Google, Oracle, Red Hat join HealthCare.gov effort

Dozens of new workers have joined the effort to fix the malfunctioning website, CMS says

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management

Employees of Google, Oracle and Red Hat have joined the U.S. government's effort to fix the ailing HeathCare.gov, officials said Thursday.

"Dozens" of workers have come aboard the project in recent days, said a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. HealthCare.gov, where U.S. residents without health insurance are supposed to be able to shop for coverage, has been plagued with slow load times, time outs and other problems since its Oct. 1 launch.

The site was also down overnight Wednesday and during part of last weekend. The site was up since Thursday morning and seeing significant traffic, said Julie Bataille, director of the CMS Office of Communications.

Asked exactly how many people have come aboard in recent days, Bataille would only give "dozens" as an answer to reporters during a press briefing Thursday. Experts in site reliability and scalability, including a site stability expert from Google, have come to the project, she said.

The dozens of additions, including federal workers and contractors, are supplementing the existing teams working on the site, she said.

Outsiders coming to help fix the website are being paid by contractors, Bataille said.

CMS has confidence that the team in place will be able to meet a Nov. 30 goal set by HHS officials to have the site working smoothly for the large majority of users, Bataille added. "We believe that we have the right team in place that is going to enable us to meet that timeline," she said.

HHS has so far committed about US$630 million to the HealthCare.gov project, Bataille said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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