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October 08, 2013

Obamacare Site Resets All User Passwords In An Attempt To Fix Massive Login Problems

Amateur hour. No worries though, it's just your personal and private healthcare information we're entrusting to these clowns.

Amid all the attention, bugs, and work happening at Healthcare.gov in light of the Affordable Care Act, potential registrants talking to phone support today have been told that all user passwords are being reset to help address the site's login woes. And the tech supports behind Healthcare.gov will be asking more users to act in the name of fixing the site, too. According to registrants speaking with Ars, individuals whose logins never made it to the site's database will have to re-register using a different username, as their previously chosen names are now stuck in authentication limbo.
Well, I suppose that's one way to try fix this. Generally speaking, the "your username got eaten by the computer machine or lost in the interwebs tubes so choose a different one, and no, we don't know what happened to the original" isn't a best practice solution. If I were a cynic, I might suggest they're just wingin' it at this point.
The contractors responsible for the exchange—CGI Federal for the website itself, Quality Software Systems Inc. (QSSI) for the information "hub" that determines eligibility for programs and provides the data on qualified insurance plans, and Booz Allen for enrollment and eligibility technical support—are scrambling to deploy more fixes.
Oh good, Booz Allen is involved. My confidence level in this program couldn't possibly be higher now.

It's not just the backend and portals that are causing problems of course, it's the front end too.

First of all, there's the front-end site itself. The first page of the registration process (once you get to it) has 2,099 lines of HTML code, but it also calls 56 JavaScript files and 11 CSS files. That's not exactly optimal for heavy-load pages.
Fifty-six javascript files? Good Lord. The smart and, frankly, standard practice is to minimize these files into a handful (or even two) CSS and JS files.
Navigating the site once you get past registration is something of a cheese chase through the rat-maze. "It's like a bad, boring video game where you try to grunt and hack your way through to the next step," one site user told Ars.
So, it's like Super Pitfall but with your healthcare. Fantastic.

Read the whole thing over at Ars Technica.


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posted by JohnE. at 07:45 PM

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