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Washington State health care exchange breaks after just a few hours

ADDITION

The apparent calamity that is the Washington State health care exchange would be comical were it not that people wanted to, y’know, sign up for insurance. The exchange broke down mere hours after opening, and apparently has problems with the most basic of functions, like simple math.

The website began open enrollment and was shut down after a just a few hours when the system detected that tax credit calculations were incorrect. State software engineers and managers are working to correct the problem that somehow fell under the radar when the system was being developed. How such a basic component could be missed by their QA is remarkable.

Exchange CEO Richard Onizuka stated that the credits were off by “just” a few dollars in some cases.

I’m a software developer. Yes, complex systems can be difficult to write. However, there are long-established procedures and methods for testing and it seems clear little or no testing was done here.

I’m not sure which is more alarming; that totals were off (which indicates bad data) or that their incompetent clown of a CEO said golly, the totals were only off by a few dollars.

System Administrators for the exchange hoped there would be no repeat of the original open enrollment fiasco when the system buckled down due to heavy load and rejected applicants having a hyphen in their surname.

Lordy, the system attempted basic validation of surnames and rejected names containing non-alphabetical characters (like hypens). This is amateur hour coding, and again, could not possibly have been tested.

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