Skip to comments.Obamacare Threatens to Implode - Its software problems might get ironed out. Or they might not.
Posted on 10/19/2013 10:33:39 AM PDT by neverdem
Amid all the tussling over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling, a couple of bombshells went off in the blogosphere that may prove of more enduring importance.
They suggest that there is a nontrivial possibility that Obamacare may implode.
The first bombshell went off on Tuesday, from Ezra Klein of the Washington Posts Wonkblog.
Klein was one of those young writers who formed JournoList a few years ago so that like-minded Obama fans could coordinate their lines of argument. It was like one of those college-sophomore clubs, not really necessary in an age of ready contact through e-mail, but it shows him as a guy inclined to play team ball.
So its noteworthy when he writes, So far, the Affordable Care Acts launch has been a failure. Not troubled. Not glitchy. A failure.
Klein notes that the rollout of the Medicare prescription-drug program was also rocky two weeks into the process. But later it got smoothed out.
Klein fears Obamacare wont. Its not just a problem of overloaded servers. Everyone knew there would be lots of traffic in a nation of 312 million people. Information-technology folks say its easy to add servers.
Its harder to get software systems to communicate. And as Klein quotes insurance consultant Bob Laszlewski, the backroom connection between the insurance companies and the federal government is a disaster.
The reconciliation system isnt working and hasnt even been tested, Klein reports. Insurers are getting virtually no usable data from the exchanges.
Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle, who unlike most Obamacare architects actually worked at an IT firm for a couple of years, sees the possibility of even more trouble ahead.
She points out that the administration delayed writing major rules during the 2012 campaign to avoid giving Republicans campaign fodder.
The biggest contractor did not start writing software code until spring 2013. They were still fiddling with the Healthcare.gov website in September.
Instead of subcontracting the responsibility for integrating the software of the multiple contractors, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services decided to do it in-house a decision, McArdle writes, equivalent to someone who has never even hung a picture deciding that they should become their own general contractor and build a house.
If the exchanges dont get fixed soon, she writes, they could destroy Obamacare. You need the exchanges to enroll enough young healthy people to subsidize those who are sick and old, which is one of the central features of Obamacare.
Otherwise, premiums shoot up and up, pushing others out of the system a death spiral that can continue year after year.
At what point, she asks, do we admit that the system just isnt working well enough, roll it back, and delay the whole thing for a year? She suggests that if the system cant enroll 50 percent of its users by November 1, such a hugely drastic step would be in order.
That sounds like a nightmare of the first order for individuals, for insurers, for employers, and for the Obama administration. A far worse nightmare than when Congress in 1989 repealed the Medicare prescription-drug plan it had passed the year before because of widespread dissatisfaction.
Of course its possible this nightmare will not happen. Things will get ironed out somehow.
But if they dont, whos responsible? First, a president who is not much interested in how government works on the ground. As a community organizer he never did get all the asbestos removed from the Altgeld housing project.
Politico reports that his universal health care promise was first made when his press secretary and speechwriter needed a rousing ending to a 2007 campaign speech to a liberal group.
Second, lawmakers and administrators who assume that, in an Information Age, all you have to do is to assign a task to an IT team and they will perform it. Cross your fingers, and it gets done.
Third, government IT-procurement rules that are kludgy. Apple didnt bid on this. The IT work went to insider firms that specialize in jumping through the hoops and ladders of government-procurement rules.
Unfortunately, the consequences of a meltdown are enormous when a system is supposed to be used by everybody. If a private firms software fails, it can go bankrupt. No one else much cares.
But if Obamacares software crashes, the consequences will be catastrophic for the nation and for the Democratic party.
Michael Barone is senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner. © 2013 The Washington Examiner. Distributed by Creators.com
You can’t fix stupid. I don’t think the ‘RATS will ever get this mess fixed.
ObamaCare isn’t about software glitches. It’s about a system designed to implode upon itself thereby setting off a clamor for single-payer.
What is good for the nation is bad for the Democrat party.
That probably won't happen. Instead, the subsidy levels will be raised to keep the premiums "affordable."
Obama will save face and the federal deficit will balloon even more. In other words, business as usual in DC.
