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(NPR)   You will be shocked to learn that the problems with healthcare.gov were caused by politicians, not programmers   (npr.org) divider line 176
    More: Obvious, obamacare, meltdown, stages, Ezekiel Emanuel, exchange program  
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4020 clicks; posted to Politics » on 22 Oct 2013 at 8:33 AM (43 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-10-22 08:14:19 AM
According to programmers interviewed for the story "the needful was failed to be done and requirements not clear site must actually work"
 
2013-10-22 08:21:06 AM
Lots of blame to spread around. Certainly all the republitards fighting tooth and nail to kill the ACA did not help matters. I cringed when I heard Obama say something along the lines of, "Nobody is more pissed off than I am. So it will get fixed." So very naive.... Don't make promises you cannot keep. As if a pissed-off POTUS could quickly fix a bloated mismanaged underfunded disorganized unfinished software project that went live too early.
 
2013-10-22 08:22:29 AM
Short version: they were working with much less money than they were supposed to have and had a smaller time frame to complete the project.
 
2013-10-22 08:26:03 AM

Voiceofreason01: Short version: they were working with much less money than they were supposed to have and had a smaller time frame to complete the project.


I can't wait to hear the Republicsn spin on that one.
 
2013-10-22 08:33:54 AM
FTFA: When it became clear that to build the federal exchange than had been allocated in the original law, Republicans in Congress refused to provide it.

Didn't they reduce funding for Embassy security before Benghazi, too?

Hmmmm.
 
2013-10-22 08:36:10 AM
"The administration bent over backward to accommodate the states; the administration begged states to cooperate"

Yep, and those that did are running just fine, keep that in mind when listening to the media narrative.
 
2013-10-22 08:41:19 AM
Fits the standard MO:

1/. Break government.
2/. Complain government is broken.
 
2013-10-22 08:41:59 AM
They couldn't stop F5ing?
 
2013-10-22 08:42:10 AM
I know there are a several NPR haters out here but that was a really good segment.
 
2013-10-22 08:45:01 AM
FTFA: But much of that time was spent in limbo. First there was waiting to see if the Supreme Court would overturn the law in the summer of 2012. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/us/supreme-court-lets-health-law-la r gely-stand.html">It didn't.) Then there was waiting to see if Mitt Romney and a Republican Senate would be elected that November to repeal it. (They weren't.)

I don't understand.   Why would the feds wait for these things?   I can understand having to wait until the states told them whether they were doing their own exchange or relying on the feds, but shouldn't HHS ago ahead as if the SCotUS would OK it?
 
2013-10-22 08:45:43 AM
We obviously need a takeover of all the states, by the Feds.

Apply the standard of unlimited debt,  and voila....Obamacare for all.

There is nothing that new taxes can't solve.
 
2013-10-22 08:45:56 AM

Voiceofreason01: Short version: they were working with much less money than they were supposed to have and had a smaller time frame to complete the project.


Which is pretty much the formula for most work on a government project. Unless of course, it's a military contract, or a building project for infrastructure...
 
2013-10-22 08:46:21 AM
Politicians: We want the website to do this and this and this.
Programmer: That can't be done.
Politicians: Here's $50 million.
Programmer: Ok, give me the money first.
 
2013-10-22 08:46:37 AM
Which led to the first big problem - money. When it became clear that to build the federal exchange than had been allocated in the original law, Republicans in Congress refused to provide it.  As a result, said Angoff, officials "had to scrape together money from various offices within HHS to build the federal exchange."
[...]
"The administration bent over backward to accommodate the states; the administration begged states to cooperate," said Angoff.


B-b-but Steve Jobs?
 
2013-10-22 08:46:48 AM

kronicfeld: Voiceofreason01: Short version: they were working with much less money than they were supposed to have and had a smaller time frame to complete the project.

I can't wait to hear the Republicsn spin on that one.


Wait, half a billion dollars is too little $ to build a website?
 
2013-10-22 08:47:03 AM

kronicfeld: Voiceofreason01: Short version: they were working with much less money than they were supposed to have and had a smaller time frame to complete the project.

