One day after the Health Insurance Marketplace closed for its longest maintenance work yet, the government announced the Obamacare website will be unavailable to applicants every night — with additional down times to be determined.
According to HealthCare.gov:
"The Health Insurance Marketplace online application isn't available from approximately 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. EST daily while we make improvements. Additional down times may be possible as we work to make things better. The rest of the site and the Marketplace call center remain available during these hours."
The pressure to mend the failing system is on. President Obama selected former CEO Jeffrey Zients, now a White House economics advisor, to head a “tech surge” to repair the site. The team is confident it will have the site running smoothly for the “vast majority of users” by the end of November.
Some argue the site should not be operating at all until all technical bugs have been squashed.
“It's pretty clear I think to those of us that have been watching this roll out that the technological base was not sufficient….I said this directly to the president's chief of staff, they ought to take down the website until it was right,” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA.) said on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday.
Republican Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI.) expressed similar sentiments to CBS:
“Here's the problem. They're trying to change a tire on a car going 75 miles an hour down the expressway. That's not the way cyber security works. And unfortunately, both Diane and I both know the real threats to these systems when you have nation states, organized crime groups and criminals trying to get information that is now available on these websites. They need to take the site down, stabilize it -- meaning they can't continue to add code…”
Security seems to be a growing concern. Insurance companies have already reported flawed incoming enrollment data such as duplicate forms, missing fields and spouses listed as children.
Additionally, a security breach was disclosed this week by a man from North Carolina. As reported by the Heritage Foundation:
Justin Hadley logged on to HealthCare.gov to evaluate his insurance options after his health plan was canceled. What he discovered was an apparent security flaw that disclosed eligibility letters addressed to individuals from another state.
“I was in complete shock,” said Hadley, who contacted Heritage after becoming alarmed at the breach of privacy.
The government is taking liberties with personal information in a way that private corporations would never dare, according to Rep. Rogers:
“Amazon would never do this. ProFlowers would never do this. Kayak would never do this. This is completely an unacceptable level of security.”
Questionably unsafe and indisputably glitch-laden, HealthCare.gov has already consumed over $500 million in taxpayer money — how many more resources must it be fed before it’s secure and operating?