Mea culpa. We’ve been remiss in updating our blog. Fact is, our other social avenues (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) have proven quicker to disseminate information, but we know our loyal blog readers shouldn’t be punished. So we’re back at it, with a real doozy.
The merits of the Affordable Care Act (nee Obamacare) as law, policy, etc. are being amply handled elsewhere. Our input on the topic is about the catastrophe that is the technology behind the federal website and the associated design elements.
As someone wrote earlier this month, we fought and won World War II – in both theaters – in less time than it will take the federal government to have a fully functional ACA site. And those holding their breaths for December 1st, afraid you will discover new shades of blue because it’s not happening, even with the “most users” qualifier.
for us the results are not surprising. It was obvious from the start that policy/politics would trump technology, so the program was doomed to an arduous development path (the October 1, 2013 deadline being the first major mistake). Then federal agencies, those with no experience in producing such a technical system, were put in charge of the development. The NSA might have made it work; the HHS? Not so much.
Building a system such as the ACA is a messy, complicated endeavor. The security requirements alone would test the capabilities of even the brightest technical minds. Not saying the folks who designed/programmed the site weren’t competent, we’re saying it appears that’s all they were – competent. The ACA requires superstars, and not the ones who get all the media idolatry. The real geniuses are the ones only known to the industry; those are the people we want building this system. Given the potential damage that can be done to people – and by extension the country – should the system be compromised, a real IT team should be in place to basically gut and re-build the platform (and provide ongoing management). That’s the next shoe – what happens when the site requires updates/patches down the line? What happens if there is a security breach?
Before you yell about the bidding process, we know the laws. Lowest bidder wins. But having worked through the GSA schedule, exceptions abound. An exception should have been made here to ensure the project was done right the first time.
Feel free to read about some of the latest consternation the ACA site is causing.