Emerging Tech

President Obama does his own tech demo for HealthCare.gov

The Obama administration has been dragging the federal government into the 21st century, technologically. We got another example of it this week, as President Obama did his own tech demo.

Despite its other challenges and missteps, the Obama administration has made progress in pushing the U.S. government toward becoming more technically-savvy and at least considering technology as part of the solution to a number of the problems the U.S. is currently tackling.

President Obama named the nation's first federal CIO as well as its first CTO, became the first president to carry a smartphone, and his IT team opened the government's first cloud computing app store (Apps.gov).

I was also struck this week by the fact that Obama chose to deliver his own technology demo in showing off the capabilities of the HealthCare.gov website. As you can see in the three-minute video below, which shows Obama running a 15-inch MacBook Pro with a sticker of the Presidential Seal covering the Apple logo, the Obama Administration knows how to put together a decent screencast and the President has again shown his enthusiasm for using technology as an enabler.

Whatever you think about the Health Care Reform Act (and I'm sure there are lots of strong opinions among this crowd), I consider it a positive development that the U.S. chief executive and the administration are taking steps to drag the U.S. federal government into the 21st century.

If you're interested in tracking the Gov 2.0 movement, I'd recommend the O'Reilly Radar blog or follow O'Reilly's Gov 2.0 Correspondent Alex Howard on Twitter.

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About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

44 comments
jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Too bad it's still on layaway and doesn't come off until 2014. Obama must think he's buying Christmas presents at K-mart.

codybwheeler
codybwheeler

This can't happen fast enough. I find it pretty incredible that I still have to fill out a form and mail it back with a stamp to make a transaction with the government. I mean I might as well be using floppy disks.

tmcclure
tmcclure

Throwing up a website up is simple, getting bureaucrats to cooperate is another story. Good luck with that technology update. Especially human services. I cannot even imagine the amount of money they will waste.

StoneSatellite
StoneSatellite

Well thanks for that. Makes me feel all better about almost 10 percent unemployment (even higher if you consider those who have just quit looking for a job), two wars, one of which there is no end in sight, a colossal deficit that just keeps growing through out of control spending that has the country on the verge of bankruptcy. I could go on but at the moment I'm just too excited knowing he's banging away on his presidential sealed laptop trying to polish the turd called health care reform that was hoisted upon an unwilling majority instead of on vacation, the golf course, or yapping it up with the hags of "The View". Whew, NOW I feel better.

wiktor00000
wiktor00000

? ?????? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ????? ??????? ??????? -- ?????????? ?? ???????? --- ? ??? ????? ????? ????? ???????

Jaqui
Jaqui

As long as they manage to avoid the IDIOCY that the Canadian government web based services fell for. While they move more into online technology. The Canadian Government set up a single sign on scheme to allow you to access your information for ALL government services you interact with. [ Great idea really ] But they screwed up in the actual method. Clientside Java for the encryption to login and access the information. Not even ssl. Just clientside Java. [ when you require a jvm on your system to be able to log in to the services, the java is being run on the client system. ] The Canadian Government also set a requirement for a common look for all their websites. So when dealing with the Canada Revenue Agency, or with Immigration Canada, or even the Justice Department, the only difference between them [ other than main content naturally ] is the Agency specific branding. The layout is the same. You know after going through one site where all the tools are on any site. In this, they did it right.

Gadget Gurus
Gadget Gurus

He didn't do a tech demo. Someone else did a tech demo and added his usual BS speech sitting next to a computer still trying to sell unconstitutional legislation to a nation that is rejecting it. My suggestion to you Jason, is to stay out of politics and hold on to your credibility.

efaden1
efaden1

It will go into effect in the future, when, if there was no new plan, only millionaires could afford health insurance. I don't think I will be a millionaire, so I'm happy that this plan passed! Yes we can, President Obama. By the way, if you're a fan and want to submit an affirmation, add one here: http://pboab.wordpress.com/ (Only affirmations will be approved) - Thanks!

