Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Healthcare.gov Comedy of Errors: A One Act Play
Authors: President, Obama Administration, and Democratic Congress
Director: Secretary of CMS (Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services)
Cast: The authors, Secretary of CMS, members of CMS information technology team, the hub (7 federal agencies computer systems containing data determining eligibility and subsidies for health exchange plans)
Plot: Assume cast knows what they are talking about when it comes to website development, assume you can fool most of the people most of the time, assume public at large is computer literate and can easily enroll in health exchanges; and once enrolled, will grow to embrace health law.
Build Rube Goldberg-like site consisting of millions of lines of computer code, one line at a time.
Delegate responsibility to CMS Secretary, meet with her one time in 3 ½ years to provide oversight and to check on progress of site. Ask no questions. Assume everything is on track.
Delegate task of developing huge complicated website containing millions of lines of code to be assessed by hundreds of millions of Americans to Information Technology team members who act independently with centralized oversight.
Promise to meet impossible to meet political deadlines despite warnings by technological advisers that the site should be tested front-end to back-end before launch and might otherwise crash.
Launched anyway and collapses under stress and pressures of reality and inability of public to access, health plans to fund due to lack of accurate information and high error rate, and lack of overall workability.
Bring in political insiders to fix politically.
Meet with Silicon Valley executives, hire experienced Microsoft executive to examine what went wrong and to correct what may be uncorrectable.
Denouement: Go into full White House damage control mode with multimillion dollar public relations campaign to explain the inexplicable.