WASHINGTON — The nearly 1.1 million Americans who waited out a multitude of technical glitches to select an insurance plan on HealthCare.gov can “Bing in the New Year” with their newfound benefits, courtesy of Microsoft’s Mr. Fix-it.
“Blue Cross can no longer screen out the sick from their insurance plans, even if they’re facing death,” said Kurt DelBene, the former Microsoft executive placed in charge of overseeing continued repairs to the federal exchange’s website.
“This represents a historic shift in the way Americans get their healthcare, and operations will continue to systemically improve as we complete the reboot and iron out the rest of the bugs,” he promised.
Assuring the nation that the problematic rollout of the Affordable Care Act “will not be another Windows Vista” has proven difficult for DelBene, who has attempted to sweeten the deal by adding extra perks to the package of benefits.
While DelBene was careful not to reveal too much, his wife—the congresswoman representing the Washington State district in which Microsoft is headquartered—tipped her hand to disclose an obsolete Zune music player.
“By subscribing to this historic public-private partnership,” said Rep. DelBene, “you’ll both receive free preventative health services and be able to enjoy a complimentary Zune Music Pass to help kill time in the doctor’s waiting room.”
The Microsoft Zune was once heralded as a revolutionary technological advance. Despite the hoopla, the device failed to attract consumers in the expected numbers and was formally discontinued in October 2011, though the company’s streaming music software still carries the Zune name.
“My mission is to help the government’s health insurance website find its groove,” said Kurt DelBene.
“Kurt has proven expertise in heading large, complex technology teams and in product development,” said Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services.
“With Kurt at the helm, users should anticipate a steady stream of pop-up messages announcing critical updates to HealthCare.gov,” Sebelius wrote in her statement. “And, should you encounter any snags along the way, Clippy—the animated aneurysm clip—will be there to answer your questions in real time.”