The Obama Administration Never Ran a Complete Test of Obamacare's Federal Exchanges



Did Obamacare's federal exchange system ever work? 

We're now getting a sense of how rushed and haphazard the rollout of Obamacare's exchanges really was: The administration never tested the complete user experience of the federal exchanges at all before the system launched. According to a Business Week source, the federal exchange system "went live without attempts to replicate a customer's complete experience." 

Separate tests that were run, meanwhile, failed. The Washington Post reported yesterday that a trial run intended to see whether the system could handle large numbers of simultaneous users crashed when just a few hundred simulated users were logged in

The administration took the site live anyway, despite insurance industry warnings and suggestions that perhaps a delay or a limited rollout would help mitigate potential troubles.

The technical problems are probably fixable, eventually. But at this point, it's increasingly looking as if repairs could take a rather long time. A Bloomberg story on the continuing woes for the exchange suggests that the administration may need to "take portions of the system off line for days or weeks." 

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, meanwhile, helps outline the enormity of the task. Via The Wall Street Journal:

The online insurance marketplace needed five years of construction and a year of testing, [Sebelius] said: "We had two years and almost no testing."

So it's not exactly surprising, then, that another major technical component of the exchanges is being delayed yet again. The exchange system was supposed to interface seamlessly with state-run Medicaid programs. But that functionality, already delayed until November 1, has now been further delayed, according to The Washington Post. Senior administration health officials now say they have no idea when it will be ready. 

In the meantime, the administration is telling people who want to enroll to call the Obamacare help line. But that's not very helpful. As a report by Jeffrey Young in The Huffington Post notes, phone help and enrollment assistance workers "are reliant on the same faulty technology that consumers confront when they visit HealthCare.gov. If the website won't let a call center operator or a navigator access the system to apply for financial assistance or review the real prices of the actual health insurance plans sold in a consumer's local area, the process must be paused and resumed later." 

So despite repeated promises from multiple senior members of the administration that the federal exchange system was on track, on time, and would work, it's now clear that not only does the system not work, it never worked—not even in testing. And the workarounds they've proposed aren't going to work either. 

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  1. went live without attempts to replicate a customer’s complete experience

    Competence…how does it work?

    1. “Competence…how does it work?”
      You won’t find out from that poseur in the WH.

      1. By all reports, Obama was a very competent community organizer.

        Unfortunately, the skills of a community organizer do not contribute much to the function of an executive.

        Community organizing is all about shaking down monied interests. The community organizer accomplishes this by agitating within a coalition of the non-productive, marginally productive, and rent-seeking groups to coerce the productive to surrender some of their property and privilege.

        The function of the executive is about formulating organizational purposes and objectives, securing essential services from others to achieve those ends, and establishing and maintaining systems of communication. These functions require working with productive groups with which Obama has neither experience nor interest other than as shake-down targets.

        1. In a world where most idiots believe very strongly that they are smarter that their boss, their bosses’ boss, and the rest of their chain of command, you can see how some voters don’t see lack of executive experience as an issue (remember – you didn’t build that).

          Of course people could learn as we’re seeing what lack of executive experience does, but most of those who love Obama’s resume will blame every single issue on the evil opposition.

          Add that population to the population that won’t pay close enough attention to attribute cause/effect and that the likelihood of the voting public learning from this is slim to none.

          1. Michael S. Langston… I completely agree. And I believe that the hardest problem America faces is “how to reverse that tidal wave of lack of attention and learning.”

    2. But … but … Apple! Obstructionist teathuglicans! Something must be done! Oh, yeah, and a friend of a friend knows someone who managed to complete the process.

      1. “a friend of a friend knows someone who managed to complete the process”

        And a new urban legend is born.

    3. “I am so surprised” said absolutely no one able to think independently.

    4. Expecting competence is RACIST!!!! /DERP

      1. So now both low expectations and high expectations are racist?

        1. DOG WHISTLES!!111!!

      2. I assume this is an attempt at sarcasm Loki, but I have been told that very thing in earnest many times regarding my criticism of affirmative action programs.

        1. So assuming everyone is equally qualified is bad? & assuming some may not be equally qualified due to other factors is bad?

          I wonder if there’s a way to track the prevalence of illogical beliefs by a population and their government’s actions?

    5. The pump government don’t work because the vandals Republicans took the handles.

  2. …”the federal exchange system “went live without attempts to replicate a customer’s complete experience.” ”

    Pelosi told ’em to turn it on and see what was in it. She got the same pile of shit she shoved through congress.

    1. This is what got Obama elected.

      It’s the Hope part of Hope’n’Change?.

      1. Program manager: But it hasn’t been thoroughly tested in a simulated live environment. You can’t take this system live until it has been tested.

        Sebelius: Yes we can! ?

    2. Yeah, that’s exactly right. The mantra for building and deploying this website seemed to be: “fire that shit up and see if it runs.”

  3. When, by law, the customer base is guaranteed, why concern yourselves with their experience?

    1. ^^^^THIS^^^^

      I never understand why progtards think handing something to government, which promptly creates a monopoly to suit its needs, somehow will produce a better experience/result than letting korprashuns, that need to meet customer expectations, do things. Their disdain for profits is so overwhelming that they would gladly get daily ass rapes as long as they could pretend nobody else is getting evil profits.

      1. Because Government is just all of us, working together!!!

        1. “We are the ones we’ve been fucking over!”

      2. Yep. Progressives think monopolies are the vilest example of human evil. Unless they’re held by the government, in which case it’s different because of periodic voting in some cases. Or something.

        1. That’s the thing exactly – they believe that voting holds politicians accountable, whereas they believe that the market is incapable of holding businesses accountable.

          1. I hold lots of stock in major corporations and NEVER vote my shares.

            1. That’s not what worries the C-suite. It’s selling the shares that scares them.

            2. Sometimes I vote against board candidates when they’re retired politicians just for fun.

              1. I always vote against all board members as a matter of principle. If they truly held their CEO’s accountable they might get my support. And if more people thought like me then much of this IN-EE-QUAL-I-TAY “problem” would be solved.

            3. FTR, I was being sarcastic. I actually do read the proxies and vote my shares

              1. & of course major institutional investors do as well – to the point of replacing portions of boards if things aren’t moving well enough.

      3. I saw a clip of Obama at a town hall trying to sell health care reform in the months before it passed. He said “people will tell you that we will ration care, but I tell you it is already being rationed – and who would you rather have doing it, the government our your insurance company?”

        Well, for me, I immediately answered “My insurance company!” – especially if we can get a system similar to auto or life insurance that operates in a truly competitive market, across state line, with no fixed enrollment periods and other bs.

        Obama is trusting his audience to think that because the public servants working in the government are so much more compassionate than the profit seeking insurance companies, of course the customer will be better treated by the government. How often has anybody at the DMV ever given a rat’s behind about your customer service experience? Is their job on the line if they don’t satisfy the customer?

        Meanwhile, in a competitive market, a company that often enough screws their customers loses those customers to their competitors, losing money, and if they do it long enough, they go right out of business (until the feds bail them out). Profit can be a great incentive to give the customer a quality product at a fair price.

  4. The online insurance marketplace needed five years of construction and a year of testing, [Sebelius] said: “We had two years and almost no testing.”

    Unbelievable. Strike that, believable for this clown posse.

    1. Five years of construction and a fucking year of testing? I’ve never worked on a project, no matter how complex, that needed that much time. These people are incompetent beyond any previous understanding of the word. Thank Jeebus. If they weren’t, they’d be vastly more dangerous than they already are.

      1. Scope creep on steroids?

        1. Nope. Utter, incredible incompetence on steroids. No one needs a year of testing. Fuck, I seriously doubt Microsoft’s overall testing on a new operating system actually works out to a full year.

          1. I know, that was a joke.

            The year of testing thing is absurdly laughable. This thing should have never even made it to staging. The developers should have tested it beyond the extent that they tested. I’ve never moved anything out of development that wasn’t at least basically functional. And if they used any type of modular approach at all, there wouldn’t be any way that the next mod would completely render the entire system unusable.

