From the Washington Post:
More than a year before Maryland launched its health insurance exchange, senior state officials failed to heed warnings that no one was ultimately accountable for the $170 million project and that the state lacked a plausible plan for how it would be ready by Oct. 1.
Over the following months, as political leaders continued to proclaim that the state’s exchange would be a national model, the system went through three different project managers, the feuding between contractors hired to build the online exchange devolved into lawsuits, and key people quit, including a top information technology official because, as he would later say, the project “was a disaster waiting to happen.”
In the private sector, people and businesses fail or succeed in accordance with market realities, and how well they respond to or anticipate them. You can’t fake a balance sheet, or at least not for very long. At some point, somebody is going to notice that the product isn’t moving, or the service isn’t selling, or that the balance sheet or market share is shrinking. On the flip side, growing sales and profits lead to good things like raises and promotions and dividends. And let’s not forget all those happy (or dissatisfied) customers whose lives were made better (or worse) by your wonderful (or crappy) product.
Politicians and their bureaucrat hangers-on don’t live in the real world of balance sheets and sales figures. They live in the perceived world of polls and OPM (Other People’s Money). If they can hide the bad news, they live to fight another day. And its usually possible, given enough OPM, to hide the bad news indefinitely. But with HealthCare.gov and the various state exchanges, the politicians and their bureaucrat hangers-on found themselves in a new and uncomfortable place: Having to produce for customers.
The incentive was to sweep things under the rug, rather than to get the problem fixed. Now we’re all stuck with the unintended consequences of big government’s perverse incentives.
ICYMI: I know “♡bamaCare!!!” is a bit precious, but here’s how it came about.