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by
Rick Moran

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November 3, 2013 - 2:33 pm

Everyone agrees that the website healthcare.gov appears to have been designed by chimpanzees, built by zombies, and run by 5 year olds.

But that’s not the whole story. Apparently, there were some people on the Obama economics team who wanted to bring in outside experts with experience in business, insurance, and technology to get the exchanges off the ground.

But as the Washington Post explains, political factors trumped common sense and the administration is now paying for its shortsightedness:

In May 2010, two months after the Affordable Care Act squeaked through Congress, President Obama’s top economic aides were getting worried. Larry Summers, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, and Peter Orszag, head of the Office of Management and Budget, had just received a pointed four-page memo from a trusted outside health adviser. It warned that no one in the administration was “up to the task” of overseeing the construction of an insurance exchange and other intricacies of translating the 2,000-page statute into reality.

Summers, Orszag and their staffs agreed. For weeks that spring, a tug of war played out inside the White House, according to five people familiar with the episode. On one side, members of the economic team and Obama health-care adviser Zeke Emanuel lobbied for the president to appoint an outside health reform “czar” with expertise in business, insurance and technology. On the other, the president’s top health aides — who had shepherded the legislation through its tortuous path on Capitol Hill and knew its every detail — argued that they could handle the job.

In the end, the economic team never had a chance: The president had already made up his mind, according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid. Obama wanted his health policy team — led by Nancy-Ann De­Parle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform — to be in charge of the law’s arduous implementation. Since the day the bill became law, the official said, the president believed that “if you were to design a person in the lab to implement health care, it would be Nancy-Ann.”

Three and a half years later, such insularity — in that decision and others that would follow — has emerged as a central factor in the disastrous rollout of the new federal health insurance marketplace, casting doubt on the administration’s capacity to carry out such a complex undertaking.

“They were running the biggest start-up in the world, and they didn’t have anyone who had run a start-up, or even run a business,” said David Cutler, a Harvard professor and health adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign, who was not the individual who provided the memo to The Washington Post but confirmed he was the author. “It’s very hard to think of a situation where the people best at getting legislation passed are best at implementing it. They are a different set of skills.”

This article may be the 3,000 most devastating words ever written about the Obama administration. Blunder after blunder, managerial, political, and technical. And much of it the result of arrogance — the belief that their judgment was superior to all.

This one paragraph says a lot:

Based on interviews with more than two dozen current and former administration officials and outsiders who worked alongside them, the project was hampered by the White House’s political sensitivity to Republican hatred of the law — sensitivity so intense that the president’s aides ordered that some work be slowed down or remain secret for fear of feeding the opposition. Inside the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the main agency responsible for the exchanges, there was no single administrator whose full-time job was to manage the project. Republicans also made clear they would block funding, while some outside IT companies that were hired to build the Web site, HealthCare.gov, performed poorly.

Obamacare has been a political loser from the start. Democrats found that out in 2010 and it could easily have derailed the president’s re-election in 2012 if the White House hadn’t slowed the implementation process to a crawl, thus avoiding the issue altogether, but putting off vital decisions and work until after the election.

White House animus toward the business community came back to haunt them in this case.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I never had to be convinced this was a bad law. It was a train wreck from the start. However, as much as I read post-mortems in the MSM as to why it wasn't a bad lie, or how the website was bungled, and how people are losing their insurance, I am seeing nothing that is working on getting rid of the law - only a delay. The only thing I see is a rudderless opposition who are too interested in their own political futures to allow anyone else to call the shots. The 'mainstream' republicans claim to be against it, but have no plan, being too busy attacking the most fervent allies, the Tea Party that has been so successfully demonized by the MSM and president.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Polio and Smallpox are bad. Really bad.

But if you want to get rid of them, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO REPLACE THEM WITH?

False choice. Why should you want to replace them with anything?

Obamacare is no different.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Any plan is better than no plan."

Ridiculous excuse. A bad plan is worse than no plan. There is no situation so bad, that the government can't make it worse. It's like the old syllogism: Something must be done. This is something. Therefore, THIS must be done.

"If the Republicans hate Obamacare so much, then where is THEIR plan?"

Another ridiculous excuse. Who says there has to be a plan? Any plan is just more big government. The whole point is that there should be no plan, because there should not be big-government.

There should not be tax-free Employer-Based-Health-Insurance. There should just be tax-deductible health insurance expense, or better yet, tax-free, health-savings accounts.

