Why Isn’t There a Healthcare.gov App?

A THCB reader who asked that we not identify him because his company does unrelated contracting work with the government writes in to ask:

“Why isn’t there a Healthcare.gov app? If the problem is that the system is failing because the poorly designed Healthcare.gov web site is being crashed by monster waves of traffic, wouldn’t putting out an app help?

I mean, ‘cmon guys. It’s 2013. Millions of Americans have iPhones, iPads, Androids and god knows what other mobile devices. In theory a freestanding app — even a simple one — that allowed browsing and “print my application” capabilities would help the traffic problem by giving people an alternative way to access the features available at the government web site.

If the problem is in fact the web site and not the data hub, wouldn’t that go a long way to solving the problem? How hard could it possibly be to put something together quickly and get it out there? Why isn’t this being done?

Knowing how this game works, I’m pretty sure the plan was to originally include something like this. Then the vendors and contractors involved quoted an astronomically high price tag that nobody was willing to go for. Then somebody else said something ominous about privacy and an awkward silence broke out at the table. The Healthcare.gov app was put in the “nice to have” – “we’ll get around to it when we can” – “bells and whistles” camp.”

Have a brilliant idea that could help save Healthcare.gov? Somebody has got to do something.  Drop us a note. We’ll publish the good ideas.

6 replies »

  1. I’m surprised there isn’t an official Obamacare app. It can take several sessions at the computer to get through the application. It would be convenient to have dedicated app…

  2. Why go through Healthcare.gov at all? Why not duplicate it? If a site like WikiLeaks can a mirror itself, I am hoping – really hoping – that the US government has the technical capacity to do the same thing.

    Why not route the requests directly to the data hub?

    Or at this point, why not come up with an interagency hack – enlist the IRS to verify potential candidates and “push” eligibility notices to potential applicants – “Good news. You’ve been pre-qualified. Here’s your enrollment verification confirmation code. ”

    This would help. I think.

  3. So actually Covered California has an offline web app (as demoed at Health 2.0) that kind of is this BUT it still has to hit the transaction layer and probably wouldnt help

  4. This would not help anything at all. Such an app would almost certainly use web services on the back end, and dould not reduce traffic one bit.