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

While others in the discussion thread have gotten distracted with politics (easy to do), the kinds of basic efficiencies like the ones you mentioned are the kind of thing that this article was talking about.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Well, at least they didn't half-?ss it; they lost everyone's driver license information in the breach among other data sets. Local hospitals are also getting slapped pretty hard for using unencrypted removable media after the purse snatching last week or the week before.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

there's difference between government and politics. I can't stand party politics. I'm an independent. And, I have no desire whatsoever to write about politics. However, I do want to see the US government modernize and use technology to empower people to better monitor and participate in the activities of the government. THAT will make for better-informed citizens and good democracy.

Ronn Hanley
Ronn Hanley

It's only obvious that some people think he should have come in, waved his magic wand and everything would be peachy again...

NexS
NexS

I reckon he did done go do some good. I see no negative outcomes from him exampling himself toward the world of computing and technology. Good going.

marina.kelly
marina.kelly

The question was not everyone's opinion on health care reform. The question is thoughts on the government's move towards IT solutions for some common problems/issues. Any move to increasingly use technology is positive. I find it a bit of an embarassment that the country that gives us such amazing technology lacks simple interactive web sites for common tasks. Want to save money to bring down the debt and spend more on job creation? Find ways to save money on unnecessarily manual tasks. It is what I recommend to clients all the time.

Dusterman
Dusterman

Soooooo .... now I need to voice my opinion . .. .. .. I presented my idea to the Whitehouse a while back that said in effect that all of the health care laws are totally ineffective without a reasonably good software program to back them up .. .. I got the standard thank you response .. .. I then suggested that they offer a $10M prize to the person or company that could come up with a stand alone program that intersects with all of the government agencies as well as the doctors, hospitals and pharmacies .. .. .. again the standard thank you .. .... after talking to quite a few folks in and around the health care system the largest complaint was that the government[s] all have different rates of pay for the very same procedure and all have different codes [ see previous suggestion to the WH ]....... well off again I go to the WH website and make the simple suggestion that the merely make all of the government[s] agencies and all of the health care industry use the exact same procedures and process's .. ... and again I get the standard thank you response .. .. . To the point here - To you folks that whine that this health care law is illegal - stop it - please your BS factor is showing .. .. you offer nothing for a cure just your whiny biotch BS .. .. BTW .. .. if you and yours get your way .. ... your Mother, Father, Aunt, Uncle, Grandmother, Grandfather or someone else that you are related to would loose their SS, their Medicare and or Medicaid totally .... ...don't believe me .. .. ask those folks that are telling you these scare tactic stories ..... .... so if you and yours get your wish .. ... who will take care of all of those folks ?? ?? you ??? I doubt it ! ! The new health care law is not perfect it is merely better than what we have now !!!!!! . Look up the facts before you spew your anger and rancor ! ! . When presented with the facts and the truth .. .. your position does not and cannot hold ! ! . When you run out of rancor and anger, you and your type of muck stirrers resort to throwing innuendoes at the President .. .. sounds like BS, smells like BS .... tastes like BS .. ..it more than likely is BS .. .. . I too am an independent .. .. but I do believe that our country was run into ruin for 8 years, by an out of control government and now that a person [ President Obama and some of the Democrats ] has said I will stand against those that try to tear down our country .. .. and actually do something to change the status quo .. .. folks label him as un-American [ birth cert ] a muslim [ he actually a practicing Christian] and when that fails it's his divisiveness over his race .. .. . Our country has never been in such dire straights and some of you continue with your hatred and anger .. .. stop it ! ! . I challenge you .. .. present a realistic cure for any situation that our great country is having and send them to the WhiteHouse's website. No .. .. you probably will not get more than the standard response letter , even if they use your idea .. .. so what .. .. .. you know that your idea made a difference and you can lay your head down on your pillow in your home ... ... all thanks to our [ your ] government and its citizen[s] . It is simple .. .. . State the problem that you are addressing Give a reasonable cure for the problem, be as specific as you can be in 2500 words or less :-). . Simple ... . "Truth .. .. .. justice .. .. .. and the American Way" . Oh yea you Canuc's can send in your idea's as well.. .. I wouldn't want to offend our neighbors to the north .. ...

mdbobbitt
mdbobbitt

Big Whoop. Better to expend more effort in creating jobs.

