Oct 23 2013
Want to know how bad the ObamaCare website is doing? After House Democrats got a special insight briefing from the administration on the situation, the House Dems promptly freaked out!
“It’s screwed up,” Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said, summing up the whole situation.
House Democrats raised several concerns with Cohen, including whether the personal information going into the system is secure and what is being done to reach uninsured people who don’t have Internet access. And they demanded more specific answers to what’s wrong.
“If they have it, they’re not giving the number out,”said Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine). “We’re just tired of anecdotal answers to some of the problems.”
“I think the president needs to man up, find out who was responsible and fire them,” Rep. Richard Nolan, D-Minn., said after the briefing. He said Obama should tell Democrats when the problems will be fixed so they can prepare to move on. “You don’t get many second chances to get a good first impression.”
Nolan wasn’t the only one.
“Somebody should be held accountable,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif. “Absolutely.”
So clearly the briefing was not even close to Rosy and Happy. If so them Democrats would be preening and crowing!
And if the Obamacare news was marginal, Dems would have come out and put a happy face on the discussions.
But House Dems did neither. They are exhibiting barely controlled anger instead. They see the stakes. They see the low probability of pulling out of this tail spin. They see the ever increasing likelihood that the administration so botched this roll out it will be the one that puts the stake through Obamacare.
House Speaker John A. Boehner predicted Wednesday that by the end of the month, more Americans will have lost their insurance by being kicked off existing health plans than the number who were able to sign up in the flawed online healthcare.gov website.
And the early numbers may back him up.
Color me unsurprised. I have been around too many of these hopelessly damaged federal programs. The fact is they cannot fix this mess in weeks, given it took years to create. Healthcare.gov was DOA on Oct 1. And so far all efforts at resuscitation have failed.
And will continue to fail. These high level managers called in are not going to be able to fix this until they scrap what they have and start over. Hell, it will take them weeks to just get up to speed, and to do so will divert those trying to work the fixes.
But one special wording I have seen over and over again tells me they are still just trying to understand what is going on. They see the symptoms, but don’t understand the root issues. The wording I see [paraphrasing here] reflects the need to instrument, monitor and identify the problems. No one claims to have the major problems identified and work plans established. No one is even coming close to having an inkling of how long before it is fixed to some minimum baseline capability.
As long as a minimum baseline capability and milestone date are not forthcoming, you can assume they are still hopelessly lost.
This is not new to federal SW programs. CMS was in WAY over their heads, and demonstrated once again technical novices cannot manage large technical programs. They can write policy, but they cannot implement the systems to make them happen.
Why should I be surprised?
Update: Ouch – CNN calls for an ObamaCare Do-Over?
“Tech surge” or no tech surge, CNN reports that still more experts and computer engineers are piling on to the suggestion that fixing HealthCare.Gov’s major problems before the end of 2013 just isn’t a feasible task, and that rebuilding the system from scratch would be the administration’s easiest and safest bet:
President “Mulligan” should be quite used to this given how much golf he plays. But as I have been saying for weeks: this ain’t going to get right any time soon.
“We don’t even know where all of the problems lie, so how can we solve them?” Bhalla said. “It’s like a drive-by shooting: You’re going fast and you might hit it, you might miss it. But you can’t fix what you can’t identify.” …