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Healthcare.debacle website harbinger of doom

Healthcare.debacle website harbinger of doom

It’s not just 5 million lines of code, folks.

It’s not just having to call Verizon to the rescue.

It’s not just that it doesn’t work now.

The Healthcare.debacle website is a harbinger of doom because it reflects the fundamental inability of government to run such a sweeping portion of the economy as is represented by the health care sector.

The problem is inherent in the government process, as this Washington Post article unwittingly exposes (bold in original, italics added):

Timothy B. Lee: In your work as a computer science professor, you’ve taught a lot of smart programmers, many of whom went on to work at top technology companies. Why does government have trouble recruiting this type of worker?

Ed Felten: I think some of it has to do with the way government personnel works. Top programmers are in high demand, and they can get excellent salaries or the possibility of major upside from stock options. That’s true even in entry-level positions right out of college. It’s difficult for the government to compete with that on a civil service pay scale.

Another part of it has to do with the slowness and inflexibility of procurement processes, which people with a software development mindset find frustrating. It takes a long time to do things, and there’s a requirement of formal documentation and requirement statements and so on.

That makes it difficult to operate with the kind of agility that startup people are used to, this idea of putting out a simple product and then iterating rapidly, learning from your customers and scaling up gradually. That’s the usual model that startups follow. That’s difficult to do in government, and it’s not what happened with, which was meant to start operating immediately at full scale and with full features.

That health care dog won’t hunt.  It can’t.  First it has to fill out a mountain of paperwork and go through a hunt-procurement process that will take months.


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To the left it is an unassailable fact that unaccountable monolithic organizations are more efficient then allowing individuals to make their own decisions.

The problem here, of course, is that the Left is wrong.

Thanks to the spinelessness of the Republicans we can expect the left’s take over of American health care to begin a process of degrading both the current level of care…globally…and also the pace of medical advancement.

It’s not like a lot of us didn’t see this coming. The dems got what they wanted. They figured out hot to pass the bill with lies and manipulation. Getting what they wanted was only part of the picture. They still had to deliver and that is where the epic fail began.

Just the tip of the FAILberg, as I call it.

Again, note the Collective’s absolute slobbering love affair with monopoly, coercive “solutions” over leaving people with the choices that belong to them.

See also “school, public”.

I think they should just turn the Obamcare websites into social media sites for whiners and complainers – OWS.disorg

JimMtnViewCaUSA | October 22, 2013 at 1:11 pm

This article is spot-on.
And the big corporations which fall into a monolithic approach are the ones which go into decline.

Insufficiently Sensitive | October 22, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Everybody from the Big Three networks on down to the bloggers are letting Obama skate on his executive responsibilities. It was HIS legislation, rammed through Congress by HIS party. As Chief Executive, it was HIS responsibility to ensure that its implementation was kept on schedule and rolled out in working order.

But it was HIS political operatives that delayed issuing the specifications for the website until after the 2012 elections – to shield him from proper questions and criticism. And it was HIS failure to inquire, among the actual workers on the project, about how it was going and how to bring it in on time. Many of them knew very well that the deadline was a fantasy. So it was HIS failure to recognize reality, and take action to revise the rollout date, that brought us to today’s snafu.

Obama’s no Chief Executive. Not even a junior-assistant-assistant-to-the-deputy-assistant Chief Executive. The buck stops with him, it’s HIS baby and HE should be held accountable.

I’m waiting for the headline CHIEF EXECUTIVE FAILS DUTY. Looks like it’ll be a long one.

So, the incompetent, pathetic, cluless OBOZO regime is calling VERIZON to rescue it’s train wreck OBOZOCARE web site !!!????

Evidently, when bureacRATs think of a GREAT web site creator and operator, the name “verizon” somehow comes to their warped minds ! Normal, rational people would beg to disagree.

In fact, the ONLY thing that comes to my mind when I hear “verizon” is how the weasels that run that company bend over backwards to turn over million and millions and millions of phone and e-mail records of their hapless customers to OBOZO’s out-of-control illegal spying operation on American citizens conducted by the NSA.

Companies pay a programmer for the work they do. Government pays you for the time you spend there, no matter what you do. People become programmers because they like to program, not sit around letting their brains atrophy while collecting a check.

–programmer for third of a century

I hope Obamacare goes down in flames, but if I were betting my own money, I would bet we will be burdened with it indefinitely.

At this point, what does it really matter?
I know they can’t run a lemon-aid stand.
They will blame this and that, throw money at it like nothing you ever saw…
But hey, they got their law. They have their new Bureaucracy. And we don’t have the representation to get rid of it.
Did anyone expect it to work? Really?
It doesn’t matter a bit that it doesn’t work, and they do not care in the least.

My unanswered question …

Was HHS paying developers during the shutdown ?

Way back when in a time long ago, the government had to resort to recruiting the phone company, (AT&T), to manage the emerging technologies of anti ballistic missile defense, namely the Nike-X Program in the early 1960’s.

AT&T’s Bell Labs held this contract until 1975 when the latest incarnation of the system, Safeguard, completed R&D and move into the active phase.

So I find it ironic that one of the offshoots of the AT&T breakup is now being called on.

