“People looked like they were busy,” said Andrew Slavitt, group executive vice president for QSSI and its parent company, Optum, “but it was hard to tell what they were working on and how it fit in.”
But while the contractors were grateful to Mr. Zients for helping to create order, they saw the administration’s “tech surge” — announced by Mr. Obama in the Rose Garden a few days before QSSI took over — as mostly an exercise in public relations.
The announcement conjured images of an army of software engineers descending on the project. In fact, the surge centered on about a half-dozen people who had taken leave from various technology companies to join the effort. They included Michael Dickerson, a site reliability engineer at Google who had also worked on Mr. Obama’s campaign and now draws praise from contractors as someone who is “actually making a difference,” one said.
Even so, one person working on the project said, “Surge was probably an overstatement.”
NYT tries to save some White House face, but there’s not much to be said:
The website, which the administration promised would “function smoothly” for most people by Nov. 30, remains a work in progress. It is more stable, with many more people able to use it simultaneously than just two weeks ago. But it still suffers sporadic crashes, and large parts of the vital “back end” that processes enrollment data and transactions with insurers remain unbuilt. The president, who polls showed was now viewed by a majority of Americans as not trustworthy, has conceded that he needs to “win back” his credibility.
Another round of hardware upgrades and software fixes was planned for Saturday night. Administration officials say they will give a public update about the site’s performance on Sunday morning.
Here’s the update, in case you missed it yesterday.