            1. ACA has 47 different contractors in various aspects of the program. I doubt any had an idea what any of the others were doing. Now, that is a recipe for success –

              1. Yep, and federal agencies are notorious for being worse than clueless about their parallel counterparts who are replicating most of the same work. I wouldn’t be surprised if healthcare.gov (as is) was written 3-4 times over, simply because the government is terrible at organizing anything.

                1. A skill set though already used by technology and scientific companies for decades – making long term projects where various teams basically work independently to setup their “portion” which is overseen by a project head who ensure’s each individual portion will be compatible with the whole.

                  For instance – the space shuttle.

                2. yesterday I heard confirmation that a month before rollout someone in the administration passed on a requirement that users register before being able to see any prices, in order that people not be able to browse and talk bad about the system.

          2. It was a throwaway line. Obama officials have become used to saying whatever occurs to them and never being held to account.

            It’s similar to Kerry’s throwaway on Syrian chemical weapons.

          3. I’ve never worked on a project, no matter how complex, that needed that much time.

            Even allowing for incompetency, given the architecture and all the various databases and agencies they had to interface with at the same time during the application process, that length of time wouldn’t surprise me at all.

            I could even allow for five years of development, although they could have just called the folks at ehealthinsurance and asked them how to put it together.

            The contractors are getting targeted by the left in the irrational need to defend their Emperor, but anyone who researched this could tell the contractors weren’t going to be able to deliver. Even crony capitalists can be set up to fail.

            1. I don’t see why it’s so complex. The health exchanges are an Internet shopping site with a few hundred product offerings each. It’s not rocket science. It’s a standard e-commerce problem.

              They don’t actually need detailed personal information to verify, since that is usually done by the insurance company as part of the insurance approval process anyway. All they need to do is show people the choices and take the application.

              1. Exactly, and for 300+ million, it’s hard to conceive of a way to screw things up this badly. Unless you factor in government.

                1. It’s simple – when they designed the system – they didn’t design it with users in mind. It wasn’t in fact built for users, but built for Obama & Obamacare.

                  & when any project focuses on nebulous and indefinable goals such as “making Obamacare look good” it will always fail.

              2. maybe they could have tried GoDaddy.

      2. 6 years sounds a bit extreme but realistically there is no way they could have completed proper development and testing on a system this complex in under 4 years. They could probably have thrown up a buggy “beta” grade site in time for next years OE period but the true incompetence is in sticking to an impossible schedule just to meet a political goal not just because it is technologically stupid but it is managerially stupid AND politically stupid because when the political date rolls around and the code is a disaster any benefit you earned for “shipping on time” is killed by the anger aroused by the system just not working.

        1. Six years was the development cycle for a much smaller scale application written for state government. By Government IT standards, this sort of project is a decade at least.

        2. The fact that the system is “this complex” is the problem. There is no need for it to be complex given the fairly simple task it has to solve, namely let people select the correct health plan and file an application.

          There are dozens of companies offering this for different insurance markets; they could have simply contracted out to them.

          1. I agree – even adding things like interacting with the IRS at state levels has been done through TurboTax and others.

            The system wasn’t so complex that it couldn’t have been implemented successfully. The proof is the fact the technology used has been successfully used by dozens of other companies for far more complex things for more than a decade (maybe a little less).

            But it’s government – considering debit cards as a form of payment for almost any good or service at almost every single company has been around for more than 20 years, yet in most government interactions (local/country/state/and fed) you still cannot use it should have been a clue.

            1. You’re reckoning without the federal government’s own special concept of value-added. They had an opportunity to pack decades of statist fever dreams into one giant law that would usher in their new Utopia. Hubris and overreach are simply what they do.

            2. The ACA website has to interface with a variety of sensitive databases such as the IRS, Social Security, Homeland Security and others. Does Turbotax interface with the IRS to verify the incomes of other clients? The ACA system does. Data from these sources is suppose to be sacrosanct, and details about individuals is not supposed to be released to third parties.
              I would want thorough testing of these interfaces before launch.
              I’ve heard stories about programmers ripping out and replacing code relatively recently in response to last minute changes in requirements. Modern software development processes are supposed to discover and nail down requirements very early in the development process. When requirements change, their effects must be carefully propagated down through the tree of tasks and sub-tasks, with changes documented all along the way. This process takes time. If requirements change well into the development cycle, delays in completion and delivery should be expected, unless it can be shown that more or harder-working people can meet existing deadlines. But the old adage often holds true: just because one woman can give birth in 9 months doesn’t men that 9 women can give birth in one month.
              It sounds like the developers threw good practice out the window to meet artificial political (and therefore immovable) deadlines.

              I wonder how many lines of code there are in the ACA exchange system. A NYT article says it’s at least 5 million. I bet it’s more.

      3. Five years of construction and a fucking year of testing? I’ve never worked on a project, no matter how complex, that needed that much time.

        Then might I suggest you avoid the aerospace industry like a plague. 5 year development schedules followed by a year of testing is pretty typical. Actually that sounds relatively short by aerospace industry standards.

        1. Obamacare ain’t rocket science.

        2. In aerospace, if code is buggy and fucks up, people die. So of course there is going to be extreme testing and care with development. This is a fucking website that supposedly talks to other websites. It is not even remotely comparable.

          1. Well you could argue that when Obamacare fucks up and people lose their insurance they will also die. EMTALA, I know, I know.

      4. Just take her claim on face value and focus on the fact that Congress wrote and the infinitely brilliant Obama signed into law something that was technically impossible.

        1. “Congress wrote and the infinitely brilliant Obama signed into law something that was technically impossible”

          I am reminded of coaching a nine-year-old girl at Camp Woodward on the uneven bars. She tells me she wants to do a “double cherry drop”. A cherry drop is where you have a kid hang by her knees on the low bar, then after swing a bit, release the bar and land upright on the mat. It’s a way for a kid to get used to being upside down. S I ask her what’s a double cherry drop and she tells me that she wants to do a double flip after releasing the bar, something that infinitely brilliant and technically impossible.

          We are being ruled by a pack of nine-year-old girls.

          1. Dude (Dudette??) ?? A gymnast? Awesome.

            In regular ordinary life pretty much every gymnast/coach I’ve ever known I already knew (ok… that was awkward).

            At any rate, the idea of a double cherry drop (also know as a penny drop) sounds brilliant.

            OK. Carry on.

            1. You ever coach in PA?

      5. These people are incompetent beyond any previous understanding of the word. Thank Jeebus. If they weren’t, they’d be vastly more dangerous than they already are.

        Very import observation. Remember this when those conspiracy nuts talk about the Donkeys using Obumblecare as a stalking horse for single payer. It’s impossible for them to be that clever. I’m sure they saw it as a useful stepping-stone, not a FUBAR scheme that would need immediate replacement. And would Ohumbleone really agree to having his ‘signature’ legislation go up in flames? Don’t forget the ego.

        1. My conspiracy idea was that the ACA was written to squeeze all the profits out of private carriers, driving them out of business and leaving the feds as the only insurer left standing. They didn’t anticipate that creating a FUBAR.

          They might be intelligent enough to concoct a plan like that, just not intelligent enough to carry it out without all kinds of unintended consequences along the way.

    2. “We had two years and almost no testing.”

      A blatant lie (the two years). OCare was passed in March, 2010. By my count, that is three and a half years to work on the HIEs, not two.

      Now, I understand that understanding this involves math, a topic with which Ms. Sebelius appears to be completely unacquainted, but still. . . .

      1. Nope, work could not start on the exchanges until after the regulatory agencies were very close to completing the rule making spawned by the law. Rule making didn’t finish until about a year and a half ago and they actually started work on the exchanges about 2 years ago

        1. Was that a legal limitation? Because it certainly isn’t a technical limitation. They could easily have started working on it before the rules were completed.

          1. Nope, it was a technical limitation. Sure they could have started writing random code based on what they “think” the rules were going to be, maybe even followed a rapid prototyping development model to assist in helping to define some of those rules but in general coding cannot really begin until AFTER requirements are close to finalized.

