HealthCare.gov Fixes Lost in Translation
PHOTO: Screenshot of HealthCare.gov log in page on Thursday morning, Nov. 7, 2013.

(Credit: HealthCare.gov)

Tried to log-in at HealthCare.gov lately?

Five weeks after the website's troubled launch - after an announced "tech surge" to fix its glitches - and now, after President Obama said that "the website is already better than it was at the beginning of October," programmers still haven't fixed the most basic part of the user experience: getting into the exchange.

The garbled text seen in the screen shot above, taken this morning, illustrates the depth of problems with the site's software code.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has promised the website will be "optimally functional" for the "vast majority" of users in three short weeks. And last night, Obama claimed, "by the end of this month, we anticipate that it is going to be working the way it is supposed to."

But the reasons to be skeptical that the administration can meet that deadline are multiplying.

Officials with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is overseeing the website fixes, said yesterday they have been struggling simply to isolate the root causes of many of the technical problems. The issues were described as "sporadic, meaning that they don't necessarily always happen at the same time to all users," and that "it is very difficult to pinpoint issues when we are seeing the kinds of things that we are within the sporadic nature of the system."

In her testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, Sebelius even appeared to ever so slightly temper expectations of a full fix by Dec. 1, saying: "We're not where we need to be. It's a pretty aggressive schedule to get to the entire punch list by the end of November."

Asked about the ongoing technical woes, White House press secretary Jay Carney said today the administration has "acknowledged forthrightly and directly that this is not functioning as it should."

"We're focused here on the end goal," he told reporters, "can we deliver on the promise of affordable and quality health insurance for every American."

This post has been updated.

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