Timbo Zimbabwe
Timbo Zimbabwe

... about this administration other than their tech efforts.

SAStarling
SAStarling

IMPRESSIVE! Way to go! /sarc P.S. "No You Can't"

puppybreath
puppybreath

You say that only millionaires will be able to afford health insurance in the future. Could you please provide links to studies that verify this to be true? Also, if you're worried about the cost of health care, wouldn't the logical course of action be to find ways to reduce the cost rather than finding ways to provide "free" insurance?

MsUnderestimated
MsUnderestimated

.. what else would we expect? I just happen to know exactly what's going to happen: uncertainty. I sat through an amazing Webinar hosting by my company's insurance provider, and even their Government liaison wasn't sure about how everything will work... or if it will work at all. The whole damn thing sounded frightening.

Jaqui
Jaqui

I been harassing Epass Canada for over a YEAR about it. they think client side java is secure and won't listen.

maxwell edison
maxwell edison

It might be nice to think otherwise, but government and politics are permanently intertwined. If you want to have less politics in government, the only way is to have less government (which I'm all in favor of). Case in point: http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-13416-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=334427&messageID=3338702&tag=content;leftCol As such, whether you think so or not, you just wrote about politics, at least in the minds of many. P.S. I don't plan to set up my soapbox in your discussion. But I did feel compelled to comment as I did.

Ronn Hanley
Ronn Hanley

And then there are those who just want to argue... The VA is running two years behind on its records keeping for income based services. That means that any veteran who is up to two years out of service could be applying for benefits with income and finance information that is COMPLETELY inaccurate. I fail to see why it wouldn't be a good thing for the government to be brought online with the rest of us.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Obama promised to help make the oceans recede, etc.

Par-Pro
Par-Pro

open check book. Well read the law. ONLY CONGRESS SHALL MAKE TAX LAWS. the president has no control over how THEY spend our money. And only congress may allow a war to take to take place or go in to effect. the Present to but a head in office so you can blame for every thing that goes wrong you (we) ARE THE BLAME BECAUSE WE PUT THEM IN OFFICE. So get over it. We put these a**holes in office then blame it on the President. read the laws and then B**** .Remember it your money they are spending Not the presdient.........

Dusterman
Dusterman

Without knowing it , this subject matter may have been better left alone [ I like Jason ] because .. .. there are 2 sides to this matter here in the US the haves - they have a good job and don't want to rock the boat - the have not's ....they are under employed or have an illness that financially breaks them and then they die because the healing that they needed cost more than they had and so they are housed in a public hospital to die from the ailment .. .. there are those here that look at your system there and claim it is one of the worst in the world .. .. I personally know better .. .. if you read my initial response I stated that I presented my opinions for cures of the health care issues up to and including a 10M prize to anyone that could present a system to be used by all involved - - -remember if you deal with a government you need to KISS it [ keep it simple ssss] . What upsets me are those here and everywhere that are whiny biotches without anything to offer for a cure to the problem .. .. they are led by angry far right folks that cannot envision the poor people actually not being housed like animals or actually getting the same health care .. .. and OMG .. .. if they are of a different skin color ... .. .. look out ! !

