Workers from tech giants Google, Red Hat, and Oracle and other companies have reportedly joined with the government to help fix the notoriously broken Healthcare.gov website that is a key portion of the Affordable Care Act.
According to a tweet from CNBC, “experts” from the firms have been dispatched. It is not clear yet in what quantity or what their role will be. The government needs the help, and it is good to see the technology community step up. After all, this is our domain.
In a piece by Alex Wayne on BusinessWeek, Google is parting with Michael Dickerson, a “site reliability engineer.” Also according to Wayne, Greg Gershman of mobile company Mobomo is said to be taking part as well.
When the Affordable Care Act went live recently, its website, which was supposed to provide a central exchange, failed: It lagged, dropped users, and fed wrong information to insurance companies. It was a tectonically embarrassing moment for the government and the president. Later, a “tech surge” was called for. It appears that this is part of that effort.
The government has promised that the website will be functional by the end of November. That gives the Silicon Valley cavalry just a single month to get the beast back in the pen. Also unclear at the moment is why these three firms have stepped up and not others. Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, and Twitter are other firms that could spare an engineer or two.
Private tech employees helping the public government untangle a website built in part by Canadian contractors? The leaks from this saga are going to be amazing.
This is a developing story, and this post will be updated as new information becomes available.
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