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Former Microsoft Exec To Lead HealthCare.gov 214

Posted by Soulskill
from the blue-screen-of-actual-death dept.
Antipater writes "NBCNews reports that Kurt DelBene, former head of Microsoft's Office division, will take over operations of Healthcare.gov on Wednesday. DelBene will replace Jeffrey Zients, who stepped in to lead the team fixing the health insurance website when it crashed and burned on its Oct. 1 launch. Zients is set to take over next month as senior White House economic adviser from Gene Sperling.'"
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Former Microsoft Exec To Lead HealthCare.gov

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  • by xobyte (255771) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @03:46PM (#45718389) Journal

    My healthcare BSOD...

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Sadly it will make you fill out a death application form, 32 pages long. And should you develop the BSOD, you or your family will be taxed for it at a 'cheaper' price. Sorry I mean, an excessively more expensive price.

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      My healthcare BSOD...

      But if you like your Dr Watson trace... You can keep it.

    • by Dan667 (564390)
      he was in charge of MSOffice so it will get a ribbon toolbar and be completely unusable.
      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        I hate to say it, but if they're gonna turn it over to someone or some company that can fix it...hell, give it to Google.

        They already have info on most everyone in the US. Let them get the website going, they can hook in with Acxiom [acxiom.com] to pre-fill in what data Google has missing or wrong...and voila, the site could be up and running within about 2 months.

        Not that I'm in favor of obamacare, mind you, but if they're gonna try to get expertise in getting large web based things to run and information gathering,

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          No, they need to split it up into two sections: the back-end and the front-end (the customer-facing website's UI).

          Let Google do the back-end, because they seem to be pretty good at that stuff. Don't let them do the UI, however, because it'll suck. Even Ebay does better UIs than Google. Who should do the UI then, you may ask? Honestly, I don't know, but it shouldn't be any large corporation (including MS), because all their UI designers have drunk some tainted kool-aid.

  • Clippy? (Score:5, Funny)

    by KoshClassic (325934) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @03:48PM (#45718417)

    Will the web site feature a seemingly-friendly, but obnoxious-as-hell talking paper clip that pops up whenever its unwanted?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Would you Like to:

      [N/A] Keep your existing health plan?
      [ ] Automatically get shunted into Medicaid?
      [ ] Pay through the nose for a plan with a higher deductible, a higher co-pay, and higher monthly fees?
      [ ] Appeal your death panel ruling?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Chalnoth (1334923)

        Would you Like to:

        • [N/A] Keep your existing health plan?
        • [ ] Automatically get shunted into Medicaid?
        • [ ] Pay through the nose for a plan with a higher deductible, a higher co-pay, and higher monthly fees?
        • [ ] Appeal your death panel ruling?

        Correct version of the above:

        Would you like to:

        • [N/A] Keep your existing health plan?
        • [ ] Eliminate your monthly premiums and pay lower out-of-pocket bills via Medicaid (now available for millions more Americans)?
        • [ ] Pay less for a plan which covers more and has limits on the amount you pay, instead of limits on the amount insurance pays?
        • [ ] Make so much money that you can afford to pay a little bit more?

        There is no corresponding correction to "death panels" because those are imaginary.

        • [N/A] Keep your existing health plan?

          When Obama said: "If you like your plan you can keep it," — he meant to say: "If I like your plan, you can keep it." The millions, whose plans aren't, in Obama's omniscient and benevolent opinion, good enough — because they don't cover, say, obesity counseling, or contraception, or gender-changes — are out of luck...

          There is no corresponding correction to "death panels" because those are imaginary.

          No, they aren't. There always are patients, who could be kept alive at high costs but without much, if any, prospect of recovering. When and whether to "pull the plug" on them is currently up to the patients and/or their families. Once the government becomes the single payer — which is what Obama and you dream about — the decision will be the government's. It is unlikely, that it will be a single shirley sharrod deciding — more like a panel of them. "Death panel" is a perfectly apt term describing the outfit...

          If the IRS is already used today to suppress opposition [usnews.com], why wouldn't the next charismatic demagogue in the White House use these panels to an even graver effect? No, not even against the opposition figures themselves — too obvious...

          "Hey, if you'd like your mother to be approved for surgery, rather than referred to End of Life Counseling, do not talk about this and that in your next public appearance. Do we understand each other?"

          • by plopez (54068)

            "When and whether to "pull the plug" on them is currently up to the insurance companies."

            fixed that for you

            • by mi (197448)

              When and whether to "pull the plug" on them is currently up to the insurance companies.