StoneSatellite
StoneSatellite

Dusterman, has any big government entitlement program EVER.. Reduced the deficit? Only cost what it says it will and lowered the costs of goods and services? Improved quality? Enhanced efficiency? Decreased delays? Created more choice and competition? Featured competent bureaucracy? Operated with honest accounting? Avoided fraud, abuse, waste, maddening red tape, and higher taxes? Obamacare calls for some $500 billion carved off Medicare and another $136 billion off of Medicare Advantage over 10 yrs. Many doctors are even now no longer accepting Medicare. A GP I consult for accepts Medicare patients only, and if they had not extended the payments, he would have just hung up his coat. That's not a scare tactic, just fact. I'm not on Medicaid nor do I know anyone that is, but do know that it's just another bloated entitlement program that's out of control that I have to pay for because many of the recipients just don't want to work. You speak of Grandma losing her Medicare? Believe it. Obama claims that insurance premiums will go down when the very same "nonpartisan" Congressional Budget Office he quotes has said that Obamacare will cause the average family's premiums to go up by as much as 13 percent by 2016. And then there's doctor's shortages, and the list goes on. I don't claim to know all about the bloat that is "health care reform", but what I do know about it doesn't sound good to me or any other hard working tax paying person that I know. As far as it being better than what we have now is easily debatable, but I believe there is a better solution to both. Obamacare is nothing but another big government entitlement program, and when it comes to a cure, it will not come from you or I, and that's why I vote to put the best man or woman in office that I feel will serve my family's best interests. "folks label him as un-American [ birth cert ] a muslim [ he actually a practicing Christian] and when that fails it's his divisiveness over his race". If that were true the man would never be where he is now. If you were an employer, would you want to keep someone on your payroll that consistently does shoddy work? The divisiveness only comes from race baiters such as yourself.

Ronn Hanley
Ronn Hanley

I wonder how much better the world would be if more people attempted to submit answers along with their vitriol. Duster you are to be commended!

reelskills
reelskills

NOT that we lack too little government in our lives. While you espouse this idea that opponents of Government Run Healthcare (and every other industry for that matter) lack "solutions", have no facts and are filled with anger, you totally choose to dismiss the key facts regarding the government's limited authority based on Constitutional law. The debate should end right there. that?s all. Unfortunately for the self-reliant and principled, too many depraved citizens feel that they have no responsibilities to themselves, friends or families and that it is everyone else?s responsibility via government entitlements to provide for them. Quite pathetic actually to fight with such passion for your right to depend on government for things not afforded by law.

StoneSatellite
StoneSatellite

But why use logic and lower costs that makes it more affordable for employers to offer it when you can offer it for "free", which as you know, nothing is free because as usual, the money has to come from somewhere, which just happens to be from working stiffs like you and I. The democrats are always in favor of spending your money to fund crap like "free health care" if it can keep their voter base thinking they can sit at home on their butts and get something for nothing.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It may not need the government's implementation but your healthcare needs improvement (heck, ours does also in many areas). In general, I'd have to agree with Robert Steele's assessment of the government and how it could be returned to something for and by the people rather than for and by the contractors.

wbranch
wbranch

When it absolutely, positively has to get screwed up, overnight, trust your government. I'm not sure how the break down in Canada is, but here in the States, you have to remember 90% of your elected representatives at the national level are either doctors or lawyers. Not a lot of tech savvy people in the room. You have to hope they lean on the right people to make a decision, but more often than not they won't.

tracy.walters
tracy.walters

When you talk to your MP, use http://www.privacyrights.org/data-breach as a reference. We in the US are having government health care rammed down our throats...I don't like it, I believe they are gonna royally screw it up, but I agree with Jason, they need to approach it with a mind to technology. My biggest issue is that I have little faith in the motives of this administration and the tech people they have involved. Due to Obama stated goal of bringing 'enlightened European Socialism' to the U.S., and the clear disposition of the Democratic party toward a philosophy that 'the ends justify the means' I am extremely concerned that our private data will be exploited however Obama and his entourage see fit. If tech were to be implemented from a security point of view, with concern for rights and property of U.S. citizens, I'd be all for it. Unfortunately, I don't think that is going to happen.