            Then there is the issue of awarding contracts and hiring teams. Sure Obamacare was passed 3.5 years ago but it is not like there was a preassembled team of several hundred developers and testers sitting around waiting to begin work on it. Just awarding primary and secondary vendor contracts would have taken more than 6 months and another 6 months to organize management structures and appoint management to departments before hiring any coders could begin

            1. 1. Awarding contracts is part of the project cycle.

              2. Coding on things like interfaces to databases could begin without any need to know what the rules were going to be. That can lead to problems, but if its basically just creating libraries of calls, it shouldnt be an issue and would have allowed them to find and/or work out many incongruities between the dbs.

              1. Exactly. Especially #2.

                To the extent that business rulesets are a problem here I suspect it’s because the “rules” are totally batshit insane. With conflicting dependencies, incomprehensible logical conflicts, and long lists of one-off exceptions.

                Which is exactly what one should expect when you task multiple levels of incompetent regulatory agencies to implement a law that was never read.

                Which, of course, is why the federal government should not be permitted do such things.

            2. So you’re saying the regulatory rules are hardwired into the code? If the regulatory agencies change anything, the code needs to be rewritten/changed? If so, that’s another reason the project is doomed.

              As for the contractors, they pre-bid for government projects and have everything in place; they don’t need a year to get started.

              1. “So you’re saying the regulatory rules are hardwired into the code?”

                There was an article I read last year, which I can’t seem to find at the moment, which actually made me wonder if that could be the case.

                And, given how the JavaScript we can see actually is coded, it’s not much of a stretch:


    3. Well, clearly the problem is that they weren’t operating under correct Communist thought. Or so Mao would say. I figure since this is looking more and more like the Great Leap Forward the comparison is apt, and I for one can’t wait for my very own backyard furnace.

  5. Has any reporter dared to ask OGL if anyone has been fired for this FUBAR? If “no one is angrier than me” and plenty of us want dismissals, then he shouldn’t take any offense at such a question.

    1. Is there a project manager?
      Is there a project plan?
      Change process?

      Anything? WTF?

      1. There is all of that. What there isn’t is code.

        1. They admitted there was no UAT, that makes me suspicious of the rest.

        2. I heard that there are 50 million lines of code. It’s just that none of those lines of code actually function with the rest of the code.

          1. That would be absurd. 50 million? That has to be some ridiculous rumor. If there are 50 million lines of code, they’re even more incompetent than we thought before, which is really fucking saying something.

            1. especially considering that recent games with detailed graphics and movement take up less code than this.

              As I said on a previous thread, unless the back-end code is incredibly complex – hooking up to all the different dbs and processing the data – then 50 million lines is an insane number.

            2. Its worse than that. It apparently has 500 million lines of code, with estimates that at least 5 million need to be rewritten.


              1. 500 million is absolutely ridiculous. I’m going to chalk a number that stupid up to the devastating stupidity of journalists who know absolutely nothing about technology. That number literally can’t be.

                1. I’m not a programmer but regardless the number, it’s not likely that buggy code is in its own little area and highlighted. Before you rewrite anything, you first find the bad code, right?

                  1. No, that number is literally insane. Windows XP is thought to have approximately 45 million lines of code. That’s an entire operating system with tons and tons of “add-on” applications included. A fucking exchange has 10 times as many lines? It’s insane. It’s either a completely wrong number, or the people who wrote this shit are so terrible that they should never be allowed to program a single line of code again.

                    1. I trust your opinion, but the 500 mil line has stuck and is appearing in multiple sources. No one has denied it yet.

                      A tech CEO basically agreed with your assessment, but didn’t think it was impossible.

                    2. Well, the news is 5M lines of code need to be fixed out of 500M lines of code.

                      I interpret that to mean they are counting every live of code in every government system that has to connect in anyway to the health exchange.

                      So it is a very misleading claim. But in reality, it reflects chasing a bunch of needles in a bunch of haystacks to make the whole fucking thing work properly.

                    3. You’re an incurable optimist.

                    4. I could probably write an excel spreadsheet to do the same thing. Start with an efficient interface then add complexities of pulling data from various remote databases.

                  2. Finding the bad code will be easy because it’ll be the only code in there that’s racist.

                    1. “Finding the bad code will be easy because it’ll be the only code in there that’s racist.”

                      Are the programmers racist against the zeroes, or the ones?

                      Like they say, there are 10 kinds of people in the world – those who can count in binary, and those who can’t.

                    2. Are the programmers racist against the zeroes, or the ones?



                    3. Are the programmers racist against the zeroes, or the ones?


                      Then shouldn’t that question be re coded as …racist against zeroes XOR ones…?

                  3. Before you rewrite anything, you first find the bad code, right?

                    I’ve said this once already and I think it’s worth repeating. If you put some competent developers on this, they’re more than likely to tell you that it’s a complete re-write. I’ve been there enough times, it is simply not worth trying to fix a system that is that fucked up. You’re much better off to just start over.

                    1. If you put some competent developers on this, they’re more than likely to tell you that it’s a complete re-write. I’ve been there enough times, it is simply not worth trying to fix a system that is that fucked up. You’re much better off to just start over.

                      I dont even need to see the current code base to know this is true.

                    2. You’re much better off to just start over.

                      Agreed – when you have 500 million lines instead of 5 million, the solution isn’t to fix 5 million you think are wrong, but rebuild with 5 million lines being a goal (though it would take real designers to see constraints as opportunities).

                2. I don’t know Epi. With most cars today going over 100 million LOC this could be true.

                  1. Yeah, sorry, Alex, but I don’t care what some mongoloid journalist says. They are so utterly uniformed and ignorant that the more technological the subject they cover, the more they should be ignored.

                    I’m going to need a developer from the team that made the software for the car itself to explain to me how there are 100 million lines of code before I even start to believe it.

              2. That’s what happens when you compensate based on the size of the program.

                Oh, and also when you and your developers are totally incompetent.

                1. This would not be the first time the government has contracted to have an application written and the contract was paid based on the number of lines of code.

                  I’m familiar with a simulation program that was ‘EXHAUSTIVELY’ commented [basically coders were cutting and pasting pages of instructions, requirements, recipes, stopies and what-not in the code]. They’d also write the code in the longest form possible to pad the paycheck.

              3. BOOOOLLLSHIIIITTT

            3. They use line continuation liberally.

            4. They use line continuation liberally.

              1. So do the SKWIRRELZ.

              2. T;
                line continuation;

                Probably paid per line the first time and by bug fix the second time.

            5. It’s totally absurd. I don’t know where that number came from, but that’s what was being tossed around.

            6. Well congress did the hard part by making a law – there was probably a requirement for 2KLOCs per line of text in the law. That makes sense /congress

          2. I have an image of a government IT worker asleep on the enter key.

          3. 500 million lines of code . . 5 million need to be rewritten.

            That’s the starting point in the blame game.

            1. The the other 450M lines can just be deleted.

            2. If there are really 500 million lines of code, what that likely would indicate is that there is NO reusable code in the system. It would be like they don’t know how to write classes, generic functions, or stored procedures. And seeing some of the code that I’ve seen written by old school programmers, I can believe that might be true. But I am still not buying 500 million lines of code. Someone pulled that number out of their ass to make it sound like the system is much more complex than it is, and use it as an excuse. I’m not buying it.

          4. I’ll give you all a concrete data point for some sense of comparison.

            Our last video game (a large-scale open world title), which ran on three platforms (PC, PS3, Xbox360), is about 800K lines of code.

            This counts just the game+engine, and not the offline tools we use to wrangle data, some third-party libraries I don’t have source for, etc.

            So, yeah… 500M is either wildly inaccurate, or, even if it is within an order of magnitude to the truth, is a clusterfuck of unimaginable proportions.

            1. Given that they don’t worry about billions wasted on the Solyndras of the world, the trillions borrowed, the millions on disability, and the thousands of civilians killed by drones, I’m guessing they just pulled millions out of their ass and it’s closer to 500 thousand.

              They are math-challenged.

  6. It is looking more and more as if Obama was hoping the so-called “shutdown” would last longer than it did, the better to provide an excuse for postponing the “full” Obamacare rollout, to provide an Obamacare-based reason for Demos to whip up the crowds to demand an end to the shutdown, and to provide an opportunity for Obama to spank Congress in public while he and his minions scrambled in secret to shore up Obamacare before the shutdown was over. But of course, given the information now coming out about the Obamacare development and testing process, the shutdown could have lasted a full year and we might easily still be reading the same unflattering headlines. These guys are clueless.

    1. I bet he tries to “exchange” a temporary suspension of the individual mandate for some sort of spending/debt/tax increase. If the GOP were smart, they’d laugh and say no, but they’re often not very smart.

      1. Republicans should extract an enormous price for any suspensions or delays. But they won’t, because Obama will assert that the executive has the scope to make whatever changes he feels like. And nothing else will happen.

        1. They need to sue him on this and claim standing as the legislative branch.

          1. Agreed – but they haven’t yet.

            Wasn’t there one point where Republicans tried to pass a law delaying pieces of Obamacare which Obama had already publicly said would be delayed only to be told by the administration that it’s not needed because they are simply going to ignore the law as written?

        2. Obama will unilaterally decide to delay it without asking Congress despite what the law says. And no one will be granted legal standing to challenge it.

  7. They are too cool to test anywhere but production…

    1. And they’re essentially bungee cord manufacturers.

  8. The technical problems are probably fixable, eventually.

    I doubt that. This system has to interface with multiple insurance companies and multiple government agencies. They can fix it so that it won’t crash when one of those backend queries doesn’t go through, but they’ll never fix the problem with the interfaces not working. That problem will require vast agencies like the IRS, who already have something like 9 different computer systems that can’t talk to one another, to straighten out their systems first. It’s just never ever gonna happen.

    1. Consumers are so patient, too, with systems that crash, involve long wait times and lost data, and are chock-full of potential security holes.

      1. Wow, that could get ugly.

        Well, it might if any of us actually had a choice.

    2. I think I see a Krugnuts article telling us how good this effort to standardize all these disparate computer systems will be for economic growth. Couple that with a few broken windows and we should resolve both our deficit spending and our debt problem in no time.

      1. Here’s a brain-dead apologia:
        “Just temporarily lost in the woods”
        “I’m not sure why anyone is surprised at the less-than-adequate performance of HealthCare.gov,”
        That’s because he’s an ignorant asshole, but hey…

        1. Yeah sure. Now that it is all falling apart let us pretend we expected it to do just that..

          Reality will never be allowed to intrude on these people’s fantasies…

    3. Sure you can fix it. You just put up a front end where the user registers and then it prints out a form on a laser printer which is grabbed by a ‘runner’. The “runner” takes the form to a vast typing pool of people, each who has access to a specific back-end computer system.

      That paper is then manually entered into the appropriate computer system for how the user entered his answers on the web form.

      Think of how many jobs that type of system would create?

      1. [Cue the music from the scene in “Brazil” which shows paperwork being carted around to various people using data entry terminals]

        1. You joke, Tonio, but Paul is absolutely right. They seriously might do something like he describes in order to make this “work”. They’re that fucking pathetically incompetent.

          1. If the system were that broken, with that many computer systems with that many broken interfaces, this is exactly how I’d suggest doing it until they could get the actual technology working.

            It worked in World War II, it can work again. Their only other choice is, as stated in the post, shut the whole goddamned thing down and call it a mulligan.

          2. Not joking, bro. This is life imitating art.

              1. Force people to use carbon paper on their applications!

          3. Except for one thing: that costs money. To our astonishment, the GOP has already refused to augment the funds for Obamacare, which caused Sebelius to shake down large corporations.

            I don’t know whom the Odministration can squeeze next. The GOP is actually protecting the taxpayers for a wonder, the big corporations have been hit up once, the unions hate the damned law. If this thing goes to paper we’re talking about building rentals, supplies purchases, massive hiring — all within federal procurement guidelines. No, I don’t see it happening. Not because it’s Brazilian, Kafkaesque, or Orwellian — those things never stopped the Odministration — but because the irresistible force of Obama’s will cannot overcome the immovable object of reality.

      2. Don’t forget – the form will need to be copied in triplicate for each agency so carbon paper and typewriters will be necessary. Hopefully, a fly won’t land on the key and turn ‘Tuttle’ into ‘Buttle’.

        1. If the EPA, the IRS, the FDA, the USDA and the Consumer Protection Agency can have their own SWAT teams, why can’t the Department of Health and Human Services have one?

          1. They’ll get one soon, I’m sure. You know, to protect against people going postal when they see their bills.

        2. the form will need to be copied in triplicate

          So… one worker to recite it to three others who type it in. That’s four high-paying jobs created and no need to purchase carbon paper.

          1. And not increasing the carbon footprint!

            1. It will also provide a great opportunity for a foreigner with a thick accent and dysphonia to have meaningful work!

      3. I know you meant this as reductio ad absurdum, but this is almost exactly the process the Maryland State Police use to do background checks for handgun purchases.

    4. After hearing that Obama is bringing in ‘scholars’ to help fix the issue, it is definitely looking like it will never be fixed.

      People like this president will go to their deathbed believing that their failed ideas are still workable, if only they had just one more chance, just a little more time.

      1. Like something out of an Ayn Rand novel, but more Kafkaesque.

    5. If there were problems with communicating with the multiple databases, they could have still rolled out a working website that registers your user name and password and collects your info. But most users can’t even do that. They can’t even get onto the site. Who the hell designed this thing?

      1. They didn’t spend much time worry about scalability. And all those other agency servers they have to connect to weren’t designed to scale either. They will never fix this.

        1. Agreed Mad Scientist. But they will never admit that either. They will piss away a ton of money and time, then blame republicans, tea partiers, Libreterians, and probably even Santa Clause for it.

      2. and now John McAfee claims that this system is a “hacker’s wet dream” being quite easy for them to create spoof sites to collect people’s social security numbers, birth dates and income info http://dailycaller.com/2013/10…..z2gmX8k0xW

    6. It doesn’t have to interface with anybody. It’s a market place. Vendors offer their wares and customers order them. If vendors want to sell there, they can list their products like they are doing anywhere else.

      And it doesn’t have to interface with the IRS or other government systems. The exchanges can take the information from applicants, select the correct product, and the insurance companies at the back end verify the data on the application.

  9. So despite repeated promises from multiple senior members of the administration that the federal exchange system was on track, on time, and would work, it’s now clear that not only does the system not work, it never worked?not even in testing. And the workarounds they’ve proposed aren’t going to work either.

    I imagine working for these people would be like the worst corporate experience you could conjure.

    Take your worst… your worst managers you’ve ever worked for/with and condense them into pure, concentrated bravado mixed with equal parts incompetence, and I think you’ve got your picture.

    You know people working on this system knew the issues, you knew they repeated their warnings in meetings, and you know that top officials gave stern warnings and speeches about ‘negativity’ and ‘leadership’.

    Then, when the managers met separately and with each other, it was probably a positivity circle jerk where they talked about synergies and going-forward strategies. Lots of smiles and chirpy utterances of “You bet!” along with furious scribbling of notes and head nodding.

    God sometimes these people worse than the old Soviet Union. They’ll lie to each other about their productivity and effectiveness no matter how much damage it does to the system– and no one has the balls to stand athwart the process and yell “stop”. Nope, it’s all “Yes we can!” even while the whole goddamn thing is crashing down around them.

    1. The really sad part about it, is that the entire Obama administration and most of the Dems in congress already know that even if they get the exchanges working flawlessly, this bill is going to hurt far more people than it helps, hurt the economy, and do major damage to the state of the health care industry in the USA. But they don’t care. They don’t give a fuck about people, they only care about themselves and that this is their great achievement. It’s sickening.

      1. The Doctor: Davros… if you had created a virus in your laboratory, something contagious and infectious that killed on contact, a virus that would destroy all other forms of life, would you allow its use?
        Davros: It is an interesting conjecture…
        The Doctor: Would you do it?
        Davros: The only living thing… A microscopic organism reigning supreme… A fascinating idea!…
        The Doctor: But would you do it?
        Davros: Yes… Yes… To hold in my hand, a capsule that contains such power… To know that life and death on such a scale was my choice… To know that the tiny pressure of my thumb – enough to break the glass – would end everything… Yes! I would do it! That power would set me up above the gods!

        Destruction can be a great achievement if one is appropriately sociopathic.

        1. Umm…what’s that exchange from?

          1. Dr. Rand Paul addressing Obama?

          2. It’s from Doctor Who. Davros is the leader of the Daleks, who are pretty much evil incarnate with a permanent warboner.

            1. I’ve always wondered why more libertarians aren’t into Doctor Who. It varies depending on who’s running the show at any given time, but the Doctor has a lot of qualities that libertarians can get behind. Plus, it had this great exchange from the episode The Sunmakers:

              Leela: These “taxes”; they are a sacrifice to the Gods?
              The Doctor: Taxes are much more painful.

          3. Doctor Who. “Genesis of the Daleks,” season 12, Tom Baker era. Davros is the scientist responsible for the creation of the Daleks.

            1. Tom Baker, the one true Doctor. Let the flame commence!

              1. Agree. David Tennant was pretty good, but Tom Baker is the quintessential Doctor.

          4. Genesis Of The Daleks

    2. What they lack in competence they make up for in indifference. The actual managers probably knew it was a disaster, but they can’t be fired, so who cares?

      These are the people who will be managing our medical care, not just a website.

      1. refer back to the Stimulus of IIRC 2009, that calls for electronic medical records, which may or not be a good idea, but now they’re going to federally mandated, and not on your id card that might be lost, but the medical records FOR EVERYONE IN THE US will be stored an a federal government computer, where whichever doctor you go to can access them (when the site is working) and is administered by an expert appointed panel that only needs to inform the public if a critical mass of records are hacked.

    3. I know you’re on to something when I find myself nodding furiously while reading your comment. This is exactly how it all went down. These guys DON’T NEED to understand the issues. They’re LEADERS, TOP MEN. Little matters like building a functioning website or figuring out the accounting are for their technical people. And DAMMIT, those peons better damned well make it work if they know what’s good for them!

    4. at least the Soviets were competent in some areas – well, killing people at a mass scale and making nice tanks.

      1. When it’s “be competent or be purged” you’re gonna try to do a pretty good job.

        Obviously the end result probably won’t be as good as a highly trained professional’s work but it’ll get done one way or another!

        1. There’s the carrot and then there’s the stick. Communism was the stick.

      2. Mathematics. The Soviets were fabulous at mathematics. It was the one area of science that even the Soviets couldn’t manage to politicize. So a lot of very smart people went into it because it was a field where you were safe from being arrested for putting the wrong political thoughts in your work. And since all it requires is a pencil and paper, it was cheap and a way to show the world the prowess of socialism, which the Soviets loved. To this day the Russians dominate the field of mathematics because of the Soviet emphasis on it.

        1. 3 Fields Medals between 1970 and 1990 to the USSR (none before 1970). 5 to Russians since then.

          The fall of communism has actually helped them in the field of mathematics.

          1. Actually 6, I missed one.

          2. But how much of that was due to a lot of work done in the Soviet Union not being released to the outside world? The Soviets kept a lot of science from being scene outside of the USSR in the name of national defense.

            1. Could be. I was agreeing with you, just thought it interesting that it looks even better after the fall.

              But math is different from science, as you said above. So not sure why they wouldnt allow it to be released. I think the biggest issue would be lack of collaboration.

              1. So not sure why they wouldnt allow it to be released.

                The US stealth fighters and bombers were inspired and based on formulas published by a Russian mathematician because the USSR didn’t think they had any military and allowed him to publish internationally.

      3. I dunno Oh Great Ruler of the Wastes…storing the ammo in the hull seems like a pretty serious design flaw. But then again, massed formations were more important than crew survivability…

        1. well they looked nice 😉

      4. They were also pretty good at spying, and reverse engineering technology that was invented in some other place where inventing things was a good way to make money.

  10. Apparently the insurers have until October 31 to withdraw from the exchanges…

    Throw in the “asking Blue Cross not to release numbers”, and I bet there are some frantic meetings going on .

  11. How can she say they had 2 years when the ACA passed in 2010?

    That looks like 3.5 years to me, Kemosabe.

    1. And, of course, they intentionally delayed rulemaking to avoid taking an even bigger bath in the midterms.

      1. I’d forgotten about that. The Democrats and the Administration controlled every single aspect of the development process, from start to end. No excuses.

    2. They didn’t know what was in it until well after it was passed.

    3. How can she say they had 2 years when the ACA passed in 2010?M.u

      What, you expect la Sebelius to do math?

  12. I’m enjoying watching the media finally – finally – work itself into a frenzy over something shitty Obama’s done. It’s not Benghazi, the IRS, the NSA, or Fast and Furious but his signature legislation. That’ll have to do for now.

    1. Don’t hold your breath. The media might crucify Sebelius but even that is a stretch. They are all on the same team, rowing in the same direction. I’ll beleive it when I see it.

  13. I’m stuck between hoping this thing finally hooks up all the different databases between the SSA, IRS, DOJ, etc., because I work in the field of IT security and Identity Theft and this thing is a fountain of job security for me, but also hoping it doesn’t ever work for the same reason, because ID theft sucks for anyone.

    They’ve already had breaches with this system before it went live, but eventually there will be a big data breach and all the pipes this site is connected to will spill their enriched guts across the globe. It will be a BOUNTY of identity thieves.

    1. Going to be really fucking embarrassing when irs_person_w2.csv turns up for sale on an underground site. And ssn_incomes.csv

    2. This, 1000%. There’s going to be an identity theft fiasco so gargantuan it will seem unbelievable. And it’s coming sooner rather than later.

      1. My suggestion to anyone would be stay the fuck away from that thing and pay your penaltax, when they figure out how to collect it.

        1. “when they figure out how to collect it.”

          they already know that…..down to the penny.

          1. Yes, but they need to know who has healthcare and who doesn’t. But I will be the first to admit that when it comes to stealing money, that’s the one thing the government is really good at.

        2. My suggestion to anyone would be stay the fuck away from that thing and pay your penaltax, when they figure out how to collect it.

          Ooooh, Hyperion, you sweet, naive babe in the woods.

          It has been pointed out repeatedly, and observed universally, that the government is fantastically efficient and ruthless when it comes to collecting revenue.

          1. I believe they are more ruthless than efficient at collecting the revenue. It’s the inefficiency that creates extra ruthlessness. and every extra credit or deduction, and additional complexity, is a moral hazard that encourages cheating.

        3. Even staying out of the HIE won’t help you (probably). When the identity thieves crack the HIE, I suspect they will gain access to at least some of the other databases that are connected to it.

          1. ^^this^^

            We’re all compromised. And imagine the mess of trying to deal with the government when reporting identity theft.

            1. Our computers say you are dead citizen so head over into that line there so some LEO can do his target practicing….

              1. Why use “dead” citizens when they already use live ones?

          2. They barely had time to throw this piece of crap together. There’s no way in hell they put any kind of priority on security.

        4. That doesn’t matter.

          All the other databases are connected to this one.

          That means anyone who gets control of it can get any information in the other databases.

          There are a finite number of SSN’s. I’d simply loop ALL possible SSN permutations in sequential order through the linked databases.

          1. There are over a billion possible SSN permutations. Brute force will not help you very much in such a hacking attempt. And the databases being connected doesn’t mean shit. Just because you’ve hacked one part of one website doesn’t mean you’ve gained access to the logins and passwords necessary to connect to other APIs and databases. Hacking a website is much more complicated than that, and what you can get access to is often compartmentalized. You don’t just suddenly have access to all the source code, all the embedded logins and passwords. You often just get file access to some directories.

            1. Yeah. The real threat is insiders.

              1. Yep. It’s a good thing we put the IRS in charge, or I’d worry about that.

            2. This. If the front end systems can’t even connect via designed interfaces to the back end server, a hacker may not be able to either.

              As we like to say in networking, ultimately, every wire is connected to every other wire. It’s how you design the system that keeps the hax0res out.

              As cool as WatchDogs is, it’s no where near reality. And anyway most modern hacking is done by calling up the secretary at the front desk and asking, “What’s your password?” and she gives it to you.

              I prefer the term ‘dumbassed’ instead of ‘hacked’, but there’s dispute on that.

            3. Bet Epi keeps an old 56k modem to exploit forgotten ports just to keep up on what family is saying about him in their e-mails. He’s old school like that.

              1. I thought they just spat at him and yelled what they thought?

        5. Very easy.

          So they can’t use the IRS’s normal collection powers to collect the Penaltax.

          Ok, lets assume your tax liability is $2000 before the Penal tax and $2700 after it. You pay them the $2000 and you’re in the clear right?

          Nope, the IRS rules that taxes recieved will be applied to the Penal tax before being applied to your income tax bill.

          Now you are left with a fully paid Penaltax and an unpaid $700 income tax bill.

          1. They can do that maybe. But the larger problem is how many people don’t obey. If enough people refuse, the IRS is fucked. See e.g. Greece where the whole tax system has collapsed after noncompliance reached the tipping point.

      2. This thing is such a massive clusterfuck that such violations were inevitable. It’s basically a gathering storm of massively increased prices, identity breaches, and penaltax galore while people still can’t get on the exchange.

        I wonder if Obama and his minions realize that this thing is an impending tidal wave over their administration.

        1. I’m sure there are enough people in the administration who are smart enough to know that this whole thing could potentially create irreparable damage to Obama and his “legacy” (whatever the fuck that is supposed to be at this point) but I doubt those people get a chance to stay very long.

          It’s blatantly obvious that if you aren’t blowing smoke up his ass you aren’t working there, period. There are no adults left (if there ever were to begin with) that can say no to him at this point.

          It will be enjoyable to watch the implosion brought about by his incapacity to accept responsibility for anything.

          1. He is the American equivalent of the Soviet era commissar who would take personal note of who within his minions set down first after the applause.

            1. Will there soon be revelations that a cabal of libertarian hackers, conservative wreckers, and Iranian saboteurs were responsible for the system’s failure?

              Complete with show trials, confessions, and public executions?

              It’s not that bad. Really!

          2. That’s what I’m looking forward too. This has been so spectacularly incompetent, such a ridiculous clusterfuck, and this is his signature, legacy law. They have so far utterly and royally fucked up his most “important” legislation to date. Which says to me that this may ruin him, or at least lame duck him so hard that he can’t do anything for the next few years. Here’s hoping!

            (rubs hands gleefully)

            1. You forget that progressives gain gravitas from failure Epi. My fear is this will make Obama insufferable in his narcissism.

              1. You can’t be the Wondrous One and be an utter failure at implementing the Wondrous Healthcare. Yes, TEAM BLUE has a real hard-on for victimology and excuse the hell out of failure (usually blaming it on the other TEAM), but if you can’t deliver a single bit of your promised Wondrous Healthcare, even the retards on your TEAM are going to have a hard time excusing that away.

                Reality is a harsh mistress, even for those who utterly deny reality.

            2. Me too. Some progs are going to want to pronounce this a failure and use its failure to demand single payer. But a lot of more them are so emotionally wedded to Obama they will never admit it is a failure. Ezra Klein wrote a column last week calling the exchanges, not even the whole act, the fuck up that they are, and the comments section was vicious. The fact that Klein is one of the biggest Obama hacks in Washington meant nothing. As soon as he pointed out the obvious, he was part of the vast right wing conspiracy and worse than a Tea Bagger to those people.

              Obamacare is going to be like Vietnam. The Left is going to tear itself apart over this.

              1. He surprised me too with his honest call. Klein likely values his status as being tech savvy as much as he does the signifying value of being on the right TEAM, and one was loosing out to the other like that high school football team in Texas this last weekend. A lot of the 15 to 55 age demographic are in the same bind with this as he was before doing the right thing.

                1. This just in from Ezra Klein, holy shit, something like this if it happens could spark riots:

                  They have to get the backroom fixed before they open the front door. If they open the front door before that back room is fixed, you’ll have a catastrophe. People are going to be signing up and seeing their banks accounts debited multiple times, or their insurance won’t come through.

            3. Wouldn’t it be great if this stupid law actually turned the tide against people thinking the government is a good thing? Just imagine, statists having to swallow their tongues and play along with the state hate.

              If only.

              1. No one believes me Pro. But I honestly think a lot of liberals really thought this would work and are going to be totally disillusioned when it ends in disaster. I think Vietnam is a good analogy. Vietnam, in America at least, was a civil war in the left. It left a lot of committed liberals very disillusioned. It caused them to turn to the new left. Well now the new left has given us this. Where will they turn next?

                1. -But I honestly think a lot of liberals really thought this would work and are going to be totally disillusioned when it ends in disaster.

                  I doubt that many supporters gave much thought to this program ‘working.’ More likely it was, as usual, ‘people suffering’ + ‘DO SOMETHING!’ with the details being unimportant. If the DO SOMETHING! does not work it will not be a cause for reflection but instead used to DO SOMETHING MORE!

                  1. doubt that many supporters gave much thought to this program ‘working.’

                    That is not true. They are not that simple minded. They believed the sales pitch. They expected this thing to work, for people to get insurance, and for health care costs to go down. At the very least they didn’t think it was going to make things worse. Even the ones who pine for single payer thought this was a positive step towards that. I haven’t met a single Obama supporter, and I know a lot of them, who thought this was going to be anything but a success. Whoever in the conspiracy that created this thing to fail so we could get single payer is, I haven’t met them.

                    1. I agree with much of what you say, but I bet most big supporters of the ACA have little idea about how it was supposed to ‘work’ even in theory. Most that I know do not even pretend to know. They just thought poor sick people would get free health care, or better yet that there would be a law somewhere that could be pointed to that says they would.

                    2. No question Bo, they had no idea about the details or how the law actually was supposed to work. But they had faith, and it was just that, that it would work because they believe in Obama and believe in government. The fact that it is going so badly is shaking that faith a bit.

                    3. As God is my witness, I believed this turkey would fly.

                    4. +1000 Homple. I will have a vision of the Black Jesus saying that at a press conference for the rest of the day.

                    5. Les Nessman: The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!

                      The horror! The horror!

                    6. Do not fail to realize how uneducated and flat out stupid most ACA supporters are (this actually applies to a large portion of the population, especially the anti-business crowd). Their comprehension of even the most basic business practices is nonexistent. They don’t understand margins, operating costs, anything. They live in a fantasy world where shit like insurance or iPhones happen magically. They are really that simple-minded and ignorant.

                    7. They don’t understand margins, operating costs, anything

                      Some do. But even they think that such concepts don’t apply to government. What I find most shocking about Progs is not that they don’t understand the private sector, but how little they understand about government, the very thing they claim to be a solution to everything. They really have no idea how wasteful and inefficient, government by its very nature is. And they have no idea how things are actually done in government.

                    8. Never forget that half the people have below median intelligence.

                    9. I’m actually curious to see what the result of all of this is on their mindset. Will they turn more towards reality? Seems unlikely.

                      What I think will happen is that the marginal middle will finally get the message, and that the economically conservatives among the Democrats (which remains a significant number) will either skip a vote or two or vote another way.

                      Problem for us is that the GOP even today only has a loud limited government minority. Unless that changes, don’t look for any big fixes, which means we’ll be right back where we are now.

                    10. The other problem Pro is that the Dems being completely insane makes it very hard to fix the GOP. If we could just get the Dems to come back to reality a bit where putting them in office doesn’t result in real disaster, then can really hold the GOP to the line.

                      We were arguing about the VA governor’s race yesterday. If the Dems were running an even remotely competent and honest candidate instead of Terry McCulluffe, the “vote Libertarian and punish the GOP” side would carry the day by any reasonable standard. But when the Dems are running someone totally insane and vile, it gets very hard to punish the GOP even when they do run a candidate who is pretty idiotic themselves.

                      It sounds counter intuitive. But I really think the Dem party needs to be brought back to reality before you can really fix the GOP, which probably means we are screwed.

                    11. but how many of those people who thought it would succeed can describe to you how it works?

                      It was sold as “health care for everyone” and passed as “buy health insurance or pay a penaltax”

                2. No one believes me Pro. But I honestly think a lot of liberals really thought this would work and are going to be totally disillusioned when it ends in disaster.

