Tension and Flaws Before Health Website Crash

Eric Lipton, Ian Austen, and Sharon LaFraniere | The New York Times | November 22, 2013

On a sultry day in late August, a dozen staff members of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gathered at the agency’s Baltimore headquarters with managers from the major contractors building HealthCare.gov to review numerous problems with President’s Obama’s online health insurance initiative. The mood was grim.

The prime contractor, CGI Federal, had long before concluded that the administration was blindly enamored of an unrealistic goal: creating a cutting-edge website that would use the latest technologies to dazzle consumers with its many features. Knowing how long it would take to complete and test the software, the company’s officials and other vendors believed that it was impossible to open a fully functioning exchange on Oct. 1.

Government officials, on the other hand, insisted that Oct. 1 was not negotiable. And they were fed up with what they saw as CGI’s pattern of excuses for missed deadlines. Michelle Snyder, the agency’s chief operating officer, was telling colleagues outright, “If we could fire them, we would.”

Open Health News' Take: 

Just another example and perspective of trying to get non-subject matter experts to manage and implement technical projects of large scale the turn out as large public failures.  As the old phrase goes, "use the right tool to do the job right the first time".  I personally rather see my tax paying dollars be used effective and efficiently than for the usual "pay and paid the fat" of incompetitent middle men management types.

Crawford Rainwater, Blogger @ Open Health News and CEO & President, The Linux ETC Company