              Sure. Thanks for confirming, that death panels do, in fact, exist. However, the worst the insurance company can do today is notify the hospital, they'll stop paying — and they don't want to do that for fear of very bad publicity. The hospital — being a separate entity currently — will not pull the plug on their own.

              Once we arrive at the "single payer" nirvana, hospitals will, effectively, be run by the

              • by Chalnoth (1334923)
                We are already at that "single payer" nirvana for everybody over 65. It's called Medicare, and Medicare has a significantly higher satisfaction rate than private insurance.
              • by hazah (807503)
                Somehow, other civilized societies avoided that, what is it about the USA that makes YOU feel like it wont?
        • My God. Your first post was bad enough. This is epic astroturfing.

          Ezekiel is that you??

    • You know, I keep expecting the old 'Clippy' dig on MS to get old...

      Hasn't yet :)

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      "Hey, it looks like you're trying to find an emergency room. I can help with that!"

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      "It looks like you passed out and your spleen is falling out.

      Would you like to purchase Microsoft Spleen Express, or Microsoft Spleen Pro?

      I will assume Spleen Pro and bill your credit card unless you cancel within 5 seconds..."

  • Wait, so you mean this is the second guy to "step in and fix it" since October? That would seem to indicate this is truly an enormous disaster.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      And yet...nobody is in jail, being fined, or even refunding all that money they were paid to develop it.

      • by drnb (2434720)

        And yet...nobody is in jail, being fined, or even refunding all that money they were paid to develop it.

        Its not really contractor's fault. I'm sure they did some pretty screwy things but the epic fail really comes down to time and specification. The contractors were only given months to implemented it, despite the administration knowing they needed it over 3 years ago, and the administration was making last minute changes, can't show plan prices from the insurance company have to connect to a bunch of different gov't agencies in order to calculate a subsidy.

      • Which likely means the contractor delivered exactly what they were contracted to deliver, it's just that the government didn't know what it actually needed when it wrote the requirements and now wants to blame them for the fact that the resultant product can't fulfill its purpose.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)

          ...it's just that the government didn't know what it actually needed when it wrote the requirements and now wants to blame them for the fact that the resultant product can't fulfill its purpose.

          And we're now entrusting said government to be in charge of all our healthcare needs/decisions why now exactly???

          • by pspahn (1175617)

            Chrome Robot: Everything will be all right. You are in my hands. I am here to protect you. You have nowhere to go. You have nowhere to go.

          • the government is not a profit entity. they don't have the same motives to watch you DIE due to neglect that insurance companies currently have.

            if there ever was a death panel, it was the insurance company. taking some of the control away from them could ONLY be a godsend. even if the gov farks the whole thing up, it can't possibly be worse than what we have now.

        • by microbox (704317)

          Which likely means the contractor delivered exactly what they were contracted to deliver, it's just that the government didn't know what it actually needed when it wrote the requirements and now wants to blame them for the fact that the resultant product can't fulfill its purpose.

          And you know this from your experience working in companies like CGI? Well, that's were I used to work, and they have an amazing legal and sales team. Programming... not so much. My first-hand experience of *different* government contracts is: the government was handcuffed by their own rules, and CGI knew it, and moved in for the kill. Easy. Money.

          There is a problem to be fixed, for sure, and it probably stems from the way policy is written, and legal precedents. So not that easy.

      • And yet...nobody is in jail, being fined, or even refunding all that money they were paid to develop it.

        Well, yea.

        For that to happen, someone in federal government would have to admit to making a mistake, and as we all should know at this point, es ist VERBOTEN .

    • Wait, so you mean this is the second guy to "step in and fix it" since October? That would seem to indicate this is truly an enormous disaster.

      Its not just fixing the front end user interface. There is the 40% of the project that is back end and has not even been implemented at all according to recent testimony to congress.

    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      Or that someone was throwing him a freebie job until another one opened up (and they could hopefully find someone better for this one).

      Scenario: We have a clusterfuck. And need a new person to head it. But we have no idea who it is.

      So we hire some guy who's a business CEO and economics type - clearly completely wrong for the job - but not 2 months later he gets a job suited to the CEO/economics type - as an economics advisor. And we spent the time he was 'in charge' hiring someone who appears to maybe

  • Polilitical Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by jasnw (1913892) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @03:50PM (#45718435)
    He is the spouse (husband, I assume) of Congressperson Karen DelBene (D-WA), also an ex-MS person.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @03:50PM (#45718453)

    Oh please oh please oh please

  • by wagr (1070120) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @03:59PM (#45718561)

    45 seconds
    2 minutes
    15 seconds
    30 seconds

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @04:00PM (#45718579) Journal

    I'm trying to think how this could end well.

