Officials at CMS ignored 18 documented warnings that the Obamacare website was a turkey

An audit by the DHS inspector general has discovered that managers at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ignored 18 specific warnings from multiple sources that the Obamacare website, Healthcare.gov, wasn't ready to go live in 2013.

Most of the warnings came from the technical team involved in creating and evaluating the viability of the website.

Washington Free Beacon:

There were 18 documented warnings about the project’s shortcomings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Health and Human Services, and two consulting firms that expressed concerns about the project’s during 2011 and 2013.

Despite these concerns, leadership at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services remained positive about the launch, failing to develop contingency plans in case things went awry.

Immediately after launch, the website experienced problems ranging from system outages to login issues. Only six individuals were able to select a plan and submit an application on the first day of enrollment.

According to the audit, efforts to resolve problems were obstructed because of the agency’s organizational structure, which led to a lack of coordination between the policy and technical workers.

The report found that the departments spent too much time on policymaking instead of focusing on the development of the website, a move that led to poor technical decisions.

“The development of Healthcare.gov faced a high risk of failure, given the technical complexity required, the fixed deadline, and a high degree of uncertainty about mission, scope and funding,” the audit states. “Most critical was the absence of clear leadership, which caused delays in decision making, lack of clarity in project tasks, and the inability of [the agency] to recognize the magnitude of problems as the project deteriorated.”

Critics of the president’s health care law say they are not surprised by the results of the audit.

“The findings of this report are not surprising and they validate conservatives’ repeated warnings in the fall of 2013 that Healthcare.gov was not ready for primetime,” Rep. Diane Black (R., Tenn.) said.

“The Obama Administration’s decision to move forward with a broken website is the height of arrogance, particularly when we now know very clearly that they had every reason to wait until needed improvements could be made,” Black said. “While I hope the Administration will heed the recommendations in this report, the fact remains that Healthcare.gov is simply an extension of a deeply broken law – something no amount of technical changes can fix.”

What was the root cause of the disaster?  One opinion is that it was the "tsunami" of money thrown at the federal and state Obamacare websites.

From August, 2015:

Summary of findings

  • Healthcare.gov is the worst IT disaster in history. As a software development project, its implementation is thoroughly drenched with corruption and criminal fraud.
  • The core problem is that the federal and state web sites were $10-20 million software development projects requiring 10-20 programmers each, but the Obama administration granted typically $150-500 million for each one.
  • To spend this money, each contractor hired hundreds of programmers, many of whom were incompetent. If the Obama administration had dispensed $10-20 million per web site, then they probably would have worked the first time. In this sense, the Obama administration's humiliation was fully deserved.
  • The Obamacare web sites are barely working today, and are out-of-date technology, with no chance of adapting to mobile phones and tablets. Furthermore, with hundreds of millions of lines of code, they're unsupportable.

The administration claims the total cost of the Obamacare website, including the fixes, is $800 million.  But most people who know something about the subject believe it to be twice that amount.  It's hard to imagine a bigger boondoggle in the non-defense sector of government in U.S. history.

An audit by the DHS inspector general has discovered that managers at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ignored 18 specific warnings from multiple sources that the Obamacare website, Healthcare.gov, wasn't ready to go live in 2013.

Most of the warnings came from the technical team involved in creating and evaluating the viability of the website.

Washington Free Beacon:

There were 18 documented warnings about the project’s shortcomings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Health and Human Services, and two consulting firms that expressed concerns about the project’s during 2011 and 2013.

Despite these concerns, leadership at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services remained positive about the launch, failing to develop contingency plans in case things went awry.

Immediately after launch, the website experienced problems ranging from system outages to login issues. Only six individuals were able to select a plan and submit an application on the first day of enrollment.

According to the audit, efforts to resolve problems were obstructed because of the agency’s organizational structure, which led to a lack of coordination between the policy and technical workers.

The report found that the departments spent too much time on policymaking instead of focusing on the development of the website, a move that led to poor technical decisions.

“The development of Healthcare.gov faced a high risk of failure, given the technical complexity required, the fixed deadline, and a high degree of uncertainty about mission, scope and funding,” the audit states. “Most critical was the absence of clear leadership, which caused delays in decision making, lack of clarity in project tasks, and the inability of [the agency] to recognize the magnitude of problems as the project deteriorated.”

Critics of the president’s health care law say they are not surprised by the results of the audit.

“The findings of this report are not surprising and they validate conservatives’ repeated warnings in the fall of 2013 that Healthcare.gov was not ready for primetime,” Rep. Diane Black (R., Tenn.) said.

“The Obama Administration’s decision to move forward with a broken website is the height of arrogance, particularly when we now know very clearly that they had every reason to wait until needed improvements could be made,” Black said. “While I hope the Administration will heed the recommendations in this report, the fact remains that Healthcare.gov is simply an extension of a deeply broken law – something no amount of technical changes can fix.”

What was the root cause of the disaster?  One opinion is that it was the "tsunami" of money thrown at the federal and state Obamacare websites.

From August, 2015:

Summary of findings

  • Healthcare.gov is the worst IT disaster in history. As a software development project, its implementation is thoroughly drenched with corruption and criminal fraud.
  • The core problem is that the federal and state web sites were $10-20 million software development projects requiring 10-20 programmers each, but the Obama administration granted typically $150-500 million for each one.
  • To spend this money, each contractor hired hundreds of programmers, many of whom were incompetent. If the Obama administration had dispensed $10-20 million per web site, then they probably would have worked the first time. In this sense, the Obama administration's humiliation was fully deserved.
  • The Obamacare web sites are barely working today, and are out-of-date technology, with no chance of adapting to mobile phones and tablets. Furthermore, with hundreds of millions of lines of code, they're unsupportable.

The administration claims the total cost of the Obamacare website, including the fixes, is $800 million.  But most people who know something about the subject believe it to be twice that amount.  It's hard to imagine a bigger boondoggle in the non-defense sector of government in U.S. history.