By Jonathan Easley - 10/31/13 03:07 PM EDT
The agency responsible for ObamaCare implementation expressed confidence Thursday it would hit its self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline to have the HealthCare.gov website running smoothly, but acknowledged there was very little room for error.
“It is no secret that we are on an aggressive timeline,” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spokeswoman Julie Bataille said in a conference call with reporters.
“We believe we have the right team in place that is going to enable us to meet that timeline,” she added.
Bataille stressed that “this is a continuous process” and that many of the fixes “will happen gradually” between now and Nov. 30, rather than a switch getting flipped to unveil a new website on that date.
On Thursday, CMS released more details about the much-lauded “tech surge” it implemented after the problem-plagued website went live on Oct. 1.
Bataille said CMS has added “dozens” of experts from the public and private sectors who “we have working 24-7 to address the problems around HealthCare.gov.” She would not get more specific on an exact number.
Some of the key personnel are from tech stalwarts like Red Hat and Oracle. CMS revealed the names of two individuals – Michael Dickerson, a Site Reliability Engineer on leave from Google, and Greg Gershman, a “developer and entrepreneur” with a background in “creating better user experiences when interacting with government.”
Dickerson is working with QSSI, one of the primary general contractors, while Gershman is working with CGI, the contractor that has the lead on the site revamp.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which encompasses CMS, is under intense pressure to have the website running smoothly by the Nov. 30 deadline set by Jeff Zients, who Obama brought in to clean up the rollout mess.
Zients has said the website will be "running smoothly" for "most users" by that date.
Most consumer are still having trouble logging in or registering on the website, and there’s a Dec. 15 deadline to enroll for those who want federal health insurance by Jan. 1.