The Brian Lehrer Show

So If is Working, Now What?

Monday, December 02, 2013

Two months, 400 software bugs, and countless headaches later, the Obama administration says will now work 95% of the time. What does this mean for the fate of the Affordable Care Act? Neil King, Wall Street Journal national political correspondent, discusses the latest news out of Washington.

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The Washington Report

Obamacare Website Improves & Syrian Chemical Weapons Cleanup Offshore

Monday, December 02, 2013

Eddie Robinson talks with New York Times Chief Washington correspondent David Sanger about the new challenges facing President Barack Obama's healthcare website, the long-running dispute between China and Japan, and how the U.S. plans to destroy Syria's chemical weapons at sea.

The Brian Lehrer Show

When Will Work?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This Saturday is the administration's self-imposed deadline to have the insurance exchanges back up and running. Where do they stand? Amy Goldstein, Washington Post political reporter explains the progress so far and what is still left to do.  


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Money Talking

A Checkup on Obamacare

Friday, November 22, 2013 launched more than seven weeks ago and its diagnosis isn't looking good so far. 


The Brian Lehrer Show

Obamacare: Keeping Your Plan

Friday, November 15, 2013

WNYC reporter Fred Mogul and Elisabeth Benjamin, vice president of Health Initiatives at Community Service Society, discuss the president's announcement yesterday and what you need to know about keeping your insurance plan.

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New Tech City

Programming Families: How Kids are Like Software, and What the Government Could Learn From It

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Coders have a very specific way of working, it’s called Agile.  One family decided to apply it to their lives.  What if had too?

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Money Talking

Apologizing Executives: The Rise of the Emoter-in-Chief

Friday, November 01, 2013

When Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized about the rollout of the Obamacare website this week, she joined a growing number of leaders in business and government who have decided saying sorry was the smart choice in the face of some crisis or gaffe.


The Brian Lehrer Show

The Healthcare Tech Hearings

Friday, October 25, 2013

Problems continue to plague the online healthcare exchanges set up under Obamacare, from slow access to corrupt data being sent to insurance companies. NPR congressional reporter Ailsa Chang talks about the Congressional hearings on the troubles, and what comes next.

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On The Media

Healthcare dot UGH

Friday, October 18, 2013 launched in the beginning of the month to much frustration, as hundreds of thousands of people flocked to buy insurance from the online exchange. Because of technical glitches, the majority of these users were turned away due to website problems. Bob talks to programmer and Bloomberg Businessweek contributor Paul Ford who says while was open for business at the beginning of the month, it’s failure may be attributed to its closed code.

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On The Media Can Be Mad Now

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Ah, last week. We were so young. So naive. Seven days ago I wrote about how conservatives who were jumping up and down with excitement about bugs in the rollout were getting ahead of themselves. I argued that any massive tech rollout is bound to have errors. It was just too early to say whether's problems were nature (bad design) or nurture (good design that was temporarily failing because of sheer demand).

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On The Media

Healthcare.Gov is Up and (Mostly) Running

Tuesday, October 01, 2013 launched today. Users can log on to find out what kind of healthcare they're eligible for. One million people visited the site before 7AM today, which is mind-boggling, considering it launched at midnight. Two quick thoughts!

1. Conservatives who are touting the site's glitches as a synecdoche for Obamacare's failure sound very silly. It's impossible to roll out something as enormous and unprecedented as without glitches. For perspective, when Apple released iOS 7 last month, there were bugs and delays. When Rockstar Games released Grand Theft Auto V, they had to delay its multiplayer component for two weeks because they couldn't get up to server capacity in time. These are two tech companies who, every few years, drop an enormous thing into the internet that everyone wants at the same time. They can't perfect that process. No one can. You just fix the problems as they arise and try to be transparent. It's just too early to say if the administration has done that.

2. Back in 2008, Candidate Obama promised he'd be a tech president. Specifically, that meant more openness, in the form of sites like More broadly, Obama seemed to promise a government that you could interact with via nice websites instead of stacks and stacks of indecipherable paper forms. And on its face, actually looks like that promise realized. It's nice that you can learn about something as complex as your healthcare options from an interface that looks like the websites you're used to visiting every day.

And yet, is launching in the midst of a government shutdown. The Twitter accounts for all these federally-funded organizations are dutifully reporting that they can't tweet anymore, since the people who are paid to tweet from those accounts cannot legally do so until the budget is restored. I'm not sure what I'm getting at, exactly, except that the contrast is striking. There's a limit to what technology can fix, and the messiness of political intransigence is beyond it. 

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