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View Diary: The HealthCare.gov fiasco (262 comments)

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  •  those are 2 different issues (34+ / 0-)

    the republicans are complaining for politics.  that's what they do.

    but this company fucked us over big time.

    when you are paid over a hundred million for a WEBSITE then you saw off your leg to get it done ON TIME and WORKING!

    i was one to be patient and understanding about this until i found out how much money was being paid.  it's pure and utter bullshit that this website couldn't be running polished and smooth for that kind of money.  we got played by this company.

    i mean... it's a goddamn website.  a website.  the software i could develop with a hundred fucking million dollars.  i've been coding graphics and physics and ai for the last 8 years.  it's obscene that this much money was spent on this website in the first place, period.

    and it was paid to fucking Canada?  so, it wasn't even a jobs program.  the money just flushed out of the country.  awesome.  just awesome.

    •  My understanding is that (8+ / 0-)

      the company is Canada-based, but has offices in the U.S.

      So not entirely true that the money was just flushed out of the country.

    •  Jobs program (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare

      Nailed it.


      Libertarianism is something that most people grow out of, not unlike, say, hay fever or asthma. Bob Johnson

      by randallt on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 01:24:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's what private companies do. (9+ / 0-)

      How many freaking times as progressives do we say private companies are often out to screw us...

      Apart from providing services companies also want to make sure they get the best bang for their buck...

      Somoeone from the government should have been monitoring this shit...

      As progressives we should not run away from owning problems. That's why we have the GOP. So do me a favor and place blame where the buck stops....fuckin O's admin...

      •  Most private firms aren't expert in Fed contracts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RightHeaded

        Part of the problem as I am hearing it is that some companies specialize in negotiating through the labyrinths of government red tape to win contracts. They may not be good at doing anything else, so then less than great companies wind up with most of the jobs. Competence in the service you provide is not an assurance of being very good at winning a contract if you're not experienced with that too. And most quick, cunning firms don't have the time or money to do so.

        This is another unsung problem with a lack of transparency in government. The whistleblowing and NSA fast and loose privacy intrusions are bad enough to begin with, but efficient government needs to have a level playing field for all potential contractors as well.

    •  Well you know, America doesn't have a tech (15+ / 0-)

      or internet industry with the qualifications to do the job. I mean, it's not we invented the fucking internet or anything (facepalm).

      Agree 100%. I can't even imagine where this money went. I would love a list of stockholders and lobbyists for this company to see who got rich from this. This stinks to high heaven.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 01:27:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  and just to be clear about websites (9+ / 0-)

      they are ENTRY LEVEL coding work.  you don't even need a degree to be able to code websites.  they are the fast food of software development.  CHILDREN can make websites.  Grandma and Grampa can make websites.  when the tech bubble burst years ago and a shitload of 'website' programmers couldn't get a job, it was because they had such entry level programming skills.

      so, there's no excuse for this website not working.  this isn't about a difficult coding project.  this was a purely managerial fuck up.  

      brooklyn bad boy was right.  goddamn heads need to roll.  both at the software company(s) and in the government.  

      •  You are just about right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poligirl

        At worst, this is a standard data collection business application.

      •  As a web developer... (18+ / 0-)

        Let me point out that websites are not that simple. Not anymore.

        Sure a child can bang out three pure HTML web pages, but that is not a modern website.

        There is a lot that goes into one of those, starting with a decent design, good information architecture, excellent database design, reporting and administrative interfaces, data exchanges and integrations to the N-th degree, etc, etc, etc. What the public sees is the tip of the iceberg, trust me.

        On the other hand, for a few million dollars, let alone few HUNDRED MILLION, you should have all of that.

        It's complicated, but it's not magic.

        •  A computer programmer I know is constantly talking (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yoduuuh do or do not, poligirl

          About programmers who build programs in the most complicated way possible to ensure "job security."  It drives him crazy when he is called in to "improve" the program.  Do web developers do the same thing?  Would a company with a $94 million contract "insist" its developers do so?

          Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

          by ranton on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 04:00:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  excellent comment. (0+ / 0-)

          It's certainly not about "coding", but far beyond that.  Systems integration and capacity planning for scalable architecture is more what this is about.  I'm a DBA myself and the many pieces are quite doable.  Complicated sure, but the know how for assembling the various elements is readily available.

          I also fault whoever on the federal side was responsible for setting deliverables and milestones with the consultants.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 04:55:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Before We join Hands w/ the GOP... (9+ / 0-)

        Stop this shit!

        This Website is for use by 36 states w/ many parts & pieces.  It's been only 2 weeks, but somehow ppl should be fired.

        I have worked in companies who paid consultants & techies millions for enterprises systems that did not work properly after a year.  They had to scrap the system & start again.

        I will not hate on ACA website or on HHS or PBO. Do you really think PBO or HHS wants to give the GOP any fodder for use to beat up ACA?

        Before beating me up, I'm not a techies so I didn't use the right terminology.  And, I do have a dog in this situation. I tried to sign up for the exchange & met w/ glitches. I will wait and try again.  

        What we should be bitching about is the fact that the GOP states refuse to set up exchanges & run their own sites.

        Remember: We plan to oust the Stupid Party in November 2014!

        by Crittersmith1 on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 02:23:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agree. I'd expect Kos's diary to be on Redstate (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SingularExistence, kefauver

          Agree. Stop this shit. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.  Which is why Obama went in front of America today, to discuss solutions.

          "If they're shooting at you, you know you must be doing something right"

          by ayjaymay on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 03:56:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Because Red State is always blaming contractors... (9+ / 0-)

            ... And Asking for accountability from the people in government that they backed in elections. < eye roll >

            Just a useful piece of internet info here, and feel free to take it or leave it: Preview is not just for spell check and grammar.

            Not that kos really needs my help defending what he posts on his own site. Lol

            ePluribus Media
            Collaboration is contagious!

            by m16eib on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 05:17:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for the advice. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kefauver

              I'll leave it.

              [POST]

              Cooler heads will prevail. And we have the coolest head in the White House.

              by ayjaymay on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 05:48:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Is Kos even smearing the right company? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              malharden

              CGI is just one of 55 contractors that worked on the healthcare.gov system, interfaces, and external systems. Just because CGI had the largest part, it doesn't mean that the systems problems were solely its responsibility.  CGI was actually asked to fix another company's system problems:

              "CGI Federal, ... is responsible for the architecture of major parts of the system, but not for its integration. Quality Software Services Inc., or Q.S.S.I., a unit of the UnitedHealth Group, developed the identity management system, another major component that allowed consumers to register and establish accounts.

              The identity management system from Q.S.S.I., which also taps into government databases to retrieve users’ personal information, was a particular source of trouble when the exchange opened. Change orders show that on Oct. 4 — after millions of people had been trapped in technological loops trying merely to log in — the government asked CGI to help it devise a new identity management system to replace the one provided by Q.S.S.I. But specialists said that approach was abandoned as too risky. Ultimately it was decided to fix the current identity system."

              "One major problem slowing repairs, people close to the program say, is that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency in charge of the exchange, is responsible for making sure that the separately designed databases and pieces of software from 55 contractors work together. It is not common for a federal agency to assume that role, and numerous people involved in the project said the agency did not have the expertise to do the job and did not fully understand what it entailed. "

              http://www.nytimes.com/...

              Cooler heads will prevail. And we have the coolest head in the White House.

              by ayjaymay on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 06:10:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Three weeks later after three years to (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PhilJD, m16eib

            prepare?

            Which is why Obama went in front of America today, to discuss solutions.
        •  Not hating, but disappointed. And pragmatic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          m16eib

          I want to stand up for the ACA system, (even though it's only going to be fractionally as efficient as a single payer system would be. Oh well....) And I'm sure the bugs will be worked out eventually.

          However, I do demand efficiency out of my government and I will bitch about it when things need fixing. And please see my other comments on this page as I acknowledge that part of the problem is structural in terms of how difficult it is supposed to be to win government contracts unless you focus a good part of your business on doing just that.