There should not be free care at emergency rooms. People should now that they risk being turned away from care in a crisis, if they cannot afford it. Maybe that will incentivize them to take responsibility for themselves and prepare for the possibility of needing that care.

Insurance is supposed to be insurance, a hedge against future calamity. It is not for those with a pre-existing condition. It is not supposed to be some universal payer system, either.

There are those who choose... poorly, and they should be allowed to suffer, so that others will learn to choose wisely. We should not be made to pay for the poor choices of others.

Are there those who are truly misfortunate? Yes, and that is what charity is for. There is not supposed to be a safety net, except for the charity of our fellow man. It's not like Americans are miserly. We give like no one else in the world.

Well, except for the Progressives and Liberals. They are the most miserly bunch of all. But they care about the little guy, so that makes it okay, right?

Will it hurt them? Yes, it will. Why? Because people are getting their plans cancelled and getting sticker shock looking at the new plans. Like the guy in CA said, "I was for it until I found out I was the one who was paying for it."

"A Conservative is a Liberal who was mugged yesterday." People are getting mugged all over this country, now... by the millions. And they vote. They voted for this, and now they are going to vote against it, because now they no longer labor under the delusion that someone else is going to be paying.

It all sounds good, until the bill comes due. The fantasy sounds good. The reality bites.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
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Nancy-Ann DeParle couldn't handle the implementation of Obamacare, but, as an insider's insider, she knew how to work the system. This, from her Wikipedia article:

"DeParle has drawn criticism for her lucrative service on corporate boards after her tenure in the Clinton administration. Msnbc.com reported that she was paid more than $6 million, and served as a director of half a dozen companies that faced federal investigations, whistleblower lawsuits and other regulatory actions. Many of these companies have a stake in the health care reform that she led."
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Inside the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the main agency responsible for the exchanges, there was no single administrator whose full-time job was to manage the project"

Even with a single project manager to oversee the process this would have been nearly impossible to bring out in under 6 - 8 years.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hahahah. They probably hired web people by what they looked like.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ah, the "Wise Latina" Web Developer, and "If I had a Programmer, he'd look just like Trayvon."
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wish I could like this 100 times. Still laughing MAO
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Dems deserve what they will get. They own it forever!
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Y'know, it shouldn't even be headline news when an IT project fails or there would never be any other headlines. Even after three years. Most, very nearly all IT projects fail to make their deadlines. The number that go on to "succeed" is also modest, let's call it 50%. I for one have no idea at this point where the Obamacare site fiasco falls on this dismal scale.

I'm working on another such project right now, has an eight digit budget, maybe nine digits, depends how you count. It's like watching five year olds in the back yard building a rocket to the moon. This passes for standard operating procedure in the field these days. Discount for the fact that all government projects are boondoggles, and well, we'll just have to wait and see.

So what SHOULD be done? Well, don't even yank my chain on that. There is NO REASON for such a failure rate in the field, the reasons for failure are mostly baked in on day zero. Politicians, corporate if not national, wishful thinking, empty suits, none of these things is rare. Good corporate management EXPECTS all these things, and to make a long story short an incremental plan with many deliverables is the general solution.

So, I'm sure there is NOTHING to be learned from the failures of this web site, whether it starts working like a champ tomorrow, or whether it has to be 100% scrapped. Too many precedents.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree. 90% of the IT projects that I have ever worked on have come in over budget and late. There is a saying in the software development field.

Pick any 2 of these. You can have it on time, on budget or with high quality. You cannot have all 3.

This nightmare doesn't surprise me at all. If they had hired experts, maybe, just maybe, they would have set expectations a little lower. Not likely though.

Sooner or later, enough people will have their data stolen, credit ripped to shreds, credit cards cancelled, houses forclosed, you name it. When that begins to happen, people will finally wake up.

Until then ... start watching those preppeer shows. You may need to provide for your family in creative ways
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I never had to be convinced this was a bad law. It was a train wreck from the start. However, as much as I read post-mortems in the MSM as to why it wasn't a bad lie, or how the website was bungled, and how people are losing their insurance, I am seeing nothing that is working on getting rid of the law - only a delay. The only thing I see is a rudderless opposition who are too interested in their own political futures to allow anyone else to call the shots. The 'mainstream' republicans claim to be against it, but have no plan, being too busy attacking the most fervent allies, the Tea Party that has been so successfully demonized by the MSM and president.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The "Mainstream Republicans' are in fact the Right Wing of the Democratic Party.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
elections are coming up - what one year away?

if you were really trying to get the largest start-up ever up and going, would you hire one of the mooch's college buddies? and then stay stupid on the fix? nah. it was meant to fail. unfortunately for dem's/progressives, its going to be a complete disaster right up until the dem's lose both houses and some more gov's as well next Fall. let's hope this 'dog chit on the dem's shoes (0-care) follows them around for decades to come. too dumb to just get rid of or scrape the crap off their shoes. go ahead and do what you do best, double down on stupid, again.

Merry Christmas amerika, the health care cancellation present arriving in your mail shortly is compliments of your messiah, king of golf.

see, its already brightening my holiday season. maybe someone close to the h.c. genius should buy him some symbolic rope as a present. what's that saying, give somebody enough rope and they will ...?

hope springs eternal.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
In business school in the late 90s, I started using the term "corporate looter" to describe the people who drift around executive positions and boards of directors collecting huge sums of money while contributing nothing (if employees and stockholders are lucky) or crippling the company (if they're not). Think Nardelli, Dunlop, Lay, and Kozlowski. Add Nancy-Ann De­Parle to the list.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
"There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community." Proverbs 6:16-20

God has pretty high standards. Maybe it's time America raised hers. Again.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm not sure Obamacare has "been a political loser from the start." For the Progressive/Democrat base, it's a dream come true. They've been whining for years about how Europe's socialized medicine schemes are so superior to American healthcare, how embarrassingly backward we are compared to our democratic socialist neighbors. No, I think Obamacare was all positive for the Obama team - right up until the moment the Obama team started implementing it. Even when problems started to become evident, the true believers dismissed them as glitches, teething pains, etc. And today those same people are still falling back on juvenile excuses. Any plan is better than no plan. If the Republicans hate Obamacare so much, then where is THEIR plan? Or else Obamacare IS the Republican plan - they just oppose it because Obama adopted it. None of that solves the problems. I think it remains to be seen whether this really hurts Obama and the Democrats. Too many true believers and government clients out there - people who know which side their bread is buttered on.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Polio and Smallpox are bad. Really bad.

But if you want to get rid of them, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO REPLACE THEM WITH?

False choice. Why should you want to replace them with anything?

Obamacare is no different.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Personally, I think it's been a political winner from the start. But I'm a Libertarian/Republican who wants to see Democrats and other Leftists relegated to the trash heap of history, which means I've had quite different expectations for it.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Any plan is better than no plan."

Ridiculous excuse. A bad plan is worse than no plan. There is no situation so bad, that the government can't make it worse. It's like the old syllogism: Something must be done. This is something. Therefore, THIS must be done.

"If the Republicans hate Obamacare so much, then where is THEIR plan?"

Another ridiculous excuse. Who says there has to be a plan? Any plan is just more big government. The whole point is that there should be no plan, because there should not be big-government.

There should not be tax-free Employer-Based-Health-Insurance. There should just be tax-deductible health insurance expense, or better yet, tax-free, health-savings accounts.

There should not be free care at emergency rooms. People should now that they risk being turned away from care in a crisis, if they cannot afford it. Maybe that will incentivize them to take responsibility for themselves and prepare for the possibility of needing that care.

Insurance is supposed to be insurance, a hedge against future calamity. It is not for those with a pre-existing condition. It is not supposed to be some universal payer system, either.

There are those who choose... poorly, and they should be allowed to suffer, so that others will learn to choose wisely. We should not be made to pay for the poor choices of others.

Are there those who are truly misfortunate? Yes, and that is what charity is for. There is not supposed to be a safety net, except for the charity of our fellow man. It's not like Americans are miserly. We give like no one else in the world.

Well, except for the Progressives and Liberals. They are the most miserly bunch of all. But they care about the little guy, so that makes it okay, right?

Will it hurt them? Yes, it will. Why? Because people are getting their plans cancelled and getting sticker shock looking at the new plans. Like the guy in CA said, "I was for it until I found out I was the one who was paying for it."

"A Conservative is a Liberal who was mugged yesterday." People are getting mugged all over this country, now... by the millions. And they vote. They voted for this, and now they are going to vote against it, because now they no longer labor under the delusion that someone else is going to be paying.

It all sounds good, until the bill comes due. The fantasy sounds good. The reality bites.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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