Obamacare isn't broken, it worked to maximize profit and control like any other government IT project

It is funny to watch so many people think fixing the Obamacare/healthcare.gov website is a technical issue where resources can be sent in to repair the site.  Some do discuss the fix is not easy like Politico’s post.

“We would have done this” for a fraction of the price, “and it would have been working perfectly,” Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of Bay Area global cloud provider Salesforce.com, said in an interview. “But we were turned away.”

Obamacare was like any other big government IT project.  Lots of competitive bids for those who know how to play the rules of Washington DC.  Once you win, you do things according to the rules of government IT.  You make progress, give lots of long status reports.  Then ship to hit an Oct 1 deadline.


Government IT comprises a network of systems that have developed over the past half-century, said Mike Hettinger, the Software & Information Industry Association’s director of public sector innovation. In some cases, thousands of homegrown networks feed into one payroll or financial system. Whereas a scrappy Silicon Valley startup could wipe out a project that doesn’t work, a much larger government agency doesn’t have that luxury.


These systems usually get built around schedules, such as the Oct. 1 deadline that contractors rushed to meet. Commercial companies don’t tend to have such a locked time frame.

The lack of functionality for Obamacare is not anything new for a government IT project.  You then wait for the next budget cycle and get more money to fix things.

There are some projects that work well in government IT, and this is why the process continues.  Standardize on one methodology that applies to all government projects, all employees, and all citizens.  Collect all requirements, and use these requirements to increase the complexity and budget of the project.  And, this is where the conflicts start to happen between those who understand how software should work vs. those who don’t.

Fixing Obamacare will change how the profit is made and who is in control of the project.  Once there are new rules for where the money is to be made and who is in control, then Obamacare will work in a new way.  Will this fix things for end users.  Not necessarily.