  • Since the release of Office 2013, and its noticeably much uglier interface (especially in Outlook), I've had users flock to Google Docs and other web-based services to get away from the clunky Office Desktop. Notably, Outlook users are using the GMail web interface now, rather than downgrade Office and fall behind on keeping up-to-date with software and tech.

    Many of them think the best upgrade for Office 2015 would be to make it look like Office 2010 instead of this forced Windows-8 style which looks clu

    • The backed parts controlled by PHB's are what failed in the website.

      The tech's did not have that much time after getting the specs and have very limited QA time.

      • by DaHat (247651)

        The tech's did not have that much time after getting the specs and have very limited QA time.

        Oh? 3 years went by between the passage of the law and the launch of the site... how much more time do you think they should have had?

        • by gerardrj (207690)

          The law wasn't the "specs". Specs are "how do we handshake with SSA to verify a SSN", "what format will NJ's DOVS return birth certificate data in?"
          It took years to write the specs one the framework of the statute was in place.

  • by GoCrazy (1608235) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @04:07PM (#45718677)
    I mean 10 seconds. Err, 3 months. No 5 days.
  • The blind leading the blind.

  • They can replace everything with Ribbons... allowing users to customize their experience! Not only will they never be able to sign up for health care now, but they won't even know where to click to exit the web site!

  • by gerardrj (207690)

    What large connected software system has MS built without purchasing a company that was already doing the thing and re-brand it?

    • What large connected software system has MS built without purchasing a company that was already doing the thing and re-brand it?

      Windows? Office? Visual Studio? I'm not sure about others, but I'd guess that's my ignorance. Not that you really need an answer. Because with the company, they buy the management team. Which means that the proportion of projects acquired vs. homegrown is directly proportional to the likelihood that he worked for a company that did things well enough to be acquired by MS

  • The problems are largely resolved and in 3 months when the deadline hits and millions more are enrolled the old administrators will take the blame for past problems and this guy will get the credit.

    • by DaHat (247651)

      Jay Carney, is that you?

      Nice idea in theory... the practice thus far doesn't fall in life.

      Aside from the fact that the enrollment #'s (at both the state & federal exchange levels) are well behind schedule, good sized portions of the website still do not exist, like the payment system: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-29/obamacare-payment-system-to-insurers-delayed-by-months.html [bloomberg.com]

      No... the website was only the second blow from this horrible law... the first being the massive wave of insurance cancela

      • Unlike your partisan hackery, I've been actually USING the website. I put up with about a month of TERRIBLE performance before I could get myself registered. I enrolled, paid my 1st month's premium to Coventry, and will have healthcare I signed up for under the exchange starting next year.

  • And the whole thing would have just exploded. Does Obama have a change of heart and wants this whole thing to just die?

    • You would think, but Obama has never backed down on anything. It's not in his mindset.

      It's not that he wouldn't think he was wrong, but that the idea couldn't possibly ever occur to him. After all, he's been surrounded by Yes Men his whole life. Who can blame him?

      Obamacare is ideologically-driven, and the only thought that was put into the possibility of its failure was that it could facilitate the call to go all out and implement a single-payer system. One could say this is a cynical observation, but i

  • Gotta love 'em

  • Please? How much more complicated do we have to make it before we do what the rest of the civilized world is doing?

    I know Americans like to be different but it's gone too far.

    • by plopez (54068)

      This debacle is making single payer look better and better....

      • That's kind of the point, some Democrat congress critters say. Let this fail horribly and a certain segment of the voting public will once again be clamoring for CHANGE. Any change will do. Those voters don't bother to ask "change to what?"

        If they did think about what the new (single payer) system would be like, they'd realize they'll have the US government, who can't even manage to have a website built, would be running the whole show. Instead of taking six months to maybe buy medical insurance on heal

        • and so this is how it is in other countries that do have single-payer?

          huh? what? they don't have the problems you list? other countries _do_ make this work and the people _do_ like it?

          so you must be saying that we can't do things even 2nd world countries can?

          why do you hate america so much?

          • A) The Canadians I know come to the US for medical care.
            Do we want a system so awesome that people can't get the care they need and have to go to other countries? Canada DOES measure quality by the percentage of people who are able to see a doctor within 30 days. For a GP, most wait less than 30 days. For a specialist, most wait more than 30 days. I called my doctor at 4PM today to make an appointment for tomorrow morning . So yes, that is a problem with government run healt

    • by twmcneil (942300)

      You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.
      Winston Churchill

      We're still trying 'everything else'.

  • Sometime earlier today I felt a disturbance in the force, as though millions of user accounts cried out terror and they were suddenly silenced... Have been wondering why. Now I know.

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