Emails released late Thursday by a Republican-led congressional committee show that healthcare.gov was unable to handle more than 500 simultaneous users in the days before its disastrous October 1 launch.
And in the final, frantic pre-launch days, the website’s software failed when engineers simulated activity from 2,000 users over a three-day testing period.
Meanwhile, President Obama was boasting that the online health insurance exchanges would work as advertised when they debuted.
On Sept. 26, the same day the president spoke at an Obamacare rally in Maryland, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services software engineer Akhtar Zaman warned the website’s project managers and contractors that testing results were ‘not good and not consistent at all.’
Henry Chao, the tech expert at the project’s helm, responded that day with his own grim warning, telegraphing his fear that the new website would reprise the late-2005 online disaster that nearly doomed the Medicare Part D program.
‘I DO NOT WANT A REPEAT OF WHAT HAPPENED NEAR THE END OF DECEMBER 2005,’ he emailed the group in all upper-case letters, ‘WHERE MEDICARE.GOV HAD A MELTDOWN (THIS IS TO GET YOUR ATTENTION IF I DIDN’T HAVE IT ALREADY).’
Chao is CMS’s Deputy Chief Information Officer. He stunned a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Tuesday with an admission that 30 to 40 per cent of the Obamacare portal’s accounting and payment systems have yet to be built.