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Red Hat tapped to fix malfunctioning health care website

White House officials said Thursday that they have enlisted a number of high-profile firms, including Raleigh-based Red Hat, for the “tech surge” underway to fix the government’s malfunctioning health insurance website.

Dozens of expert engineers and technology managers are working round-the-clock to fix the website originally designed for the public to verify income, confirm discounts and buy subsidized insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

“They come from leading technology companies such as Red Hat and Oracle; and include individuals with expertise on site reliability; stability; and scalability,” according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The site, h ealthcare.gov, has been working only sporadically since it was launched Oct. 1.

“There are dozens of software engineers, developers, designers and analysts, who are methodically working around the clock on performance and functionability of healthcare.gov,” the announcement said.

Red Hat’s open-source software is free. The company makes money by charging for maintenance and support and for services such as training and consulting.

Red Hat spokeswoman Stephanie Wonderlick said she was not authorized to disclose the number or names of company employees enlisted in the government project. She said the feds have requested that all inquiries be routed to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that’s administering the subsidized insurance program.

“And, lastly, as the general contractor,” the government’s announcement said, “QSSI is making sure there is a coordinated approach to the punch list, and that the experts are being used as efficiently as productively as possible.”

Staff writer John Murawski

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