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Rick Moran

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November 24, 2013 - 7:15 am
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A remarkable story in the Washington Post about the behind-the-scenes turmoil at CMS in the weeks leading up to the launch of HealthCare.gov.

It seems incredible, but the main contractor on the project — CGI Federal — was so overly optimistic about progress being made in constructing the site that they were able to snow CMS officials and make them think that things were going a lot more smoothly than they actually were.

At a meeting in Baltimore just five weeks before the rollout, administration officials nervously questioned CGI executives about what was really happening. Let’s just say that CGI’s presentation wasn’t entirely accurate:

For that day and the next, CGI staff huddled with government officials in the semicircular conference room at the headquarters of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency overseeing the project. They combed through 15 pages of spreadsheets they had brought, which spelled out the company’s level of confidence — high, medium or low — that individual components would be ready.

By the time HealthCare.gov launched 51/2 weeks later, many of those predictions proved wrong, according to internal documents obtained by The Washington Post and officials familiar with the project.

A final “pre-flight checklist” before the Web site’s Oct. 1 opening, compiled a week before by CMS, shows that 41 of 91 separate functions that CGI was responsible for finishing by the launch were still not working.

And a spreadsheet produced by CGI, dated the day of the launch, shows that the company acknowledged about 30 defects on features scheduled to have been working already, including five that it classified as “critical.” For instance, one critical defect was that people who had finished creating applications — an early step in enrolling — got incorrect messages that their applications were incomplete if they tried to sign back in.

All told, of the 45 items in which CGI had expressed high confidence at the late August meeting in Baltimore, most were still not ready by the time consumers were supposed to be able to start to buy health plans online through the federal marketplace, according to a government official familiar with the project who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private information.

During those crucial final weeks before the marketplace opened, the official said, CGI often delivered components on time, but they contained such faulty computer code that features did not hold up under closer scrutiny — or failed later if more than several thousand people at a time tried to use them. These included essential but arcane parts of the Web site, as well as facets that have attracted substantial public and congressional attention, such as a feature — still not working — that was supposed to let insurance-seekers browse the health plans available to them without first registering for an online account.

It was either Pollyanna or Mata Hari who was in on the construction of this clown-car screw-up of a website. Such a level of incompetence is rare, even for government work. Imagine a similar method of construction being applied to an F-15. We’d wonder if the contractor was actually working for the enemy.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
How A Small C Communist Builds A Rube Goldberg Healthcare Program.

A) first, write a 2000 page manifesto that nobody reads
B) cut off all debate, have The Party pass it in the middle of the night, in reconciliation
C) tell the people dozens of times that it is not a tax, their premiums will go down and if you like your doctor/policy...you can keep them
D) put out a no bid contract award to Michelle's friend, whose company was a bundler for the campaigns and helped to turn off the security system on the credit card check, in order to allow foreign donations and other election law violations
E) open with a system so easily hacked that it appears to be TRYING to spy on people, instead of preventing it
F) fail to build out up to 60% of the project at the time of launch
G) go to the Supreme Court and have your lawyers argue the exact opposite of what you have been telling the people
H) have your Propaganda Machine hide, obfuscate and coverup all of the above until it is too late
I) have The Party institute the nuclear option, removing the last vestiges of checks and balances
J) blame the Republicans

A "redistribution scheme" that doesn't care about those "haves", never did...never will.

It is designed to "give" to the "have nots". By any means necessary.

If YOU lose your healthcare (or yo 401k) in the process...too damn bad. "It's OUR turn"...you wouldn't pay reparations for years of racism, greed, homophobia,...you capitalist pig...so, swallow this.


The reason it appears that they don't care, that they are reckless, lawless and treasonous...is because...that's exactly how it is.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (12)
All Comments   (12)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do,,,,,,,WWW.Rush64.COM
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
my friend's step-mother makes $61 every hour on the computer. She has been unemployed for seven months but last month her pay was $21196 just working on the computer for a few hours. published here>>>> www.Ring77.com
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Can you say "F-35"?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obumbles....Nuff said!!!
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Such a level of incompetence is rare, even for government work.

No, it really isn't, not in software, not in commercial applications of this sort. In fact, it's standard. In fact, it's the GOAL these days, they carefully recruit and hire exactly the managers who will say nice things as everything screws up and runs over budget and schedule. I won't *quite* say that they intend from day one that everything run over budget and schedule, not *intend*, but virtually every contributor (such as any care!) can see that the structures and processes are GOING to run over.

F-15? How about a space shuttle?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
The tragic thing is that those Federal managers whose projects go over budget and fall behind schedule are actually rewarded by continuing to fund those projects, accepting the delays and keeping the manager in their position of responsibility. If they somehow lose the responsibility for incompetence, they don't get fired, they simply get shifted to a different position with the same pay.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is much more difficult than building an F-15. It is the equivalent of government taking over the pizza industry.

Can you imagine the overpriced tasteless supposedly good for you product that would result? If you could even get it?

People would do the same thing they are going to do now with obamacare. They will find a way around it and live with the consequences.

40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Watch Obama's FAIL at Real Clear Politics.

Nice graph there also.

Any law based on LIES will always FAIL!!
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
CMS and the Obama Admin like to shift blame to the contractors, especially CGI. According to documents and emails the Admin withheld requirements and regs until after the elections. Then all during spring and fall of this year they kept changing the requirements, adding new ones and not having a project manager that could give a simple yes or no answer to easy questions. Questions had to go thru CMS to HHS and then ultimately the White House, where more likely than not they hemmed and hawed before giving an answer. Another reason for it's failed rollout was the Admin never secured sufficient access to a data center to prevent the website from crashing, or a backup in case it did crash after going live. Can you imagine it was an afterthought to have a backup system in place.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
...and, at CGI, the higher ups have chosen the manager who will take the fall in attempt to make themselves seem blameless. They don't realize that they will suffer as well. Tossing one person off the life raft to the sharks doesn't make the sharks go away.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
How A Small C Communist Builds A Rube Goldberg Healthcare Program.

A) first, write a 2000 page manifesto that nobody reads
B) cut off all debate, have The Party pass it in the middle of the night, in reconciliation
C) tell the people dozens of times that it is not a tax, their premiums will go down and if you like your doctor/policy...you can keep them
D) put out a no bid contract award to Michelle's friend, whose company was a bundler for the campaigns and helped to turn off the security system on the credit card check, in order to allow foreign donations and other election law violations
E) open with a system so easily hacked that it appears to be TRYING to spy on people, instead of preventing it
F) fail to build out up to 60% of the project at the time of launch
G) go to the Supreme Court and have your lawyers argue the exact opposite of what you have been telling the people
H) have your Propaganda Machine hide, obfuscate and coverup all of the above until it is too late
I) have The Party institute the nuclear option, removing the last vestiges of checks and balances
J) blame the Republicans

A "redistribution scheme" that doesn't care about those "haves", never did...never will.

It is designed to "give" to the "have nots". By any means necessary.

If YOU lose your healthcare (or yo 401k) in the process...too damn bad. "It's OUR turn"...you wouldn't pay reparations for years of racism, greed, homophobia,...you capitalist pig...so, swallow this.


The reason it appears that they don't care, that they are reckless, lawless and treasonous...is because...that's exactly how it is.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Crony Communism, from those according to their tyranny, to those according to their fealty.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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