Medicare has been doing online enrollments for years. They even have online enrollment in Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplements. The Medicare Advantage programs vary from county to county and state to state.
Why could they not have just modified that Medicare online software? It surely would have cost less that the supposed $634 million they spent for the current Obamacare mess.
To quote Judge Judy: “Follow the money.”
It might be interesting to see where that $634 million went.
What if the same programers that were hired to take out Iran's Newkleer program ( Moo$$add ), actually worked on this project? :-)
Oh, that would be delicious payback for Commander Negative Uno who has been sticking it in their back since 1/20/2008....
The government is already functionally bankrupt. No one else much cares except Constitutionalists.
Frank Chan runs a company that knows how to design this software. He has done 30 projects like this. He said the site is customer-UNFRIENDLY illogical and his company would be embarrassed to charge more that one million to build such a site
He said this on Sean Hanniity radio show yesterday
I read where some young genius wanted O to hire Facebook to fix the OC website.
NO!! Make them go through it and let it be the disaster it is becoming. If it is delayed for a year, it gives them time to fix it and the Dems come away with a major coup.
Right now, the conservatives need ZeroCare to fail on an astronomical level so that voters remember in 2014 the disastrous crap that was shoved down their throats by Dems. That's how conservatives (hopefully, Tea Partiers) will make major gains in the mid-terms!!
And the crap that comes out of places like that is lightweight, out of date, laughable KludgeWare that is comically bad.
Like what they got.
It can't be fixed. Been in projects like this before. The only thing to do is flush it all and start over.
But they won't, which is good thing. Let it collapse.
Hey Deimmycrats: It’s not the technology, it’s the math stupid.
Actually the enrollment and back office software from one of the major insurance carriers like Anthem would be a good start.
Whew! What a mess! Hey, let’s just go with a single payer system! /sarc
Millions of Americans have already lost their existing insurance as of 1/1/14. There is no going back only going away.
I’ve heard that a high-ranking executive in the Canadian company that got the obamacare.gov contract is an old buddy of Miz Michelle.
I was doing some digging earlier today, trying to find links between Serco's management and Sebelius. Every search I did of the form [manager name] + serco + sebelius the first hits turned up by Bing were links to NSA spy lists (wikileaks?). Weird.
The regime used “trusted” computer geeks from their campaign organization to try to hide from congress.
Unfortunately, the only thing they know how to build a program for is voter fraud.
I concur. By the end of the first week, it was quite evident that the system was nowhere near ready for use. The Democrats' refusal to negotiate has wrought this situation, so let them savor every bite of the $hit sandwich.
So the ones outside on the train are paying for the ones sitting inside... Until the train wreck where everyone is in need of care, no one is paying, the train is wrecked and there are no doctors around.
What I’ve heard from people that routinely fix software glitches, this could be completely reprogrammed by someone who knows what he is doing in a few days.
Its not rocket science, its just routine business.
With all of the horror stories from single payer countries passing this House of Representatives? That's just a useful fiction the rats might believe. The rats are devious, but they are not that smart. They could have lost the Senate too in either 2010 or 2012.
As someone else on FR noted, 2,000+ pages of a law, plus 30,000 (!) pages of regulations cannot be programmed into a computer. The Big Blue, chess playing computer, was less complex than this.
In person, on national news websites, and on local news/chat websites, we need to make sure our neighbors understand what ObamaCare means.
We have a social responsibility to let others know that “navigators” have no background checks and may be illegals or felons working on identity theft.
We have a collective responsibility (the pro-ObamaCare far left fringe should love that phrase) to let people know that ObamaCare is not going well and buying a policy may mean paying premiums for insurance that won’t actually exist if they need it, under a policy that will not guarantee that any doctors will be willing to treat those who manage to buy coverage.
We especially need, for the good of our fellow diverse Americans, legal or illegal, to ridicule the idea of paying for coverage now, at prices that are artificially high to subsidize those insiders with connections, when people can get the same prices later (and probably with a much shorter wait) once they actually need the insurance, if that need ever arises.
