“Just minutes before Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was set to testify on Capitol Hill,” Breitbart reported Wednesday, “the Healthcare.gov site crashed.”
Spot checks verified that the State of North Carolina, Virginia, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Maryland, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Kentucky, Minnesota, and New Hampshire are all down – which likely means the entire federal site is down.
“The website never crashed,” CBS News quoted Sebelius asserting during Wednesday’s testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “It is functional, but at a very slow speed and very low reliability.”
But CBS noted that “the HealthCare.gov registration page stayed down throughout the 3 1/2 hour hearing.”
Sebelius’ system crash denial was quickly addressed by Dan Seymour on Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s website:
“The website has never crashed” joins “Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans” (which earned four Pinocchios from the Washington Post) as yet another example of the White House hoping against hope that the American people won’t realize what a disaster its health care law really is,” reads Don Seymour’s House Speaker John Boehner’s website.
Responses from Americans on Sebeliu’s Facebook page — regarding her testimony before the committee on Wednesday, as well as past statements made by the HHS secretary — are overwhelmingly negative.
While many are calling for Sebelius to resign over her testimony — calling her a “liar,” and saying he is “incompetent” while others want to know why she refuses to sign up for “the same healthcare” she’s “forcing down Americans throats” — many are also expressing anger over her Oct. 25 statement — quoted by Real Clear Politics — that “the majority of people calling for” her “to resign” are “people” she does “not work for.”
“I beg your pardon,” Aimee Leigh Loftus posted around 2:00 p.m., “but ma’am, you do work, for us… Now please resign. If all you can do spit out dribble rather than solid answers and evade a simple hypothetical question about whether you’d partake in Obamacare… then please step down.”
“We’re working through a punch list of problems,” Sebelius tweeted at 4:35 Monday evening, “making quick decisions w/developers & resolving issues in real time.”
In computer-speak, “real time” is defined as “the actual time elapsed in the performance of a computation by a computer, the result of the computation being required for the continuation of a physical process.”
On Oct. 20, HHS announced in a blog post that “our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov.”
We’re also putting in place tools and processes to aggressively monitor and identify parts of HealthCare.gov where individuals are encountering errors or having difficulty using the site, so we can prioritize and fix them. We are also defining new test processes to prevent new issues from cropping up as we improve the overall service and deploying fixes to the site during off-peak hours on a regular basis.
However the “test process” being executed by “some of the best and brightest” — brought in “to prevent new issues from cropping up” — seems more to exemplify the old familiar adage of taking “one step forward, two steps back.”
“This weekend,” reads Monday’s post on Healthcare.gov — linked by Sebelius in her tweet – “Terremark, the company that operates the data center that hosts the HealthCare.gov website and the Data Services Hub, experienced a failure in a networking component that brought down network connectivity to the site, and other web sites as well.”
“Located in major business and government centers in the United States, Canada and Mexico,” boasts Terremark Verizon’s website, “our data centers and other facilities provide unsurpassed connectivity and convenience for business, government, nonprofit and other organizations from across the continent and around the world.”
On Tuesday, PR Newswire posted a statement, which it said “should be attributed to Jeff Nelson, vice president, global corporate communications, Verizon Enterprise Solutions.”
We are now undertaking infrastructure maintenance, which should be complete overnight. We anticipate the strengthened infrastructure will help eliminate application downtimes.
“Verizon is committed to supporting our HHS client and stabilizing their www.healthcare.gov website,” the statement read further. “Since HHS asked us to provide additional compute and storage capacity, our engineers have worked 24/7 to trouble-shoot issues with the site.”
Still, — while eager to tout Terremark’s temporary success on Monday — Sebelius refused to identify them as part of the “team” during an interview with CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, which aired Oct. 22.
When asked directly by “about tech people,” and “why didn’t they bring their A team in in the first place,” Sebelius was equally evasive.
“I can’t tell you,” she said.
However, USA Today reported the same day that Verizon had been “tasked with helping the government fix the federal health exchange.”
An informed source in the telecommunications industry said Verizon’s Enterprise Solutions division has been asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to improve the performance of the HealthCare.gov site, which is a key component of the Affordable Care Act.
While “the source spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made official,” USA Today noted further that “HSS did not respond to a request for confirmation about Verizon” and that Verizon’s Enterprise Solutions “also declined to comment.”
“We are pleased to say that Terremark resolved their outage issues last night,” Monday’s post by Healthcare.gov stated further, “and as of 7:00 AM this morning, the Data Services Hub is functioning smoothly.”
However, as Reuters reported at 10:17 p.m. Tuesday, “Access Health CT” — the Connecticut state healthcare exchange — announced in a statement that it “was informed by CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) that the Federal Data Services Hub” was again “experiencing an outage.”
Tonight, Verizon Terremark again experienced network issues in their data center that caused a system outage impacting the federal data services hub and the Healthcare.gov marketplace application,” the official, who asked not to be named, said in an email to Reuters.
While Reuters noted that “it was the second such outage in three days,” Tuesday’s announcement by CMS “that the Federal Data Services Hub” was again “experiencing an outage” — on top of Monday’s system failure — was actually the third “such outage” in four days.
A similar outage on Sunday halted online enrollment on the federal Healthcare.gov website as well as similar state sites.
Wednesday’s system crash — “minutes before” Sebelius testified that “the website never crashed” — marked the fourth failure in five days.
“Verizon Communications had a chance to be one of the heroes in the federal government’s attempt to fix the Healthcare.gov fiasco,” wrote Light Reading Managing Editor Dan O’Shea Tuesday. “Instead, a major connectivity failure has Verizon looking as sheepish as everyone else associated with the troubled rollout of the “Obamacare” health insurance marketplace.”
In a video clip of Sebelius’ testimony, provided in the report by CBS News, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn repeatedly asked Sebelius “who is responsible for overseeing this project.”
“Hold me accountable for the debacle,” Sebelius eventually said, after numerous attempts to blame various website contractors.
“I am responsible.”
However CBS also noted that Sebelius was heard on the open microphone telling an aid sitting next to her: “Don’t do this to me.”