Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Window Shopping Alternative to HealthCare.gov

November 8, 2013 CBS News reports on what happens when three software engineers decide to solve the most obviously stupid part of HealthCare.gov:
In a San Francisco office shared with other tech start-ups, three 20-year-olds saw HealthCare.gov as a challenge.
With a few late nights, Ning Liang, George Kalogeropoulos and Michael Wasser built "thehealthsherpa.com," a two-week-old website that solves one of the biggest problems with the government's site.
"They got it completely backwards in terms of what people want up front," said Liang. He added: "They want prices and benefits, so that they could make the decision."
Liang showed CBS News how it worked. "You come to our website and you put in your zip code -- in this case a California zip code. You hit 'find plans,' and you immediately see the exchange plans that are available for that zip code."
It makes you wonder what might have happened if the federal government hadn't awarded the contract to a company with a vice president who just happened to be a classmate of Michelle Obama.


  1. CGI Fed may have had ideas such as that, but my understanding is that CMMS insisted it knew better. In other words, CGI did produce a failed product, but the product met the specifications.


  2. From everything I've read the decision to prohibit "window-shopping" was deliberate, political, and came from above CMS. It put up a barrier to keep interested parties (read people opposed to Obamacare) from discovering the ways that Obamacare was forcing health insurance plans to change (for the worse) and what the costs would be (higher, generally).