Administration officials approached the contractors last week to see if they could perform the necessary repairs and reboot the system by Nov. 1. However, that goal struck many contractors as unrealistic, at least for major components of the system. Some specialists working on the project said the online system required such extensive repairs that it might not operate smoothly until after the Dec. 15 deadline for people to sign up for coverage starting in January, although that view is not universally shared.What's the real problem is what's behind the registration: making valid enrollments for people in 36 states among hundreds of different companies and plans. Pieces of the whole system were built by 55 different contractors, and it all has to be integrated and work together. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency in charge of the exchange, is supposed to be overseeing all that, and by all accounts is in over its head. That has to end, and fast.
In interviews, experts said the technological problems of the site went far beyond the roadblocks to creating accounts that continue to prevent legions of users from even registering. Indeed, several said, the login problems, though vexing to consumers, may be the easiest to solve. One specialist said that as many as five million lines of software code may need to be rewritten before the Web site runs properly.
While public polling is still trending away from Republicans and in support of the new health law, the latest polling from Washington Post/ABC News shows that a majority think that the problems with the website are indication of a larger problem with the law.