Microsoft says it has offered to help fix issues with Healthcare.gov site

It's been the subject of much debate and provided a ton of fodder for late light talk show hosts and skit comedy shows over the past few weeks. Yet, the problems with the U.S. government's Healthcare.gov website continue with load load times, lost sign-up information and more becoming the norm rather than the exception.

President Barack Obama stated last week that the government was conducting a "tech surge" to fix the problems with the site but did not offer specifics, including which companies were assisting with this effort. The U.S. House of Representative's Oversight Committee sent out a number of letters to technology companies to ask if they were a part of the "tech surge."

According to The Hill, Microsoft sent letters back to the committee late last week stating that the company had in fact "offered to provide technical expertise and assistance" with Healthcare.gov. It added that the company has had "limited contact" with the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services and unnamed private contractors on the issue. However, the letter also stated, "The best of our knowledge, no Microsoft employee has provided such services." The letter did not say if the White House or the HHS had accepted or refused Microsoft's assistance.

In the meantime, some news reports have claimed that all of the issues with the website likely won't be fixed until sometime in the end of November. Saturday Night Live's recent skit on Healthcare.gov, seen above, pretty much sums up how many people feel about the government's handling of this tech problem.

Source: The Hill | Image via Healthcare.gov

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41 Comments

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what gets me is, 3 years after passing the LAW... 3 years to build the website, they couldn't even get the darn thing to work. so, goes without saying, the gov can't run the postal service, medicare, social security and all of the sudden.. we can run your health care?

brilliant idea! /sarcasm

In earlier times, Microsoft's offer to help could seriously be considered. Regrettably, with their recent obsession in their vain attempt to create one Operating System (Windows-8.x) for desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones; the US Government should (wisely) decline their offer to help.

I just found out healthcare.gov was developed in java, then how could microsoft help here? tear down the whole site and rewrite them in c#? I'd love to see that happen -- a java hater.

bkydcmpr said,
I just found out healthcare.gov was developed in java, then how could microsoft help here? tear down the whole site and rewrite them in c#? I'd love to see that happen -- a java hater.

MS does have a lot of experience in JAVA and other languages, they don't just work in .NET.... you have to remember, they purchase a lot of companies that develop software in other languages / platforms then have to convert it to theirs... someone there has to understand it first to do that

neufuse said,

MS does have a lot of experience in JAVA and other languages, they don't just work in .NET.... you have to remember, they purchase a lot of companies that develop software in other languages / platforms then have to convert it to theirs... someone there has to understand it first to do that

What? Microsoft had their own java machine. In fact it worked better than the one made by Sun. Until MS got sued for making it. I use to always download msjavax86.exe because it always worked without bogging down IE.

You must be confused with Apple.

The GOVT here is so damn inept. We are at fault for voting them in. We need to vote them out and hurt them in the pocketbooks for one. If they had their salaries paused you can bet they would have resolved the shutdown real fast!

flynempire said,
The GOVT here is so damn inept. We are at fault for voting them in. We need to vote them out and hurt them in the pocketbooks for one. If they had their salaries paused you can bet they would have resolved the shutdown real fast!

you do realize that voting them out does nothing, because the next group to run will be the same just lying to say they wont do it then get in and do it all over again

flynempire said,
The GOVT here is so damn inept. We are at fault for voting them in. We need to vote them out and hurt them in the pocketbooks for one. If they had their salaries paused you can bet they would have resolved the shutdown real fast!

The government hires private contractors at the lowest bidder (that's the law) for jobs. A private company made this site, the government didnt. Very little of the things the government actually does anymore are done by people who directly receive a paycheck from a governmental agency.

AmazingRando said,

The government hires private contractors at the lowest bidder (that's the law) for jobs. A private company made this site, the government didnt. Very little of the things the government actually does anymore are done by people who directly receive a paycheck from a governmental agency.

Nope. There was no public bidding for healthcare.gov. CGI Federal was offered the contract exclusively.

Yes I know that. The whole system is messed up. It seems only hurting the pocket books can spur action for change some times. Why is money the road to greed

Lord Method Man said,

Nope. There was no public bidding for healthcare.gov. CGI Federal was offered the contract exclusively.

Still a private company.

The fact is, based on this article, Microsoft is the only private company offered to assist. Where is Google or Apple on this? That's right, hiding in the corner somewhere.

minster11 said,
The fact is, based on this article, Microsoft is the only private company offered to assist. Where is Google or Apple on this? That's right, hiding in the corner somewhere.

Apple has server software? *rubs eyes* </s>

Google, Apple, et al are smart enough not to get involved in "government work." How can people, who don't know what is in ObamaCare write specifications? Remember Nancy Pelosi's classic remark. To adapt slightly..."just pass the damn law, then we'll find out what is in it." Now that we are finding out what is in it...everyone is now running and hiding.

j2006 said,
Most Governments and enterprises already run Office, what's your beef?

There's still more Office 365 licenses to sell and those Google Docs holdouts.

Figure 8 Dash said,
Microsoft riding in as the Government's white knight = more copies of Office sold.

No idea why you think this would be about office, when Windows Azure would be the obvious product choice to benefit...

Our government is full of complete idiots. Just like everything they put hands on, getting screwed up. Actually who are we kidding, they even cant walk without tripping over on flat floor

The U.S. House of Representative's Oversight Committee sent out a number of letters...

Perhaps if they did something like, oh, I don't know, make a phone call rather than relying upon the all-too-unreliable USPS, the process could go a little faster. They are trying to build a high tech web site that millions of people are to use, and they are using snail mail to ask people to help out? No wonder this thing is such a train wreck.

Stokkolm said,
You think they actually sent paper letters? Possible I guess, but I would assume by letters they meant emails.

This is the US government. I am surprised they didn't use smoke signals.


MorganX said,
In my lifetime the USPS has never been unreliable for me ... just sayin'.

I have problems all the time. I dropped my Netflix with physical disk account because I would not get my disks about 1/4 the time, another 1/4 of the time the disks would be cracked. I would get disks sent on the same day days apart. My mail is usually just jammed into the mail box. I am not asking for them treat it like plutonium, but it should not be balled up either. My area usually does not get mail if it is bad weather.

This type of site just screams Azure or EC2. Why dump money building infrastructure for something with massive scale up front that will then be barely a memory in a couple years?

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
Microsoft could roll out a better site than what the gov't currently has any time. The government stinks at using technology.

The government hires private contractors at the lowest bidder (that's the law) for jobs. A private company made this site, the government didnt. Very little of the things the government actually does anymore are done by people who directly receive a paycheck from a governmental agency.

Actually Microsoft has been in healthcare industry for years. Their healthcare department mostly was acquired from an east coast based company, so the department is not technically as strong as their core product teams.

"Actually Microsoft has been in healthcare industry for years."
---
Well aware of that, being in the field generically and getting involved in this disaster are two entirely different things, the later I'd advise against.

Lord Method Man said,
LMAO @ "tech surge"

These people are clueless.

The new Law and the people that came up with it are a joke. Our whole government needs a recall.