It's easy....the problem with the federal site is that everything is bigger. They have to handle the user load from all of the states that decided not to do their own thing. They have to maintain connectivity and exchange data with the insurance companies and plans for every one of those states. They have to interface with their own back-end systems for subsidy eligibility and everything else for all of those states. None of that is easy to coordinate or implement. In Kentucky, you have a total population of less than 5 million and according to the state, less than 700k are uninsured. (http://insurance.ky.gov/Static_Info.aspx?Static_ID=119&Div_id=16). That's not a huge number of potential hits. A large percentage of the uninsured are eligible for Medicaid under the expansion, which makes the processing even simpler. You limit the number of users, the number of private insurers, and the number of potential plans by doing this at a single state level. The same would not be true for CA, TX, or probably even FL or NY, where there are simply more people and more players. I believe the states that didn't do their own Medicaid expansion or their own website dumped into the federal government's lap something that is simply too big to manage. I know a lot of money was spent, but can you imagine trying to get all of that data to work back and forth with all of those players? If one of the insurers didn't play ball, did the federal site just kick them out of the exchange? If one of the states waited until the last possible minute to say no to doing their own, what position does it put the DHHS? What about the infrastructure and the development teams? I hear comparisons on TV to Facebook or other mega websites. The comparison is wrong. Every major website I can think of started as something small and built up to what they are now. A dorm room, a garage, or someone's basement, up to a bajillion dollar a year giant. You don't just set a date for a website and say, "Have at it." I can't even think of an instance where this user count has ever been dropped onto a single site on its first day.....can you? Is it possible to make it work? Absolutely. Is it simple? Heck no.
Really puts into perspective the number of people there are in China.....that's the population of Chicago, just doing one job. Holy smokes.....
From a business perspective, I don't see how this is a huge deal. Most software companies charge an up front fee plus a subscription if you want to keep current. I realize it isn't the exact same model, but companies are still paying out the ears for "support" and upgrades down the road. The only beneficiaries of this are the software company and the fact that the IT crowd doesn't have to go begging for a big check every 4-5 years for the latest and greatest version. (Accounting is much nicer about smaller, annual checks for some darned reason.) For a home user, though, this stinks. Imagine a world where every company "rented" their software. You'd have bills coming in just for the right to use your computer! Not me.
Just because you have a new toy that you can read on doesn't mean that the eBooks or other resources they will access on these will be worth a damn. They will still need a computer to do their actual work on. Unless the books are given for free, and they are the same textbooks that the students would've bought before, this is a really bad idea. I see no problem requiring laptops for class and this just is a step from that, but the iPad is useless other than as a book, email reader, or toy.
I can't believe they don't do this already.
Imagine the ads they show within their search results! Some agent searches for "The Base" and gets margin ads for Kevin Costner flicks.