Google Inc. (GOOG:US), Red Hat Inc. (RHT:US), Oracle Corp. (ORCL:US) and other technology companies are contributing dozens of computer engineers and programmers to help the Obama administration fix the U.S. health-insurance exchange website.

The help is arriving as the government’s main site for medical coverage remains plagued by repeated outages a month after its Oct. 1 debut. Michael Dickerson, a site reliability engineer on leave from Google, and Greg Gershman, innovation director for smartphone application maker Mobomo, are among those helping, the Obama administration said today.

“They are working through the analytics of what happens on the site to prioritize what needs to be fixed,” Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters on a conference call. Dickerson is working to improve the stability of the website, while Gershman is “helping the development process be more agile.”
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The administration began touting a “tech surge” on Oct. 20, to cure the software and technology errors on the federal website that have prevented people from enrolling in health plans and insurers from collecting data. Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary, apologized yesterday and said her agency has pulled in outside help to achieve “an optimally functioning” exchange by the end of November.
Offering Help

“I know it’s a very political topic,” Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison said today at the software maker’s annual meeting. “As an information technology company we are doing everything we can to help.”

Redwood City, California-based Oracle is the world’s largest database-software maker.

The federal website is the main portal for millions of uninsured people in 36 of the 50 U.S. states to shop for private health insurance plans, with the help of government tax credits, as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Fourteen states have created their own health insurance websites. An estimated 7 million people will gain coverage in 2014 through the federal and state exchanges, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Top Adviser

The administration hasn’t previously quantified the tech surge. Jeffrey Zients, President Barack Obama’s incoming chief economic adviser, was brought in to advise Bataille’s agency, and the project’s management has since been reorganized, with UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH:US)’s Quality Software Services unit now overseeing the entire operation.
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