(Healthcare.gov == Amazon.com)?

Is healthcare.gov comparable to commercial sites? While commercial sites such as Amazon and Travelocity are extraordinary in terms of complexity (inventory, images, shipping, seats, fares, etc.) these sites are still simpler to build than healthcare.gov.

These commercial sites present one single item at a time if available, and if purchased simply send a charge to a credit card processor. Processing ends once the purchase is complete and the order moved to a shipping and inventory system. But these sites do not check personal records at databases at many federal agencies. Each of these multi-agency checks are complex, and often require more than a few seconds. Yet, the fun part begins only at this point: send bills monthly, redirect a tax-credit refund monthly after customers pay to third parties (insurers), see if payments are coming in, or are late. Process all type of exceptions…

Even the most sophisticated engineering management processes, and best implemented by the best people, are still stretched to the breaking point. Hence the sorry roll-out of healthcare.gov comes, unfortunately, as no surprise.

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