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The Best Way to Fix HealthCare.gov? Scrap It and Start Over.

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It's been almost a month since major issues emerged during the launch of HealthCare.gov, the website for Americans looking to sign up for a medical plan in the health insurance marketplace.  And the problems remain in headlines. A key component of the president's signature policy initiative, the site has been over budget, delayed and dysfunctional, bringing technology contractors and federal managers under fire.

Noble Ackerson has worked on both sides of that divide. As a former official in the Virginia governor's office, he worked on technology policy. And in private industry, he's worked as a consultant and, most recently, founded Byte an Atom Research. Ackerson told Government Executive's Mark Micheli that some of the issues with HealthCare.gov stem from a lack of testing and a project schedule that was unnecessarily rushed. Unfortunately, that means a lot of work is going into hastily fixing the site, according to Ackerson.

“That’s where we are today,” he said. ”A lot of people are trying to either patch-fix or undo mistakes made during the rollout.

Ackerson contends the issues with the project are basically unsolvable. When asked how he would fix HealthCare.gov, Ackerson said he would simply start over by slimming down the code base and rebuilding the entire site. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for an already beleaguered Obama administration.

“I would scrap the project and  start from scratch,” Ackerson said. “That would be disastrous for the administration, so that won’t happen.”

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

Prior to joining Government Executive’s staff, Ross Gianfortune worked at The Washington Post, The Gazette Newspapers, WXRT Radio and The Columbia Missourian. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from University of Missouri and a master's in communications from the American University.

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