          If that is so, and I wouldn't be surprised, that's the thing that needs more fixing that the ACA.

        •  No, not really. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          m16eib, JesseCW
          It's been only 2 weeks,
          Today is not October 14.  Today's date is is October 21.  My math tells me it's three weeks.

          This site is currently in beta, period.  It should have never been released to the public until they got it right.  They never beta-tested it with the thousands of government computers they have.  

        •  "Hate on"? Do you think we're discussing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          m16eib

          American Idol contestants?

          "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Tue Oct 22, 2013 at 10:43:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Umm, there are web sites and there are web (5+ / 0-)

        sites.

        Things have changed a bit since 1995.

        Putting together a web-based application and/or application portal is much more than  slapping together a little bit of HTML and CSS.  Many, many large web sites require work that goes well-beyond entry level programming.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 02:26:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This company employs a lot of H-1Bs and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ranton, yoduuuh do or do not

      sends a lot of coding to India.

      A disaster, to be sure.

      •  How do you know that? (0+ / 0-)
      •  How do you know this? (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not necessarily saying I doubt what you said ('cause heaven knows too damned many tech companies are doing just that) but, these days, I tend to give little credence to assertions without some sort of back-up.

        I used to be a senior technical recruiter in Silicon Valley (including during the boom) so I've personally run in to the H1B problem.

        So, again, the question is:  how do you know this?

        It's not a question of whether our founding fathers are rolling in their graves but rather of how many RPM they're clocking.

        by Eyesbright on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 06:20:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  very complicated issue (7+ / 0-)

      This is a very complicated issue and the reports about the contractor ripping us off are probably not quite true.  The contractor wasn't even given the go ahead until the Spring of this year for the major build.

      You have to remember, contractors are MANAGED by the government.  Ask them for a shitty product and you get a shitty product.  They will build you exactly what you ask them to...so there is probably lots of blame to go around for the IT mess...and the short performance period also probably accounted for some of the problems.  

      They had to stand up a novel system that has a LOT going on in the background...and with other systems.  It is a complex system.   Google is huge, but it didn't start out that way...it could benefit from spiral development processes...the ACA website(s) didn't have that luxury.

      And as others have pointed out this wasn't "paid to fucking Canada."  They US-based organization has its headquarters in the NoVA.  There were LOTS of other contractors involved.

      I went into science for the money and the sex. Imagine my surprise.

      by Mote Dai on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 02:02:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And we don't know how stable the specs were (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mote Dai

        If people kept making changes to them then that's another major source of cost overruns.

        The real culprits are whoever was in charge of the contract and the project itself (getting the specs done.)

      •  yeah, whomever didn't have them start before... (0+ / 0-)

        spring should be the first head to roll.

        "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those that speak it." ~George Orwell "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." ~Charles Beard

        by poligirl on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 05:16:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Some very important mitigating factors (5+ / 0-)

      As noted in Ukit's diary on Kimberly Morgan's article in Foreign Affairs:

      It's far more complicated than it should be because it's a public-private hybrid.  Medicare or Medicaid are substantially easier to program.

      As cjo30080 reported in his reccommended diary, CGI only started coding this Spring, due to the slow delivery of specifications from the government.

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      http://www.foreignaffairs.com/...

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      Shutdown, Schmutdown. Hey Teaparty, I got your funding right here!

      by filby on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 02:08:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That time frame is short, but $92 million? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gooderservice, Karl Rover

        I'm sorry, but I could have gathered together a team of people I trust -- with the required skills -- to deliver a working site that could handle the traffic in that time.

        For a good deal less money.

        Somebody is wildly incompetent or dishonest.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 02:29:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I'd like to see the line items (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poligirl, dinotrac, GleninCA

          Someone(s) is billing at a very high rate. And that's in an industry that is normally high but I can't believe THAT high. Maybe I should put my resume in with them.

          •  Bet you're too good (read expensive) (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            whaddaya

            More than a few big shops hire a lot of cheap sweathop programmers and hand them a stylebook.