I can't wait to hear the Republicsn spin on that one.


This is simply proof that private enterprise will always be more pro-active and efficient than government.
 
2013-10-22 08:47:10 AM

wrs1864: but shouldn't HHS ago ahead as if the SCotUS would OK it?


they were probably denied the funding until it was deemed constitutional
 
2013-10-22 08:47:15 AM

kronicfeld: Voiceofreason01: Short version: they were working with much less money than they were supposed to have and had a smaller time frame to complete the project.

I can't wait to hear the Republicsn spin on that one.


Mitch McConnel already gave his analysis. "Of course it's broken. Government can never do anything right."

With good American "can't do" attitude like that, how could it go wrong? As long as failure is you goal, success is assured.
 
2013-10-22 08:47:34 AM

Voiceofreason01: Short version: they were working with much less money than they were supposed to have and had a smaller time frame to complete the project.


Except that it went 3x overbudget. So the Republics who refues to give it more funding according to this article, kept giving it more until it cost 3 times what it was supposed to and then decided to cut it off from more. 3 times over budget is called strangling it with too little money, thats called incompetence. Great trolling.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/opinion/obamacare-healthcare-gov-websit e- cost/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2452404/Obamacare-website-co st -394-MILLION-doesnt-work.html

You do realize that the cost of the website is more money than it cost to develop and run twitter for its first five years.
They gave it plenty of funding, I don't blame the programmers, I blame the DHHS who was in charge of the project. But don't blame congress who gave it all the money it wanted and begged for
 
2013-10-22 08:48:52 AM
images.sodahead.com
 
2013-10-22 08:51:05 AM

wrs1864: I don't understand. Why would the feds wait for these things? I can understand having to wait until the states told them whether they were doing their own exchange or relying on the feds, but shouldn't HHS ago ahead as if the SCotUS would OK it?


Yeah I'm not sure I believe that's what actually happened.

RIDETHEWALRUS: Wait, half a billion dollars is too little $ to build a website?


I'm sure there was top-to-bottom problems with requirements, schedules, and cooperation with various involved parties, but I wouldn't wager funding was part of the equation..
 
2013-10-22 08:51:18 AM

monoski: I know there are a several NPR haters out here but that was a really good segment.


It's helpful, but it does rely heavily on just one source. A few more well placed sources would have strengthened it considerably.
 
2013-10-22 08:53:13 AM

jedihirsch: You do realize that the cost of the website is more money than it cost to develop and run twitter for its first five years.


so a much simpler piece of software that had several years of relatively light traffic and could be developed at a natural pace and without political interference works better and was cheaper to build than a very complex one with constantly changing requirements that had to work perfectly and at high traffic loads on day one? Good call.
 
2013-10-22 08:57:46 AM
Ah the joys of being a programmer and having a customer that doesn't really know what the hell they want
 
2013-10-22 08:59:20 AM
Healthcare.gov is like every MMO launch ever.
 
2013-10-22 09:02:48 AM

somedude210: wrs1864: but shouldn't HHS ago ahead as if the SCotUS would OK it?

they were probably denied the funding until it was deemed constitutional


Even if they had the funding at the time could you imagine the shiatstorm we'd be going through right now if they spent the money to develop the website and the damn law was struck down, rendering the website a complete, highly publicized waste of gov't funds?
 
2013-10-22 09:04:27 AM

jedihirsch: You do realize that the cost of the website is more money than it cost to develop and run twitter for its first five years.
They gave it plenty of funding, I don't blame the programmers, I blame the DHHS who was in charge of the project. But don't blame congress who gave it all the money it wanted and begged for


You can look at the exact costs for every part of the exchange here.

For a TLDR: government bureaucratic bloat, individual health care laws for over thirty states and the federal government are complex, and they had to build up the infrastructure from scratch. It costs more than Twitter because it's more complex than Twitter. Twitter doesn't have to deal with Medicare Part D compliance, Medicare appeals systems, and rates and benefits systems for various states. Those appear a lot throughout the spreadsheet.