Jaqui
Jaqui

since I'm meeting with my MP Tuesday I'll just make sure I bring a copy of this discussion to show him that Epass Canada really screwed up from the beginning of the Software Requirements Specification writing. you remember me posting links to Government of Canada SRS templates a couple years back? [ said templates no longer available ] They were the SRS for the project that resulted in Epass Canada, and it was already in them that Java was the required language.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

java client side security should have lasted all of ten seconds in the meeting it was originally discussed.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm listening to Rober Steele's HOPE2010 talk at the moment.. fantastic.. even if half of it is BS.. great for inspiring some thought.

wbranch
wbranch

If you're going to try and make a point, at least use a government program that isn't going bankrupt this decade. Oh, wait, that doesn't leave a lot of options, does it? I don't doubt our current President is a smart person, it's his intentions that a lot of people question.

cbsmthi
cbsmthi

Most people had an opinion before he got in office. They said the same thing about medicare try and take that away and some republicans voted for that. This was a simple question stop making it your venue. He is the smartest man we've had in office in a long time. Quit crying and vote.

maxwell edison
maxwell edison

Some people, including yours truly, believe government interferes too much into the private lives of individuals - WAY too much. The basis of Jason's original article was [i]HealthCare.gov[/i] - which is to support one of the worst pieces of legislation in U.S. history. Without the legislation, the underlying technology would be a moot point.

Par-Pro
Par-Pro

about the spelling I was pissed at all of you fools that wined about everything.

SinghaGold
SinghaGold

those crazy racist republicans! It is about the "have and have not's" and any solution you come up with has to provide for both not just one side. Unfortunately the only two solutions (at their most basic) are the government getting involved or it staying out of it completely. Personally I think the final solution will be some sort of basic care given to everyone and if you want more you can buy a plan. Unfortunately the road to that place will be littered with crazy outlandish claims on both sides about how someone will kill babies or how they will base it on race. Oh if people could only calmly voice their concerns and everyone realize everyone's going to gain a little and lose a little. More to the point of the article, I'm glad to see that the government is finally making use of tech. that is out there.

Dusterman
Dusterman

Ronn I appreciate your commonsense :-) . It was my 103 yo Grandmother that instilled this in me many years ago ;-) . She has since passed but I will not forget her words to me in my youth.. .. ..she said .. .. .. " listen Michael .... .. ... you complain alot and some is well deserved .. .. but .... ... as your Grandmother I will always listen to you , becuase I love you . Others, will merely not pay attention to you after a while, unless .. .. .. you have a cure for the problem you are complaining about" .. .. . So I guess I have my common sense and my Grandmother to thank for my " complain / cure " ethic :-) . Thank you for listening :-)

Dusterman
Dusterman

Well sir .. .. you have a point .. ..it seems that you and yours should move elsewhere as you find that the American Way of government is hurting you and yours. . To the point - the government relented and let loose the finacial monsters that almost destroyed our great country - becuase - left deregulated becaused they said it was hurting thier free trade - -- read here that they were merely wanting to gamble with our money and make a profit on each transaction and when there were no more players the house of cards crumbled .. ... .. the auto industry says oh no less regulation and we will volantarily raise gas mileages and safety -- -- -- the oil companies said .. .. do not regulate or legislate us or inspect us too closely - or we will slow the flow of oil because we have been finacially hurt - Gulf oil spill .. .. .. .. healthe care - Summary: the US pays more per capita on healthcare than other governments listed (even those with 'socialized' healthcare), but is ranked by WHO as 37th in healthcare quality (if anyone can find a more up to date listing on WHO rankings - - but if you dare to regulate us we will cease to be able to bring you good health care .. really ? ? . So to the point Mr. Espousal, your claim of too much governmant and regulation would put us back 100 years to self imposed justice for those who stole our cattle - you would lynch them without a second thought .. ..and sir IT IS YOU that bear no facts and merely spew forth innuendoes and slurs .... ... and as far as Constitutional law .. .. that was fine 200 years ago .. .. ..it has been ammended many times to attempt to bring our great country into the 21st century ! ! . BTW .. .. I fight for the rights for those less fortunate than myself, but will stand and defend your right to speak your opinion - even when it is outright divisive and hurtfull to our nation .. .. afterall that is the second ammendment .. .. .. . Me thinks sir that you were born 200 years too late . . "Truth ... justice .. .. and the .. .. American Way"

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