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White House announces HealthCare.gov now working

Dec. 1, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By KELLY KENNEDY   |   Comments
Acting OMB Director Jeffrey Zients Testifies On Pr
Jeffrey Zients, the president's appointee to fix the problems with Healthcare.gov, said the site is now stable and operating at its intended capacity. (T.J. Kirkpatrick / Getty Images)

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The White House announced Sunday it has met its goal to make the Healthcare.gov website operate smoothly for most users.

“The bottom line is health care.gov on December first is night and day from where it was October first,” said Jeffrey Zients, the president’s appointee to fix the website’s problems. “The site is now stable and operating at its intended capacity at greatly improved performance.”

At the beginning of November, Zients said the site had an “up time” of just 43%. As of Nov. 30, the site’s up time was 95 percent.

“We have a much more stable system that’s reliably open for business,” Zients said.

After hardware updates and bug fixes that continued through the weekend, the federal health exchange site now has the capacity to serve 50,000 people at a time, for a total of 800,000 people a day, according to a report Health and Human Services released this morning.

“We needed to get the team working with the speed and urgency of a high-tech company,” Zients said. Just as a high-tech company accountable to shareholders would, the team has focused in the past month on daily progress reports to ensure people know what’s being done to fix the site. At least 50 bug fixes were made just last night, bringing the number of fixes up to more than 400.

When the site, which allows people to compare private plan benefits and costs in an apples-to-apples way before buying an insurance policy, launched Oct. 1, millions of people were disappointed by slow or frozen pages, an inability to log in, and incorrect or missing information. Officials say that has been fixed.

So far, the team has:

■ Made hundreds of software fixes, upgraded hardware, and monitored the system to make improvements.

■ Stabilized the site at its original intended capacity

■ Improved overall metrics, which means the site is working well for most users.

A new hardware upgrade made Friday quadrupled the registration capacity, Zients said.

Kennedy writes for USA Today.

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