Skip to comments.Former official: Admin refused to bring in outside help for ObamaCare website for fear GOP....
Posted on 10/18/2013 8:45:45 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Facing such intense opposition from congressional Republicans, the administration was in a bunker mentality as it built the enrollment system, one former administration official said. Officials feared that if they called on outsiders to help with the technical details of how to run a commerce website, those companies could be subpoenaed by Hill Republicans, the former aide said. So the task fell to trusted campaign tech experts.
Very important to understand: Between this and the fact that HHS deliberately hid the price of insurance behind a reg wall on Healthcare.gov to reduce rate shock, the grand takeaway about the websites failure is that O and his team made it much worse than it needed to be because they were terrified of transparency. And the reason they were terrified of transparency, both in the case of hiding the cost of the premiums from web users and hiding the sites architectural problems from contractors who might be hauled before Congress, is because they know theyve delivered a bad product. Put the premiums on the front page and the public, expecting affordable care, would recoil at the truth. Put the contractors at the witness table before Issas committee and the public, expecting that the government would fix health care, would recoil upon discovering that they cant even build a website with three years lead time.
I dont know whats more amazing, that theyd place their own political comfort above creating a smoother user experience for the uninsured or that they somehow didnt realize that a botched rollout on October 1 would be far more embarrassing than contractors talking to Republicans under oath. Or would it? What was HHS so worried that outside contractors would tell the GOP that they preferred to risk total chaos on the exchanges during launch month instead?
Apropos of nothing, Reuters is now reporting that the budget for the site exploded earlier this year as the Hopenchange brain trust realized they were way, way, way off course. And by exploded, I mean tripled:
How and why the system failed, and how long it will take to fix, remains unclear. But evidence of a last-minute surge in spending suggests the needs of the project were growing well beyond the initial expectations of the contractor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Why this went from a ceiling of $93.7 million to $292 million is hard to fathom, said Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group that analyzes government contracting.
Something changed. It suggests they ran into problems and knew last spring that they couldnt do it for $93.7 million. They just blew through the original ceiling. Where was the contract oversight?
The Obama administration was issuing regulations and changing policy regarding how the reform should be implemented late into this summer. Many required significant changes to the IT running Healthcare.gov, which kept contractors scrambling.
Well need congressional hearings to find out which regulations forced the IT team to scramble at the eleventh hour to rework the site, but this could be another example of the White Houses desire to hide the uglier parts of this boondoggle creating problems for the website architecture. Remember, it was only this past summer that HHS suddenly decided to eliminate income verification for subsidies for the first year. Applicants will be placed on the honor system in reporting their wages, which is basically an invitation to commit fraud but which serves the end of making those subsidies nice and robust for anyone willing to lie, which encourages enrollment. Could be that they built the site with the income verification tech integrated and then had to tear it out quickly and haphazardly once HHS changed its mind, leading to bugs. Like I say, this is what congressional hearings are for.
Nancy Pelosi, by the way, thinks theres no reason at all to delay ObamaCare if the exchanges are still a disaster come December, which also happens to be the deadline for enrollment if you want your coverage to begin in January. Id be surprised if theres a single manager anywhere in the insurance industry who agrees with her, given the Thunderdome-levels of chaos Glitchapalooza will be causing them next year if this persists much longer.
Update: Merry Christmas, Barack.
The federal health care exchange was built using 10-year-old technology that may require constant fixes and updates for the next six months and the eventual overhaul of the entire system, technology experts told USA TODAY
Recent changes have made the exchanges easier to use, but they still require clearing the computers cache several times, stopping a pop-up blocker, talking to people via Web chat who suggest waiting until the server is not busy, opening links in new windows and clicking on every available possibility on a page in the hopes of not receiving an error message. With those changes, it took one hour to navigate the HealthCare.gov enrollment process Wednesday.
Those steps shouldnt be necessary, experts said.
I have never seen a website in the last five years require you to delete the cache in an effort to resolve errors, said Dan Schuyler, a director at Leavitt Partners, a health care group by former Health and Human Services secretary Mike Leavitt. This is a very early Web 1.0 type of fix.
Youll have to read the rest to find out how clearing your cache might actually cause new errors.
