I Told You So (Healthcare.gov Edition)

Can someone be cynically smug?

Back on October 10, I wrote in my science column on PJ Lifestyle:

So here’s a prediction. When the final story comes out — almost certainly not until after the end of the Obama Administration — what we’ll find out is this:

  • This was not ready for prime time and everyone technical knew it. It was political pressure that led to it being rolled out. (And remember the Challenger disaster if you think they wouldn’t have responded to pressure.)
  • What we’re seeing is the development code, probably pushed into the web site at about 11:02PM Eastern Time on September 30.

Most importantly, I will bet cash money that we will eventually find out the government was demanding major changes — like waivers and coverage changes — up to within a couple months of the rollout.


On October 12, the New York Times reported:

In March, Henry Chao, the chief digital architect for the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace, told industry executives that he was deeply worried about the Web site’s debut. “Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience,” he told them. ….

Confidential progress reports from the Health and Human Services Department show that senior officials repeatedly expressed doubts that the computer systems for the federal exchange would be ready on time, blaming delayed regulations, a lack of resources and other factors.

Deadline after deadline was missed. The biggest contractor, CGI Federal, was awarded its $94 million contract in December 2011. But the government was so slow in issuing specifications that the firm did not start writing software code until this spring, according to people familiar with the process.  As late as the last week of September, officials were still changing features of the Web site, HealthCare.gov, and debating whether consumers should be required to register and create password-protected accounts before they could shop for health plans.


I’d like to take a lot of credit for this, but sadly, this one was obvious.



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