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Policy: Technology

Experts from Google, Oracle aiding Obamacare 'tech surge'

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,Obamacare,Health and Human Services,Google,Health Care,PennAve,Kathleen Sebelius,Meghashyam Mali,Oracle,Technology

Workers from technology giants Google, Oracle and Red Hat will contribute to the “tech surge” helping fix the botched Obamacare health insurance website, the administration said on Thursday.

“As part of the ‘tech surge,’ we’ve added key personnel from the government and private sector, including expert engineers and technology managers,” said Julie Bataille, a spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “They come from leading technology companies such as Red Hat and Oracle, and include individuals with expertise on site reliability, stability and scalability.”

Among the experts identified who will help restore the glitch-ridden website are Michael Dickerson, a site reliability engineer on leave from Google, and Greg Gershman, a developer with “experience running agile development teams and creating better user experiences when interacting with government.”

Bataille also praised Dickerson, saying he has “expertise in diving into any layer of the tech stack, from the metal to the application code to the people that write it.”

“Besides these two, there are dozens of software engineers, developers, designers and analysts who are methodically working around the clock on performance and functionality of healthcare.gov,” she added.

The website, launched on Oct. 1, has been plagued with a slew of technology issues, an embarrassing setback for the administration as it rolls out President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. The site is designed to register consumers in new health insurance exchanges, a centerpiece of Obamacare.

Obama has said he is frustrated by the website’s problems, but vowed that his administration will quickly fix those issues.

The administration tapped former Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients to oversee the “tech surge” to repair the website. Zients and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have both vowed that it will work properly by December.

Critics of Obamacare say that the website’s problems highlight that the president’s health care law is unworkable and must be scrapped.

Supporters of the law say that despite problems with the website, the rest of the law is working, delivering benefits to Americans.

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