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Government Medicine United States Official Resigns, Website Still a Disaster 559

Nerval's Lobster writes "A government official who helped oversee the bug-riddled Website has resigned his post. Tony Trenkle, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees, will reportedly join the private sector after he departs on November 15. A spokesperson for the Medicare agency refused to say whether he had been forced out, telling reporters: 'Tony made a decision that he was going to move to the private sector and that is what our COO announced yesterday.' Because of his supervisory role, Trenkle is considered a significant player in the Website's development; The New York Times indicated that he was one of two federal officials who signed an internal memo suggesting that security protocols for the Website weren't in place as recently as late September, a few days before's launch.Following Trenkle's resignation, Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted to the Senate Finance Committee that would require hundreds of fixes. 'We're not where we need to be,' she said. 'It's a pretty aggressive schedule to get to the entire punch list by the end of November.' Sebelius added that she was ultimately accountable for what she termed the 'excruciatingly awful' rollout. has experienced massive problems since its Oct. 1 debut. In addition to repeated crashes and slow performance, the Website's software often prevents people from setting up accounts. President Obama has expressed intense frustration with the situation, but insists the Affordable Care Act (ACA) backing the Website remains strong. 'The essence of the law, the health insurance that's available to people is working just fine,' he told reporters in October. 'The problem has been that the website that's supposed to make it easy to apply for insurance hasn't been working.' While the federal government won't release 'official' enrollment numbers until the end of November, it's clear that the Website's backers are losing the battle of public perception."
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  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Thursday November 07, 2013 @11:26AM (#45356393)

    "will reportedly join the private sector"

    Is that what unemployed people are called nowadays? No wonder reported unemployment is so low, contrary to all observable evidence. Certainly he won't be going into a "job" straight away - who in their right mind will hire him?

  • Re:As an outsider. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by AJH16 ( 940784 ) <aj&gccafe,com> on Thursday November 07, 2013 @11:37AM (#45356515) Homepage

    I am not the original poster, but my understanding is that a lot of the complexity of the site comes from a draconianly complex law that simply can't easily be implemented officially. There are so many hoops that have to be jumped through that it drags the system down. So yes, a badly conceived law could be a reason for the poor performance of the site if it puts overly burdensome constraints on the system. I don't make any claim to the accuracy of those assertions, but I know they have been made.

  • Exactly (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2013 @11:44AM (#45356585)

    First, he has CIO on his resume.

    Secondly, his Government contacts alone are worth a six figure income.

    I see CSC, IBM or some other big outsourcing/Government contracting firm picking him up real fast.

    List kids, employment at this guy's level is nothing like ours where a little fuck up makes unemployable.

  • Re:As an outsider. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2013 @11:44AM (#45356591)

    When and estimated 93 Million people will lose their insurance so the law can cover 30 Million who didn't have it, that is a failure of the law.
    These numbers are from White House documents.

  • Re:As an outsider. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @11:49AM (#45356657)

    "If you're not a US Citizen"

    The whole world is aware. We all follow US politics. It's just so entertaining - like professional wrestling, but with slightly less violence. Our own politicians are mostly all very sensible and boring, nowhere near so much fun to watch.

  • Re:As an outsider. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Presto Vivace ( 882157 ) <> on Thursday November 07, 2013 @11:50AM (#45356665) Homepage Journal
    lambert strether is doing the best post by post analysis of what went wrong []. It is clear from the posts that he has experience with IT and web implementation projects, so it is written from a techie's point of view.
  • Re:As an outsider. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dmbasso ( 1052166 ) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @11:56AM (#45356737)

    why does Ubuntu not come with a screensaver?

    Settings > Brightness & Lock > Turn screen off when inactive for ...

    Ah, you want something that show you ponies, rainbows and stuff? I don't know, never felt the need for it.

  • Re:As an outsider. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by meburke ( 736645 ) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @12:02PM (#45356821)

    I totally object to your language and argument. It is inflammatory without being relevant.

    I agree that Obamacare is bad economics, and I have the opinion that it was rammed down our throats by a Socialist mob, but faulty argumentation is not going to get people focusing on WHAT's right; it just keeps the focus on WHO's right. (or who thinks they are right.)

