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The Obamacare Website - How Does It Represent A Failure Of Government?


Leon Troutsky
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I agree with you 100%, I am just stating that it's wrong to call it simple that's all. Though in my opinion a small team could have done the work for waaaay cheaper. Probably $5-10M or less, all they had to do was create an interface that all healthcare companies had to adhere to. Though the design phase probably would have taken at least 3-9 months.

I blame the stupidity of how the government deals with contractors... But if you have no expertise, how would you know you were being screwed over? At the same time I bet they didn't even test the market at all. Still mad they gave the job to a Canadian company.

Unlike an Amazon, this website delivers nothing tangible. Amazon handles worldwide orders, huge volume, manages a multitude of warehouses and shipping facilities, third-party sellers, various delivery methods, various payment methods ... and that's just a fraction of it's handling of physical goods. Think about everything else Amazon does.

Healthcare.gov is a marketplace to compare and purchase health insurance plans. Something that you cannot touch. This site never needed to approximate anything even close to an Amazon - it just needed to be competent and functional.

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I agree with you 100%, I am just stating that it's wrong to call it simple that's all. Though in my opinion a small team could have done the work for waaaay cheaper. Probably $5-10M or less, all they had to do was create an interface that all healthcare companies had to adhere to. Though the design phase probably would have taken at least 3-9 months.

I blame the stupidity of how the government deals with contractors... But if you have no expertise, how would you know you were being screwed over? At the same time I bet they didn't even test the market at all. Still mad they gave the job to a Canadian company.

You are correct. This is literally one of the things I do one any given day, and calling it simple is incorrect. Why it was certainly terribly done by the government, the back end of this thing has to be staggering.

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I posted how the government has failed, how it has always failed, and how it will continue to fail unless they take a private business approach to contracting out projects. I also posted how the private sector works more efficiently and effectively while contracting between organizations.

All you posted was about how contracts are awarded and negotiated (or not) by the government. Most everyone in this thread agrees that needs to be changed and is a problem.

It's also a problem that we see a lot in the military. You even mentioned Halliburton. The difference is that people are not saying we should shut down the military because the problem with private contracts proves government can't do anything right. Some people have used the failures of the website to suggest the law itself is impossibly flawed and should be repealed.

And that's my point. The website problems are not a failure of government. They are a failure of decision makers to oversee contracts and hiring practices. And they are a failure of at least one private company who was hired to work on the website.

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What's so crazy about suggesting to people who call for privatization that when contracted to a private company, the PPACA website failed? That's pretty simple, and obviously true.

And it's also simple and true that it's fair to blame the government for the end result.

Both things can be true.

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What's so crazy about suggesting to people who call for privatization that when contracted to a private company, the PPACA website failed? That's pretty simple, and obviously true.

And it's also simple and true that it's fair to blame the government for the end result.

Both things can be true.

I think that's perfectly fair. It goes without saying that the administration will get blamed for this, as they should. I've even suggested that people who were responsible for setting up the contracts with the companies responsible for the failures should be fired. We need to completely overhaul how government contracts are awarded.

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What's so crazy about suggesting to people who call for privatization that when contracted to a private company, the PPACA website failed? That's pretty simple, and obviously true.

And it's also simple and true that it's fair to blame the government for the end result.

Both things can be true.

Why did they contract to a private firm with a failed record? Why are they just now bringing in "the alpha team" ? Doesn't look like it was a cost-saving measure. This thing was bungled by everyone involved.

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You are correct. This is literally one of the things I do one any given day, and calling it simple is incorrect. Why it was certainly terribly done by the government, the back end of this thing has to be staggering.

I wonder if they batch load quotes at night or are they real time...

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What's so crazy about suggesting to people who call for privatization that when contracted to a private company, the PPACA website failed? That's pretty simple, and obviously true.

And it's also simple and true that it's fair to blame the government for the end result.

Both things can be true.

It's crazy because this isn't how the private sector works.

The private sector doesn't pay almost a BILLION dollars up front to any company to do anything. That doesn't even take into account that they didn't shop around, much less figure out what they wanted or how to do it. They picked out the lobbyist of their choice, handed them a big bag of money and essentially told them to give it a shot.

This entire fiasco more closely resembles a Nigerian Prince scam than a business deal.

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I wonder if they batch load quotes at night or are they real time...

Good question, I would go with real time, due to having six time zones to deal with, but I have no idea what their network capacity is. Wait, rereading I don't think that's what you meant. For quotes I think they would have to do real time, due to the nature of the data.

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Here's an interesting question:

...couldn't they have just used Amazon.com?

Have an "insurance" category and mandate that all insurance companies have to register their available plans on it.

Something has to be built for that... It's not like a normal product, but they have more than enough infrastructure to handle the load.

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Good question, I would go with real time, due to having six time zones to deal with, but I have no idea what their network capacity is. Wait, rereading I don't think that's what you meant. For quotes I think they would have to do real time, due to the nature of the data.

Now that would be some fun coding right there. Hit all exchange sites from a state and return the results. Probably are hit concurrently with results coming back and sorted on some criteria. I love development!

Edited by lostone
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I think that's perfectly fair. It goes without saying that the administration will get blamed for this, as they should. I've even suggested that people who were responsible for setting up the contracts with the companies responsible for the failures should be fired. We need to completely overhaul how government contracts are awarded.

No. We just need to have government stop trying to do things that government is no good for. This is jus the tip of the iceberg. If this is the startup, imagine the corruption and waste when it gets going. Just because you don't like the way that prices determine the distribution of healthcare services doesn't mean that you will like the way politics distributes healthcare services. Edited by Flip Flop
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No. We just need to have government stop trying to do things that government is no good for. This is jus the tip of the iceberg. If this is the startup, imagine the corruption and waste when it gets going. Just because you don't like the way that prices determine the distribution of healthcare services doesn't mean that you will like the way politics distributes healthcare services.

Do you think that the idea of an exchange where insurance companies compete with one another for customers is a good idea? If so, where is the private sector incentive to create something like this?

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