this helps clear up any confusion.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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