Healthcare.gov Goes Dark – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

But First: HealthCare.gov’s continued problems

  • The Hill reports that HealthCare.gov crashed on Sunday. The Department of Health and Human Services said HealthCare.gov's application and enrollment system crashed Sunday night due to an outage at the company that hosts the site. HealthCare.gov visitors received a message when trying to log on that read the “system is down at the moment.” “We are experiencing technical difficulties and hope to have them resolved soon,” the message continued. “Please try again later.” “In a hurry? You might be able to apply faster at our Marketplace call center.” Federal health officials earlier had modified the HealthCare.gov homepage to emphasize alternate ways of applying for health coverage under ObamaCare.

  • The New York Times: Health Site Woes Undermine Obama’s Vow on improving government

  • The Washington Post:  How HealthCare.gov looks to a health IT pioneer

  • The New York Times oped: Clay Johnson and Harper Reed: Why the Government Never Gets Tech Right

  • NPR: U.K. Official Urges U.S. Government To Adopt A Digital Core

    • Following a similar monster technical fiasco — a failed upgrade for the National Health Service — the British government decided to overhaul of the way it approached technology. Instead of writing behemoth, long-term contracts with a long list of specifications for outside contractors, Parliament greenlighted the creation of the , a "go-team" of 300 technologists who began streamlining 90 percent of the most common transactions the British people have with government. It appointed Bracken, a tech industry veteran, as the first ever executive director of digital — a Cabinet-level position.

Meanwhile, the budget talks gear up, but conventional wisdom doesn’t hold out much hope

  • There are fewer options for agencies doing more with less; The New York Times: After Year of Working Around Federal Cuts, Agencies Face Fewer Options

  • Bloomberg News: Budget Panel Taking Up Spending Cuts as Expectations Low

  • Time magazine: Big Deal, Small Deal, No Deal: Why Hopes Are Low at Start of Talks Over Next  Budget Cliff  

  • Meanwhile, this is hard to imagine -- The Washington Post reports that young people are souring on federal careers

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. Federal employees that received unemployment benefits during the shutdown have to return those funds the Obama administration has announced. The announcement came after House Republicans wrote to OMB director, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, requesting that these employees repay their unemployment benefits in full. The Government Executive notes that most states had already recouped the unemployment benefits from previously furloughed federal employees, but that certain states, such as Oregon, had been allowing federal workers to keep their unemployment benefits in addition to their retroactive pay.

  2. The period for federal employees to donate to charities through the government’s annual giving drive has been extended by one month due to the government shutdown. The Government Executive reports that charities now have until January 15, as opposed to December 15, to reach out to federal employees and solicit donations.   

  3. Luke McCormack, a chief information officer at the Justice Department, will be the new chief information officer at the Department of Homeland Security. The Federal Times reports that McCormack will be responsible for DHS’ data center consolidation efforts and its cloud computing and cyber security projects.  

  4. Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, commander of the Army’s Cyber Command, has expressed his uncertainties regarding the size of the military’s cyber workforce, stating that currently it is impossible to know if the workforce is too small or big. Federal News Radio states that the U.S. military is in the process of creating 133 cyber mission teams, 41 of which will come from the Army. These mission teams will be responsible for the military’s offensive and defensive cyber operations and the monitoring of DOD’s online networks.  

  5. Jeffrey Zients, the Obama administration’s appointee for addressing the problems associated with the site, Healthcare.gov, has announced that the site will be functioning properly by late November. In addition to Zients’ expertise, the Federal Times notes that the company, QSSI, will be operating as a contractor on the project and assisting in the resolution of the site’s internal malfunctions.

  6. The Marine Corps has issued an official statement disputing the online rumor that President Obama is behind the organization’s efforts to change the cover for their uniform. The Stars and Stripes reports that the Marine Corps is planning to alter the covers worn by female marines because the company that currently manufactures them is going out of business. Currently, the Marine Corps Uniform Board is deciding between having female marines wear the traditional male covers or having all marines adopt the Dan Daly cap, named after Sgt. Maj. Dan Daly, a two-time Medal of Honor recipient.

  7. The Department of Homeland Security is welcoming this week Megan H. Mack as its new Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Karen Neuman as its new Chief Privacy Officer. Both Mack and Neuman bring a combination of private and public sector experience to their new positions, as DHS.gov reports. Before joining DHS, Mack worked as the Director of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration and Neuman served as a founding partner of St. Ledger-Roty, Neuman, & Olson LLP.

DorobekINSIDER Water-cooler Fodder

  • For Halloween… flip phones are cool once again!

  • From Saturday Night Live… their take on the HealthCare.gov situation:

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