Something tells me that the rescue will not be pretty…

Jimmy Kimmel: ‘ Barely Functions Yet Every Single Porn Site in the World Works Like a Charm’

It would be easier to forgive them if they were merely incompetent. They are much worse. They are arrogant and devious.

Causing the price of insurance to skyrocket under the guise of expanding the availability of “affordable care” is nasty, wicked, diabolical. I’ve read that one reason for the technological mess is that the administration didn’t want to give the IT people the information about the prices & benefits in the plans on offer until after the 2012 election — because it might get out to a significant number of voters.

Don’t know of that’s true, but it’s certainly plausible as a Democrat strategy.

They probably avoided the Detroit trial because they had inside information that it would neither spur economic development nor control corruption nor provide affordable health care. Only a national labor exploitation scheme is sufficient to delay accountability.

Here are some comments made by Americans accross the country about Obamacare. This is not only about healthcare. It’s about every aspect of your life.

A Leftist lemming actually posted a defense of Obamacare in response to a post I had made, critiquing it, in which he compared its flawed rollout to Apple’s problem-plagued introduction of the Mac in 19(82?)! I’m serious — that’s the analogy that the Left is drawing.

My response:

“A pitiful, utterly incongruous analogy, pathetically aping Obama’s analogizing this farcical tragicomedy with Apple Computer’s rollout of Mac OS 7 in 1995. You are seriously comparing a trillion-dollar government takeover of the healthcare sector and a mind-numbingly expensive new entitlement conceived on the basis of an unprecedented, tyrannical expansion of federal power, with a (then-)small computer company’s flawed product rollout? This is absurd. Two minor differences — firstly, Apple wasn’t attempting to take over the healthcare sector and force people to purchase exponentially more expensive insurance; and, secondly, the only thing at stake in Apple’s case was the stability of people’s desktop computers, not their health and well-being.”

Really, the level of absurdity reached by the Left’s attempted defense of this abomination is beyond belief.

I’m a retired physician and, years ago, spent about 10 years working in a VA hospital. Even then, I often referred to the VA as a “political institution that dabbles in medicine.” Interestingly, Medicare imposes performance demands on the private sector which do not apply to VA or other government medicine. The government gets away with that because the private sector is innovative and responsible. It was entirely predictable that the federal government would fail in its healthcare effort.

At this point, I believe that the country should privatize the armed services. Far more bang for the buck!

Midwest Rhino | October 22, 2013 at 4:59 pm

The Obamacare roll out is “testimony” to their lies and deceit. It is like all the other testimony … Fast and Furious, IRS attacks on the tea party, Benghazi, NSA … start with the lie, then reshape the lie … and point fingers always.

No one is ever responsible, so it must be the Republicans fault. The Alinsky method requires personalizing/freezing the target. So a corollary is to never fire those responsible, and always blame vague “rogue agents in Ohio”. Keep promising and obfuscating. Firing would mean admitting there is something wrong.

We’ve pretty much forgotten the GSA outrageous spending on luxury vacation/training. I think Obama insisted on the roll out, no matter how poor, just to get the failure off the calendar before 2014. By then they hope to use the “old news” card.

Sebelius nows says it was a five year project that needed a year of testing and they had only two years. But only six weeks ago she said it was ready to go, there would be no problems, and there was no back-up plan because none was needed.

The only possible reason she hasn’t already been fired is that White House political operatives interfered with the project to ensure no political embarrassments before the 2012 election, which would be her insurance against being scapegoated.

Naturally, Obama takes no more responsibility for this than any of his other failures in his entire life. He acts as if he is only a spectator in his own Administration.

“No one is madder than I am” – isn’t that what he said right after the IRS scandal broke? Does anyone believe heads will roll at HHS?

Are you sure that the 5 million lines of code is real? I manage software projects, and if the code base was more than 100,000 lines on the first launch (2,000 sounds a lot better – this is web code, after all), I would personally rip things out until I got it down to something that would work.

    I can see 5 million+ lines of code. They have to integrate with a series of legacy systems (both government and private) plus have HIPAA and other government regulations to account for.

    The front-facing aspect of this is minor. The relevant portion of that article is this:

    The “idea of putting out a simple product and then iterating rapidly, learning from your customers and scaling up gradually. That’s the usual model that startups follow. That’s difficult to do in government, and it’s not what happened with, which was meant to start operating immediately at full scale and with full features.”

    Agile and MVP are not methodologies adopted by know-it-all, top-down progressives in positions of political power. After all, if input from people was important – why would we need them?

    JayDick in reply to InEssence. | October 23, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Have you ever been involved in a Federal IT project? I suspect not; you seem to be too sensible. Although I’ve been retired for over 10 years, I was involved in them as an auditor and then as an employee for a federal IT contractor. The feds almost always undertake vast projects with half-vast ideas. And they never work. The reasons are too many and too complicated to even summarize here, but the inability to hire good IT talent is certainly a big part of it.

Henry Hawkins | October 22, 2013 at 8:02 pm

I am very surprised that one of the likely suspects on the left has not yet alleged that the Obamacare website was hacked by the Tea Party.