            The kind of people who can see a disaster like this before it blows up cost good money.

            Worth every penny to competent management.
            Not so much to hacks.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 06:27:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Relying on a private contractor (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ranton, whaddaya

      was a colossal mistake on several levels.  

      The first concern is that the private contractor, or some of its employees, may attempt to sabotage the ACA by designing a failed website.  The company would take a hit, but for all we know they could have been paid a great deal of cash to keep healthcare.gov from ever launching successfully.

      The second and probably greater concern is that by going with a private contractor, it ensures that the design and launch of the website is nothing more than a job to those doing it.  If the administration had hired a team of progressive coders and h4XX0rs to build the website, they would have been working for more than a paycheck, and it would have shown in the results.  Their egos would have been tied to the success of the website, which along with their progressive idealism would have created a potent ambition to perform at their very best.

      Yet another advantage to hiring the coders directly is that it would have made them directly responsible for any fuckups.  Now it's just a nameless corporation that's reponsable.  

      Of course the final reason is that it would have been cheaper to design the website in house.  It may have taken a bit longer since a team would have to be put together, but there's been plenty of time since ACA was passed.  No doubt they would have been overwhelmed by how many experienced coders would have jumped at the chance to put together a team to design this website.  

      Ultimately it was a chance to reverse the trend of outsourcing government.  An executive branch web design department could have been created that was responsible for keeping all government websites up and running.  Instead they outsourced it for big bucks and the failure will be blamed on "big government".  What a farce.

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 03:10:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tied hands (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RainyDay, worldlotus

        The government can't pay the programmers, project managers, product managers what they are worth because....budgets, antiquated salary schedules, etc. But, for whatever reason, paying a vendor even more is considered good business practice.

        As a developer, I wouldn't work for the government at this point. At least not until we get rid of the bozos in the house.

    •  Please. You sound like a republican (0+ / 0-)

      Read some of the more responsible diaries and comments about the healthcare.gov posted prior to Kos' rant

      "If they're shooting at you, you know you must be doing something right"

      by ayjaymay on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 03:59:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, to be fair, (6+ / 0-)

      this isn't some blog or kittyporn site like schoolkids and granny could put up. This is a whole system of interrelated services, necessarily highly interactive, under strong security constraints, and on top of that, connecting massive amounts of data in a coherent way. Granny couldn't build an Amazon or ebay or google site any more than they could build this one.

      But you're right that, given the money and the resources, this saga is absolutely inexcusable. The big mistake/incompetency was putting this in the hands of a private company to develop with proprietary code that now they, the ones who totally screwed it up, are the only ones able to (maybe) fix it. Unfortunately pols on every ideological side are too in love with the "public/private paradigm" bullshit to let it go, no matter how predictably disastrous it the outcome will be.

    •  However, I've heard there is nothing else like it (4+ / 0-)

      It needs to retrieve all kinds of records from the IRS, from the states, and a number of other agencies immediately in a way that has never been done before. And that assumes no problems with those other sources computer records.

      On the other hand I believe I heard this from one of the architects of the plan so I don't know how true all that is and how much he may have been covering his ass.

      Does anyone have any idea if, as he claims, this is the most complex system of its size to exist?

    •  i think one of my biggest questions is: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AntonBursch, gooderservice, whaddaya

      why on earth didn't they test the shit outta this before they released it?

      when i worked in that industry, we tested and tested and tested and tested and tested til the big bugs were out. sure there will always be smaller bugs in a release, but some of these. what were they thinking?

      i'm wondering if they tested much at all. given my 3 (so far) futile attempts. the thing has a *lot* of glitches. the live chat lady couldn't help me at all, and the phone folks even got a supervisor when they couldn't help and told me to try again next week. i think i'll give it more time than that. i'm human but it's been so bad on this end i've been frustrated almost to tears.

      "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those that speak it." ~George Orwell "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." ~Charles Beard

      by poligirl on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 05:10:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe they should have used the same people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whaddaya

      when Whitehouse.gov had a tax caculator to show how much money would be saved in taxes.

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