    At this point I'm so fed up with politicians I think they should all be fired for not focusing on solutions that work for everybody, or at least almost everybody.

  • Re:As an outsider. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @12:05PM (#45356865) Journal
    It's a bit disingenuous to say the whole law is broken because of the website.

    No, the original poster is correct. The law is broken because:
    1. It's not a tax since it raises no revenue
    2. The bill did not originate in the proper house of Congress. It was a retitled bill.
    3. How anyone can think the government can force people to hand money to private companies is simply insane. The last time a government tried this was 238 years ago, and we all know the result of that experiment.
    4. It violates ones privacy under the 9th Amendment and most likely several portions of HIPPA.

    Plain and simple, the law is broken and only exists because the activist Republican Justice John Roberts doesn't grasp basic Constitutional issues such as limitations on governmental power over the people.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2013 @01:47PM (#45358133)

    The Obamas are currently billionaires, thanks to all the insider trading their 'blind' trusts are legally allowed to engage in. They have made hundreds of millions from Obamacare alone. You Yanks are so VERY, VERY, VERY thick, you have always allowed your political masters to legally indulge in insider trading, using the excuse that the three branches of your 'government' must be independent of one another.

    Let me make this clearer, since the average reader of Slashdot is provably far from bright. The American system is based on ONE principle. That the legal system, president, and 'parliament' do NOT have instantaneous hierarchical power over one another. The CONSTITUTION, on the other hand, is designed to be HIGHER than all three, and all three have the duty of upholding the principles of the constitution. If a court upholds the constitution over the apparent current wishes of the President or the Parliament, this does NOT represent the courts being above Parliament or the President. The point is subtle, and beyond the understanding of most here, but is not hard to understand.

    Now this independence of the three branches of government allowed profoundly wicked American politicians to argue from the beginning that no law could be passed restricting the business activities of politicians, if such actions merely exploited knowledge gained from the day to day business of being a politician. In other words, INSIDER TRADING would never ever be a criminal offence if carried out by a serving politician, or a 'retired' President.

    America has a long and disgusting history of politicians entering office 'penniless' and leaving office as billionaires (LITERALLY as billionaires). The Obamas gave the IT contracts for Obamacare purely on the basis of their own ability to profit from the project. This isn't in dispute. Democrat sheeple praise this corruption saying "well senior Republicans do exactly the same thing when they are in power", which tells you all you need to know about US politics.

    Why do you Yank sheeple even vote? The left serves the exact same masters as the right, and by voting you actually give you ACTIVE support to the system itself. Not voting is an active removal of your approval. In a modern nation, if too many people 'vote' against the current system by refusing to vote, your masters are forced to change the system, against their interests (at least in some small way). This is why your masters work so hard at election time to have a ton of their pathetic showbiz puppets jump around telling you that patriots vote, and 'traitors' don't.

    American sheeple are financially ruined and/or imprisoned every day for the 'crime' of having a neighbour with an inside take on some company stock, that allows them to make a small amount of money exploiting that information. At the same time, the most powerful people in America make hundreds of billions over year in blatant acts of insider trading, fully beyond the reach of the law. No other nation in the West is this blatant with its corruption. Obama can take a dump on each and every one of you, and one half of you actually PRAISE him for being a 'hip' 'black' 'dude' simply because he fronts 'YOUR' team. I ask you- is it possible to be any more pathetic? And when Bush III or Clinton II are doing worse to you in a few years hence, you braindead Yanks will be loving them even more.

  • Re:As an outsider. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by microbox ( 704317 ) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @03:20PM (#45359265)

    How anyone can think the government can force people to hand money to private companies is simply insane.

    Do you need insurance to drive your car? Where I live you do.

    Besides, liberals wanted a single-payer system. Then there would be no handing money to private companies. The ACA was a conservative idea -- from the heritage foundation, supported by top conservatives up until Obama's election.

    If the ACA is so bad, just remember, it's a conservative idea.

  • by Straif ( 172656 ) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @05:23PM (#45360707) Homepage

    News reports are now saying he refused to sign off on the websites security.

    When he wouldn't sign off on the website they went over his head to get a temporary security authorization from his boss, who, despite several warnings about holes throughout the system, didn't seem to have an issue signing off.

    So as it turns out he may have been the only competent person there.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva