Skip the Website, 16 Hacks and Other News

andrea crisante/

Follow key reporting on the Obama administration’s signature policy initiative.

The rocky rollout of, the website for people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, has garnered a lot of attention from the media as well as technology analysts. Here's our daily roundup of some of the key reports you may have missed:

  • Skip the Website: The White House says it is willing to let health plan customers skip the online marketplace at the troubled and enroll in plans directly with insurance companies, The Wall Street Journal reports. "It's the end here that matters, not necessarily the means," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. "We have to make sure that there are other means available for the American people, even as we make improvements to the website."
  • Administration Would Be Happy With a Low B: The government will be satisfied if 80 percent of users are able to buy health insurance online, according to The Washington Post. The paper noted that this number -- which hasn’t offiically been made public -- is the first known performance standard for President Obama’s health care reform. The Post also noted that, by this measure, a success for the government could still leave one in five people who try to sign up through the site unable to do so.  
  • Contractors Messed Up Fed Retirement Benefits Before CGI Federal, the lead contractor on before the website’s failed launch on Oct. 1, “is filled with executives from a company that mishandled at least 20 other government IT projects, including a flawed effort to automate retirement benefits for millions of federal workers, documents and interviews show,” The Post reports.
  • Contractors and Officials Were Worried: Lawmakers released a series of July emails between CGI Federal and Health and Human Services Department officials revealing concerns about development, testing and functionality months before the site's launch, Government Health IT reports.  
  • 16 Hacks: HHS is investigating 16 alleged hacks on, all of which failed, according to CNN. The agency also is looking into a denial-of-service tool that aimed to burden the site but apparently was not activated.

(Image via andrea crisante/