Update: Icing on the cake from health-industry consultant Bob Laszewski, who says the systems scarcely improved after another week of frantic HHS triage:
At the end of week two of the Obamacare launch, health plans were generally seeing no more enrollments per day then they saw in the first week.
As troubling, the backroom issues plaguing the connection between health insurers and the federal government had not been resolved and there is no indication from the feds when they will have these things cleared up.
My sense is that the feds, based upon the number of enrollments they have sent to the insurance companies, enrolled about 10,000 people in the first week (about 5,000 single and family contracts) and another 10,000 people in the second week in the 36 states using the federal exchange.
I guesstimated that the feds were up to 95,000 or so enrollments in my earlier post, less than 20 percent of HHSs target for October. Laszewski thinks even that number is wildly optimistic. If hes right and theyre only at 20,000 enrollments total, theyre at less than five percent of their goal.
Update: No ones getting fired, huh?
The root cause of the problems was a pivotal decision by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials to act as systems integrator, the central coordinator for the entire program. Usually this role is reserved for the prime information technology contractor.
As a result, full testing of the site was delayed until four to six days before the fateful Oct. 1 launch of the health care exchanges, the individual said
Normally a system this size would need 4-6 months of testing and performance tuning, not 4-6 days, the individual said.
The source said there were ever-changing, conflicting and exceedingly late project directions. The actual system requirements for Oct. 1 were changing up until the week before, the individual said.
How could they have done a worse job?
Would Mr. Flip Wilson's Representatives please pick up the white courtesy phone. The Demotards are stealing your shtick...
“those companies could be subpoenaed by Hill Republicans, the former aide said. So the task fell to trusted campaign tech experts”
So do they think “trusted campaign tech experts” can’t be called to testify or is it they know they will lie under oath?
LOL. I took a programming course from the guy that invented Pong. Of corse, that was a few years back...
America will soon realize how far it has descended — and for what... the worst it has to offer.
They end up with guys whose guns jam, who forget to bring ammo, who show up stoned, who end up shooting each other, and who forget to put gas in the tank of the 1980 Chevy someone provided for transportation and getaway.
It's all the cops' fault!
They can, but the trusted experts can be counted on to lie, cover up, and totally snow Congress. When it's all over, Congress would praise them for their cooperation and commend their efforts to put together a complex system, the likes of which the universe has never seen.
Let's hope they are in charge of obama's secret gun-grab/registration data base.
Seems the Zero administration is already creating the meme that the Obamcare roll out failure was the fault of the Republicans. Watch this theme get more and more legs for the LIV.
Bingo! I have been thinking, how could this happen? We have brilliant programmers capable of just about anything. Military technology next to none, NSA, NASA, the list is limitless. Yet, they can not put together a viable website in three years? Something is really wrong.
More proof that Tea Party Conservatives are smarter than Dimocraps...
If you think their web sites a piece of crap....wait till you see their healthcare program!!!
-———Why anyone on either side still wants Sebelius in charge, I have no idea.-——
The tried and true. Lie, lie, lie. She is the lie.
Think fst and furious, think bengazi.
The lie is the truth, the lie is told over and over and over..... it is still the truth.
So long as they all exist, there is no possible solution.
Like the nobility of France in 1792, they must be gone
Yea! I heard they figured it would be fixed by the time the shut down ended.....wrong!!!!!
An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications.
As we in the military used to say, "Always remember your weapons were made by the lowest bidder".
If you think this is a trainwreck, just wait. Selling insurance is easy compared to actually delivering health care.
“From those efforts ...cam the efforts to condense time to meet deadlines by throwing 9 men at a project that represented 9 man months to finish....thus theoretically gating it done in one month.”
Hey, it works so well with making babies, doesn’t it? One pregnant lady + 9 months = 1 baby. 9 pregnant ladies + 1 month = 1 baby. Right? Right?
Only hundreds have been able to sign up for a health care plan at the Obamacare websites. The Wall Street Journal reported:
Okay now we will try the landline # 1-800-318-2596 listed above or 1-800-318-2596 = 1-800-FAU-CKYO.
Never mind. Don’t let me interrupt your “we’re doomed” reverie.