/part of that funding also goes towards funding various parts for ten years
 
2013-10-22 09:04:57 AM
wait

three hundred trillion dollars not enough for one website
 
2013-10-22 09:06:25 AM
thanks alot fartleen shefartedus
 
2013-10-22 09:10:30 AM

The Larch: As long as failure is you goal, success is assured.


Especially if you've got a track record for it.

This is the same government that dropped three hundred billion on stealth fighters where the pilots oxygen supply was optional, ran multiple wars with the goal of eradicating terrorists that resulted in more terrorists, sold guns to drug lords and bungled dozens of smaller projects than health care reform (which it has bungled in the past).

I think people who believed success was a possibility are confusing what the federal government could do with what it actually ends up doing.  So they approached the problem in the most failure prone way possible.
 
2013-10-22 09:10:43 AM

Somacandra: monoski: I know there are a several NPR haters out here but that was a really good segment.

It's helpful, but it does rely heavily on just one source. A few more well placed sources would have strengthened it considerably.


I would not be surprised to see a follow up story or two over the next few days. During the shutdown over a period of a few days started with the claims by politicians that the default could be avoided then they actually tracked down the guy who runs the govt office of payments with regards to the GOP claim that we can "just pay the urgent debts" then pay the rest as the money comes in and he went on to explain that the system does not support that kind of approach and it would take years to re-engineer to accommodate.
 
2013-10-22 09:11:57 AM
Wait, wait. You're telling me Republicans deliberately sabotaged the implementation of a key portion of the ACA? That's just crazy talk.
 
2013-10-22 09:12:49 AM
Fix old, no new!
 
2013-10-22 09:13:00 AM
It's only red states that are having issues with people signing up. All the blue states did their websites already. No complaints here in Illinois about it. My friends needing insurance have had no problems and are really happy with the options given to them.
 
2013-10-22 09:13:37 AM
Hold on, six hundred brazilian dollars is not enough for one website?
 
2013-10-22 09:14:51 AM

006deluxe: somedude210: wrs1864: but shouldn't HHS ago ahead as if the SCotUS would OK it?

they were probably denied the funding until it was deemed constitutional

Even if they had the funding at the time could you imagine the shiatstorm we'd be going through right now if they spent the money to develop the website and the damn law was struck down, rendering the website a complete, highly publicized waste of gov't funds?


This. I would imagine they would have hauled them all into a congressional committee to hear why they were spending money on a site for a law that hadn't been ruled on yet by the Supreme Court for months on end, with minute questioning of the programmers and absolute shiatstorms and rants when one misspeaks for the first time.

The idea from day one has been to kill this legislation by any means possible. Untold billions has been spent trying every underhanded trick in the book to get something to stick to complain about the law. Well they finally found a minor issue.

I guess once this blows over as being caused by the same people complaining about it, they will go back to Benghazi again.
 
2013-10-22 09:18:07 AM
The government screwed something up? Unpossible.
 
2013-10-22 09:18:14 AM

hubiestubert: Which is pretty much the formula for most work on a government project. Unless of course, it's a military contract, or a building project for infrastructure...


Exactly, and I'm sure the entire project was split up between various Senator's and Rep's home districts rather than having a single entity build the entire site.  So some guy in a garage builds the front end, another guy builds the database, some other guy builds the middleware.  None of them get good specifications, none of them do integration testing, and everything is expected to work when all of the parts come together.
 
2013-10-22 09:19:09 AM

ocd002: It's only red states that are having issues with people signing up. All the blue states did their websites already. No complaints here in Illinois about it. My friends needing insurance have had no problems and are really happy with the options given to them.



Oh, well, good.  Your friends' anecdotal experience is just as good as an economic analysis.

Who needs numbers and all that thinky stuff anyhow?
 
2013-10-22 09:21:25 AM
You also don't need to buy your plan from the exchange if waiting another few weeks is that much of a drag.