This is my area of expertise, "the backroom connection between the insurance companies and the federal government is a disaster." You do not write one line of code until all parties have agreed (at least in principle) on the data model. Without an agreed on data model you have NOTHING and never will have anything. Gov should have said, at some point the the data model dev cycle, here is our data model, use it or you do not get any Obamacare customers. If they do not have an aggreed upon data model they are beyond screwed and someone (or two) needed to be locked up, this is a 600+ million dollar F up.
“Unfortunately, the only thing they know how to build a program for is voter fraud.”
Hey! That explains why I clicked on “ankle wrap” and got this cool heart/lung machine!
With the DemocRATS, SNAFUs are acceptable as long as you’re wasting someone else’s money. The extremist Obama regime has taken government waste to a whole new level.
I could have built the back end software almost all by myself. I'm not much on user interfaced but I love data. lol, really a small team of 10 or so good experienced people could easily built this is 3 years of less, most likely a lot less.
Toni Townes-Whitley of CGI, charged with oversight of
the ObamaCare website implementation, also was a classmate of Michelle Obama from the Princeton Class of 1985.
Otherwise, premiums shoot up and up, pushing others out of the system a death spiral that can continue year after year.
What's the problem? Just borrow more money from ourselves.
As long as Congress "budgets" by CRs, Obama will threaten default unless Congress coughs up more dough, and the Collaborators will fold.
My advice: don’t ride on the front of the train.
I had doctor shock yesterday, for an appointment that I made
before obamacare signup started. First, I have been without insurance since approx. 1996, when my insurance premiums went to over 1500- per month. I just couldn’t afford it anymore.
Since then, I have been a self payer. I have never been one to go to a doctor or hospital unless absolutely necessary. In an emergency situation, which I had to use once, (my throat swelled shut and I couldn’t breathe) I went to the emergency room, and I worked out a payment plan with them, and paid in full. I have excellent credit. I pay cash for my prescriptions. I have never asked for handouts or stiffed anyone, nor do I get any assistance.
Yesterday, my doctor (a neurologist) handed me my bill for services. I was SHOCKED. I normally pay $140- cash for my office visit and he told me due to OBAMACARE, my cash payment was now $251-! I am reeling. So, off to get my prescription, and SHOCK again. Due to OBAMACARE, as told to me by the pharmacist, the same prescription that I have been taking monthly for the last 20 years, is double! So,
they are gonna get money out of you one way or another to pay for those that don’t pay a dime.
They don't think they will be able to scrap it and have a new system running within a year, so they will continue with patches, compounding their errors.
What frightens me is the Collaborators failing to do something with this huge manatee.
“With all of the horror stories from single payer countries passing this House of Representatives? That’s just a useful fiction the rats might believe. The rats are devious, but they are not that smart. They could have lost the Senate too in either 2010 or 2012.”
It’ll be done incrementally with a willing GOPe and amnesty for millions of illegals.
Looks familiar; I was thinking “old college buddy”.
The republican’s best strategy is to sit back and watch it all implode.
The ever elusive legislation we cannot see until the last second when it is about to kill us.
Stupid is as stupid does.
I see the signs of a holocaust. I see great scandals.
Let us see the text in the blood and flesh. So be it.
It is the whole bowl of cereal with no milk but kool aid there.
For sure the ObamaTrons will try to fix this awful software. Where obviously it is much cheaper to toss it and start anew with a competent company. Those DC hacks could care less. It’s not their personal money they are squandering
Some federal gubbermint stooges got bribes for picking these incompetents from Canada
Yep. They are like weak lawyers. The Pubs want to see their client boil, bleed, tear and drown... and then they might timidly plead the case to “what difference does it make” except to keep them in company of scoundrels of the kennel club.
Pubs will be the clown dogs at whom tomatoes are thrown before the glory of greyhounds rAce and real business starts in earnest.
Yup. That's all it is. Walking around money for the toothpick class - smirking and laughing as they beat the cash out of the rubes, and they head to the beach.
They'll be a revolt in the House before amnesty.
Anyone in the House from the GOP voting for amnesty will be primaried.
The bulk of that money went to a former school chum of Michelle Obama. Follow the money...it comes right back to Obama. Just like the Solyndra money did.
Of course, a true Christian believes in redemption and repentence.