                  No one believes you because A: we’re pessimists and B: We’ve got history on our side.

                  If California can be California and see an INCREASE in progressive politicians being elected then (as I’ve said for years) there is no “a ha!” moment.

                  It’s just the republican obstructionists fault, it’s the teabaggers, it’s consumer capitalism it’s [fill in your progressive bogeyman here] fault.

                  1. California is a self segregated prog enclave. Since people can easily leave, the mushy middle got up and left. People can’t leave the country as a whole quite as easily.

                    1. California is a self segregated prog enclave.

                      California was just my one small example. I still contend there’s almost never an “a ha!” moment that makes people swing glibertarian.

                  2. B: We’ve got history on our side.

                    Like the late 1970s when liberalism fell on its ass and that ushured in an age of full on socialism leading to communism. I remember that.

                    No one believes me because the people on this site have a religious faith they are smarter than everyone else. And that requires believing everyone else is stupid. I don’t buy it.

                    1. Like the late 1970s when liberalism fell on its ass and that ushured in an age of full on socialism leading to communism. I remember that.

                      What eastern Europe was shrugging off was the oppression, they weren’t necessarily shrugging on full on capitalism.

                      After the predicted great recession, France elected a what into office?

                      No one believes me because the people on this site have a religious faith they are smarter than everyone else. And that requires believing everyone else is stupid.

                      No, we don’t, John, we just don’t think that Romney can win in 2012.

                      Don’t get confused between our skepticism that this is the straw that will break the camel’s back, and support for the camel.

                    2. Don’t get confused between our skepticism that this is the straw that will break the camel’s back, and support for the camel.

                      If you think people will interpret the failure of Obamacare as the result of the failure of capitalism and not of government, you think people are stupid and will believe stupid things. There is no getting around that. Maybe you are right. But don’t pretend you are not betting on people being stupid. That is not a straw man, it is what you think. Be honest and admit it. Do you think believing the failure of Obamacare justifies socialism is smart?

                    3. If you think people will interpret the failure of Obamacare as the result of the failure of capitalism and not of government, you think people are stupid and will believe stupid things. There is no getting around that. Maybe you are right. But don’t pretend you are not betting on people being stupid.

                      Wait, you mean like these people?

                      Maher: “The Problem With Obamacare Isn’t Too Much Socialism, It’s Still Too Much Capitalism”

                      Ok, I guess you’re right. I take back everything I said. I don’t have that much faith in my fellow voters, John.

                3. Where will they turn next?

                  Queen Hillary.

                  Just slightly kidding – a ‘benevolent despot’ follows anarchy. In the Donkeys eyes this is anarchy, not policy failure. Don’t forget the debt is about to explode when interest rates shoot up as well.

                  1. Queen Hillary is no joke. She has an easy job before her. “This is what happens when you have an obstructionist Republican party to deal with — you can’t get the ideal results. But now that we’ve all learned that lesson, I’m sure the country will vote to create a system that really does take care of everyone. It’s as simple as expanding Medicare, a proven system that works beautifully for our seniors.”

                    1. This is what happens when you have an obstructionist Republican party to deal with — you can’t get the ideal results. But now that we’ve all learned that lesson, I’m sure the country will vote to create a system that really does take care of everyone. It’s as simple as expanding Medicare, a proven system that works beautifully for our seniors.”

                      So you think the majority of Americans will believe that but you don’t think the majority of Americans are stupid?

                      Yeah Paul it is a real strawman I have here.

      3. I used to think that this would be a gargantuan identity theft project, but I no longer think that. I don’t think it will ever work well enough for anybody to get any data in for anybody else to steal.

        1. The data is already there to steal. It’s in the IRS systems. It’s in the SS systems. It’s in the Medicare systems. It’s in the Medicaid systems. It’s already in all the systems the exchanges need to interface with.

        2. With any data breach the problem is not necessarily the data the original hole revealed, but what other holes the original one created. Connecting IRS data pipes with, well, ANYTHING is never a good idea because the risk factor increases exponentially with every new port connection. And they are trying to connect the IRS and the SSA and a whole host of other sites that already have known data security issues.

          From a security perspective it is a fucking nightmare. I feel bad for the team that is tasked with attempting to build the walls for this thing. It’s an impossible task.

      4. I dunno, the NSA revelations seemed pretty unbelievable. This just seems like a continuation. Maybe the NSA, IRS, and exchanges can all be hooked up together?

    3. Not to mention the backdoor that the NSA assuredly demanded to be put in there. Surely, no hackers are sniffing that out.

  14. My God, it’s full of thermal exhaust ports.

    1. I’m guessing this time the Grand Moff Seebelius will have her shuttle standing by.

      1. Are we having one of Obama’s Jedi mind-melds were classic sci-fi franchises get mixed up?

        If so, I will dispatch Starbuck and a squadron of X-Wings to Arrakis immediately.

        1. “My God, it’s full of” is from 2001.

          1. I know, and he conflated 2001 with Star Wars, hence my question.

            1. Open the pod bay doors Hal.

              Dave’s not here man.

              1. How that’s not circulating on Youtube right now is beyond me. That’s up there with Dr. Zaius doing “Mark Twain Tonight.”

              2. Chewie! Get us out of here!

                Dave’s not here, man.

              3. Chewie! Get us out of here!

                Dave’s not here, man.

                1. Goddam skwirelz.

    2. It’s no bigger than a womp rat king.

  15. “The Obama Administration Never Ran a Complete Test of Obamacare’s Federal Exchanges”

    Why would they…….Good Intentions is all that matters…..Right?

    1. Relax, people.

      It’ll work itself out.

      Medicare works, right? Social Security works, right?*

      Ten years from now everyone will love Obamacare just like they love Medicare and Social Security.

      (*Disregard this comment if the yield on the 10T spikes by a basis point and we lose control of the bond market.)

      Aw, who am I kidding? We’ll just print more and pay with worthless dollars.

      We’ll all have pensions and medical care. Too bad if our pensions are worthless and our medical plans won’t pay for actual treatment. We’ll still have them. Sorta like a gold certificate.

      1. “Medicare works, right? Social Security works, right?”

        Yes, but those programs don’t really strain Government’s competence much. You take money out of one group’s paychecks, and then use it to write checks to another group. Right in the “break things and kill people” wheelhouse of the government. Simple institutionalized theft.

        ACA is different. It is micromanaging an entire industry, 18% of the whole economy. Telling them what products they can sell, where to sell them, what they can contain, how much money they are allowed to make. Telling hospitals to accept a surge of Medicaid patients at the same time they expect to pay for it all by cutting Medicaid reimbursements.

        Even if central planning on this kind of scale was feasible, it can’t possibly work in a politicized environment where every incentive is to sweeten the handouts and hide the confiscations.

        1. Calvin Coolidge would never respond in such a lengthy fashion. ‘Yes, but this is not that’ would be more like it.

          1. I don’t think it’s the real Calvin Coolidge.

        2. And a social security/Medicare system is what Obama really wanted. This may simply be a strategy for him, trying to make any form of private insurance look bad so that a few years from now, he can introduce a tax-based single payer system.

        3. and that will be their logic for single payer

  16. I know this has been said before, but can anyone even really imagine what would be going on now if this thing had been passed on a purely partisan basis by Republicans and enacted under a Republican President? Can you even imagine the media right now?

    1. While I’m no fan of Mitt Romney, I bet he and the staff he assembled would not have fucked it up like this.

      I don’t recall hearing anything like this when the exchanges were launched in MA.

      1. “While I’m no fan of Mitt Romney, I bet he and the staff he assembled would not have fucked it up like this.”

        Given that his campaigns Project Orca “get out the vote” tool failed on election day, I doubt it.

        1. Ironically, Obama’s Project Narwahl tool was a reported success. Incentives, how do those work?

          1. Having the assistance of the NSA didn’t exactly hurt.

    2. We could trade drones to Thailand for affordable dental care.

  17. Are we entering an era of autonomous Cloward-Piven effect or is it sort of a Moore’s Law of gov’t program failure?

    1. The proglodytes really believe that their ideas will lead us into a new golden age.

      For some reason, I fear that the golden age will resemble the effects of a Cloward-Piven.

