The failure that is currently healthcare.gov is heavily based on a Java implementation for everything including the most trivial and simple things. I've spent two weeks getting nothing but inglorious errors, and the [mis]use of Java appears to be deeply involved.
It is an astonishing, breathtaking failure when viewed with any expertise in how things should be done. You log in and the screen just turns blank with no error message. Or you get an error message that literally just says "Error!" in red and nothing more. Or it gives an error that indicates what can't be the true cause. Or it says we're too busy ... at 3 a.m. Or try again later (but not how much later). Or a bunch of Java code gets splattered onto the page in literal text. Different errrors in every variety of browser. No evidence of version control or other error tracking. No indication of status, good or bad, no list of active problems, no advice when to expect resolution. There is no documentation or explanation of any of this from the authorities or the contractor. The authorities will not report usage statistics, how many succeeded, or how anyone succeeded if there is a specimen anywhere in the universe to copy. One has to question whether it has worked in a single instance.
Here is an acid-core example: every single user has to confirm via email. Yet the email is flat-out RFC-violating non-compliant, and can't be read in email readers that don't know how to handle this non-conformity. Specifically, this violation appears in the email headers:
Received: from . . . service.govdelivery.com
. . .
This is not an example of bad Java, but it does show the kind of foolishness passing for system-building everywhere you look. This garbage came from govdelivery.com who are apparently the choke point for the entire system. If they fail, or if you fail to deal with them, you are SUNK.
They do have a pretty girl smiling at you from the home page. Puh-leeze.
These are not bugs or glitches or the overwhelm of success. This thing is utterly defective. A FAILURE. One must question whether it will ever work, and if it won't have to be abandoned for a do-over. Nobody expected a smooth rollout, but this is head-slapping incompetence.
And the law is, you must succeed with it, or ELSE! You cannot mail in forms, or call on the phone, to get this done. It all happens on the Web.
And when has the federal government ever appropriated non-government technology and property in this way, and used it as the sole means to enforce something against the citizenry? With the income tax, they at least give you the paper and a post office to send it back and forth. The government will depend completely on the Internet now to keep you from being fined or put in jail?