Adrianne Jeffries, writing for The Verge:
How could the Obama administration, the brains behind the most sophisticated online political campaign ever, be responsible for something so bone-headed?
To start, Healthcare.gov wasn’t built by the elite team that built Obama’s campaign tech. The main $93.7 million contract to build the exchange was awarded to CGI Federal Inc., a subsidiary of the behemoth Canadian firm CGI Group. As is common with large contracts, CGI subcontracted with other megafirms for different aspects of the site. User authentication and identity is being handled by Experian. The “federal data services hub” was built by Quality Software Services, Inc. (QSSI was also accused of having a conflict of interest after it was bought by UnitedHealth Group.)
Government contracts are usually awarded to the lowest bidder, and the disincentives for not delivering aren’t very strong. There are also a number of extra requirements for government contracts that made state-of-the-art, Silicon Valley-style development impossible for this scale of government project. For example, contractors that worked on the Healthcare.gov backend were probably required to have Federal Information Security Management Act certification, which rules out the smaller, more agile firms that could have brought a more innovative sensibility to the project.
While I’m in support of Obamacare and feel it’s a step in the right direction, I’m bothered by the fact that people still have to “shop” for affordable coverage at all. Why Congress so steadfastly refuses to even consider a nationalized healthcare option is beyond me, as it’s clearly not without precedent elsewhere in the world. (The cynic in me knows why, but never mind.) Bottom line: I don’t like using my disabilities as a crutch for anything, but as a legally disabled person, I should get full medical coverage, no questions asked, regardless of cost. Same goes for children and the elderly; everyone should be ensured that their physical (and mental) health is cared for.
More than any other political issue, the healthcare debate gets me the most angry.