Admin: Will Be Fixed By End Of November

October 25, 2013 8:44 a.m.

Federal officials said Friday that would be working smoothly for the vast majority of users by the end of November.

Jeff Zients, a top White House adviser who was brought in to lead the “tech surge” to assess the site’s problems and fix them, announced the timeline on a conference call with reporters.

“The top-line result is that the site is fixable,” Zients said. “But it’ll take a lot of work.”

The administration is appointing QSSI, which helped build the site’s data services hub, as a “general contractor” to coordinate the effort.

Zients gave some new specifics about the scope of the site’s problems and how it had improved in the last few weeks. At its launch, “very few people” could create an account on the site, Zients said, Now more than 90 percent are capable of completing that step of the process.

But in terms of the actual application for enrolling in coverage, Zients said that the site’s performance has been “volatile.” At times, as few as three in 10 users have been able to move through the application.

The administration has “dozens of items” to address, Zients said. They can generally be divided into two groups: performance problems (site speed, response times, reliability) and functional problems (bugs that prevent the site from working properly).

Asked by TPM if the end of November goal was acceptable in the administration’s eyes, given that Dec. 15 is the deadline for enrollment to have coverage start on Jan. 1, 2014, federal officials stressed that many people are already able to enroll and that the site would continue to improve between now and the end of next month.

“It will get better and better each week,” Julie Bataille, spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said. “People will be able to apply by Dec. 15 in order to get coverage by Jan. 1.”

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