With the launch of the healthcare exchanges, technical problems have prevented people from signing up, including yours truly.
Shortly after midnight this morning I decided to head on over to healthcare.gov and see what deals I could find. The first thing I had to do was create an account. On the final stage I was presented with picking three security questions from drop down boxes. Those boxes weren’t populated, so I decided to go ahead and give answers of my own anyways. Once I did that I was hit with the image above.
Does this mean Obamacare is an absolute failure? Not at all. This morning President Obama announced that over 1 million Americans had already signed up on the exchanges. These are people that were successful in getting through. What this glitch indicates is servers and software working overtime, to deliver something the American people have heard about for the past several years. Honestly I would have been more shocked if I could have registered than I am getting the error.
So why was I expecting the problems? Simple. I make my living developing web applications. I fully understand the complexities and technologies involved in making such a site and getting everything to work. There was no way to predict how many people may have jumped on the site right away, so that meant things like having to guess how many servers to put in and how to handle database replication without lags in CRUD (Create, Read, Update and Delete of database records). These are very serious issues that any developer will tell you about, and so far it seems that the developers behind the scenes of the new exchange sites are doing what they can to get on top of it. Remember, we aren’t talking about some simple social networking site or blog; we are talking about a government site dealing with very sensitive data of citizens. That right there adds in a whole new level of complexity in this rollout and gives me more comfort in seeing these issues popup, instead of everything working right off the bat.
Don’t listen to the right wing hysteria over the outages. These were to be expected and the administration has even warned about them. Instead take it as an indicator that things and people are working to provide the exchanges, and all of this despite a government shutdown. Bravo President Obama and my fellow techs, working nonstop behind the scenes. You guys got a huge challenge and it seems like you are taking it on the way it should be!