I mean yeah, I think the website sucks loads, but I was talking to a friend last night who was all up in arms because she needs to get insurance for next year and can't through the Exchange, and was convinced that she wasn't going to be able to anyway, because her $700/month policy is already too expensive for her and she was convinced Obamacare was going to be even higher. I quick pulled up the BCBS site here and had her plug in her age and her daughters age and, lo and behold, the most expensive platinum policy through BCBS was $620/month, and covers more than her existing policy. Gold policies were even cheaper. Mind you she has a pre-exisitng medical condition so she wouldn't be able to switch policies normally any way, but now, even without the exchange, and totally ignoring any subsidy, she is elligible for a better health care plan from her current provider for at least a thousand dollars a year less.

I was pretty skeptical about Obamacare going in (I really want single payer or at the very least public option), but the more I've looked into it, the more I've found a lot of stuff to like.
 
2013-10-22 09:22:39 AM

jedihirsch: You do realize that the cost of the website is more money than it cost to develop and run twitter for its first five years.


Twitter?  Its a couple of orders of magnitude less complicated, and its record for downtime is poor to say the least:

www.belch.com
 
2013-10-22 09:22:41 AM
Look, I'm not saying the politicians were infallible, but do not doubt the ability of government IT workers to fark up the most mundane of tasks.

Imagine a group that could turn a water cooler into a tire fire.
 
2013-10-22 09:22:42 AM

ocd002: It's only red states that are having issues with people signing up. All the blue states did their websites already. No complaints here in Illinois about it. My friends needing insurance have had no problems and are really happy with the options given to them.


New York's works just fine. Still no customers.
 
2013-10-22 09:24:07 AM

error 303: Mind you she has a pre-exisitng medical condition so she wouldn't be able to switch policies normally any way


IIRC, isn't it setup now that you can't deny for pre-existing conditions, and pre-existing conditions have to be covered as long as you've had health insurance for the last year (under any provider)?
 
2013-10-22 09:24:55 AM

badhatharry: ocd002: It's only red states that are having issues with people signing up. All the blue states did their websites already. No complaints here in Illinois about it. My friends needing insurance have had no problems and are really happy with the options given to them.

New York's works just fine. Still no customers.


Zero customers?
 
2013-10-22 09:26:21 AM
Have they tried turning it off and back on again?
 
2013-10-22 09:27:19 AM
Oh, I'm sure there are tons of problems caused by developers too.  It's just that there's *more* problems caused by everyone else.  If you have moderately competent programmers, 9 times out of 10 the reason for a project failure is not "the developers screwed up".  Most project don't fail because they are bug-ridden, they fail because they are incomplete or don't do what the client wants.  We are very good at building what you tell us to.  Most of our job frustration comes from you not being able to tell us with precision what you want, even when we ask directly, because *you don't know*.  We have to be very precise in our code, and most people simply aren't up to thinking at that level of detail and considering all possible failure modes, and have never stopped to think about it.  If you leave behavior unspecified when something screws up, we can't program any reasonable behavior many times except to try and fail gracefully and tell you what happened.

That being said, a single developer not knowing the concept of Big O notation, or a single developer that doesn't catch that exception properly can cause serious problems...
 
2013-10-22 09:30:45 AM

paygun: The government screwed something up? Unpossible.


I have to resist throwing things through the TV screen or radio when life-long politicians then do interviews say the government is not competent enough to complete such a task.
//Mitch McConnell either last night or this morning said exactly that
 
2013-10-22 09:31:29 AM
b0rscht:  I heard Obama say something along the lines of, "Nobody is more pissed off than I am..."

www.usnews.com
"Challenge Accepted"
 
2013-10-22 09:31:34 AM

sprawl15: error 303: Mind you she has a pre-exisitng medical condition so she wouldn't be able to switch policies normally any way

IIRC, isn't it setup now that you can't deny for pre-existing conditions, and pre-existing conditions have to be covered as long as you've had health insurance for the last year (under any provider)?


That's my understanding? She hasn't been able to switch plans for a few years now, since any new plan would not cover what she needs covered, but now she's free to shop for coverage anywhere.
 
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