  18. my buddy’s step-sister makes ==$82== an hour on the computer. She has been laid off for ==8== months but last month her payment was ==$19918== just working on the computer for a few hours. Here’s the site to read more

    1. Spam site is more user friendly than Obamacare.

      1. You need to sugarcoat that for the Obamabots.

      2. bet it didn’t cost $400 million to build

  19. my buddy’s step-sister makes ==$82== an hour on the computer. She has been laid off for ==8== months but last month her payment was ==$19918== just working on the computer for a few hours. Here’s the site to read more

  20. HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!! *inhales deeply* BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!11!!!!!11!!

  21. Obama and most of his cult followers can never and will never admit this thing is a failure. I don’t care if they really could get single payer by saying so. Obama has never had to admit failure in his life. He is not about to start now. Forget about a strategic retreat. They are going to die on this hill.

    1. For a good laugh, just take a look at the Being Liberal Facebook page.

      The posters there are hardcore Obama cultists that put the Maoists to shame. Perusing their timeline they only mention Obamacare a few times, once to quote a software engineer who made a lame dig about ‘Obamacare still working more than the GOP’ and twice to point out that the phones apparently work.

      1. Read the comments to the Klein column about the exchanges. They are vicious. I almost felt back for the douche bag. They are not taking this well.

        1. I seem to have used up my monthly or whatever quota of WaPo, I guess due to excessive schadenfreuding at Wonkblog. Oh well, that’s a quick high but very addictive and anti-productive in the long term.

      2. The Being Liberal Facebook page is really pretty pathetic.

        There’s far more hate and envy expressed on that page than advocacy of the liberal agenda.

        Most Maoist era expressions were more uplifting than anything on the Being Liberal Facebook page. They were bullshit because the regime was not really sweetness and light but, except for some anti-KMT stuff, they generally did not spew the hate found at Being Liberal. The Being Liberal page reminds me more of Julius Streicher’s Der St?rmer. (I claim exemption from Godwin since I’m only comparing two totalitarian regimes rather than initiating an authentic Godwin.)

  22. I haven’t read all the comments, but add arrogance to the list of why this thing crashed. This administration believes its own hype.

    1. There is a book to be written on management dysfunction using this as a case study. Arrogance is part of it. Group think and cult of personality are parts as well. I would imagine that bad news is not something Obama likes to hear. So no one ever stood up and said “hey this is not going to work”. They just kept saying what their bosses wanted to hear. It also is an example of the effects of a disengaged leader. Siblius can’t force the IRS to play with her network builders. Sibilius doesn’t have the authority to pull the plug on this and delay it or go out and lower expectations. Only Obama can do that. But he is so disengaged from his job, he wasn’t around to do that or give Sibelius any top cover to do her job.

      1. There is a book to be written

        I was thinking the same thing, I would enjoy the hell out of reading that. Obviously the “management dysfunction” here would be more like “government management dysfunction”, but either way, it would be a great read. I really hope someone deep enough into the project to know the juicy details decides to cash in.

        1. Big corporations have fucked up things this badly. The pitfalls of large organizations and bureaucracies are not limited to government. Someone thought new Coke or the Edsel was a good idea. The dynamics of big projects and especially big projects that end in spectacular failure are really fascinating. And the failures are usually of the same kind whether it be government, military or private sector.

          1. They actually tested the hell out of New Coke, and it tested much better than “Classic”. They had been losing market share to Pepsi, and were worried.

            The thing is, that was a fuck up that worked in their favor, since they got a lot of people worked up about and interested in their product. After the re-introduction of “Classic” Coke, Pepsi never regained the market share they had right before New Coke was introduced.

            Of course, being able to admit you’re wrong and taking intelligent steps to fix things is way beyond the capacity of this administration. Hopefully, we can get “classic” healthcare in 2016.

          2. I agree, they have, and I’ve worked for companies big enough to fuck up some pretty major projects, although I haven’t worked for any government entity of any scale. What I would expect to see is mostly those same common failures and root causes taken to extremes that would be pretty rare in commercial enterprise. Yes, bureaucracies absolutely can and do provide insulation from common sense and from the repercussions of incredibly stupid decisions — but I suspect rarely to the same degree as this project probably did.

            Are you listening, obamacare team leakers and ghost writers? I want this book out in time for holiday shopping!

          3. “Big corporations have fucked up things this badly.”

            Yes. They do. And they either correct or cease to be big corporations. That doesn’t necessarily make things any better for those affected by the fuck ups. But it does mean fuck ups don’t get magnified in ever increasing proportions.

          4. When big corporations fuck up like this, they are at risk of going out of business. (Unless, of course, government bails them out with our tax dollars.) That’s why they and their employers are at least materially motivated to avoid it.

            To Obama, this is merely an ego trip, and to his employees, it doesn’t matter since they’ll get paid anyway.

        2. Anyone ever read about the rise and fall of John Delorean? That was a hell of a book — actually two books. Another historical debacle that spawned books was the OJ trial.

          The debacle of Obamacare will probably revive a few struggling imprints. No one with a story to tell is gonna let that gravy train pass them by.

  23. Does anyone else see an opportunity for Apple to roll out iHealth and take over yet another industry?

    1. No. Very big players like Google and MS have already nibbled around the edges of consumer-level healthcare data management a bit, and wisely decided to seek other opportunities.

  24. The important point is, the entire debacle — the lies, the failure to follow even the most rudimentary practices that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE in the industry knows, the refusal to admit that it wasn’t all “on track” until it was apparent to the entire world — NONE of those things reflect AT ALL on how the overall obamacare program will operate. You can’t extrapolate anything at all from this experience. You just can’t.

    1. The psychology of “never hold anyone accountable for anything except going against the party” works great in politics. But it is a disaster in government or any sort of project management. Progs expect government to work. But they have given up on the idea of accountability for anyone but their enemies.

    2. Posted this above:
      “I’m not sure why anyone is surprised at the less-than-adequate performance of HealthCare.gov,”
      See, it was EXPECTED to be fucked up by lefties and why didn’t everybody else know this?

      1. And besides, it’s the House of Representatives that control the power of the purse. If those OBSTUKSHUNIST TEATHUGLIBAGGERKKKANZ had appropriated more money for Obamacare development, it would have worked fine.

        If they haven’t yet, it won’t be long until some leftwat throws out this excuse/ talking point.

  25. and it just gets better. the prices you get on the exchanges aren’t even real. they’re lowballs. where is the useless CFPB?


    1. Bait and switch? By that lying bastard Obama?

    2. I saw that also, earlier today. So basically, what it sounds like is that you have people trying to sign up and they are going to get a surprise when their insurance bill is double what they thought it would be.

      1. At what point is it a contract?

        1. When you were born, bucco.

        2. HAHAHAHA! That’s a good one.

        3. Healthcare.gov requires an electronic signature before it will provide any information. The website does not indicate what that signature attests to or agrees to.

    3. remember how it was vitally important that the CFPB was independent of Congress so it would have the balls to protect Americans from financial scams? me neither.

  26. Fast, good, cheap. Pick zero.

  27. Here’s the actual situation: The Affordable Care Act is a good thing. It was always going to be difficult in the startup phase.

    1. Sarcasm or grade C turd polishing?

  28. It’s a big government bureaucracy, is all. If there were another way to deliver universal health care, someone would have tried that.

    1. I have nothing to say to you.

      1. Are you talking to yourself?

        1. Nope, pancakes.

  29. All federal code is open source with available (for download) repositories, right?


  30. I just keep hearing Uncle Joe saying “This is a big fucking deal!”

    1. You know, I think you have it! Why didn’t anyone in the Obama admin think of it? They can trot out uncle Joe to talk to people about the website!

  31. The online insurance marketplace needed five years of construction and a year of testing, [Sebelius] said: “We had two years and almost no testing.”

    Wait. So SEBELIUS is ONLY NOW saying “We didn’t do enough testing.”

    Like she didn’t KNOW THAT before the launch? WTF?

    She’s basically admitting that they weren’t ready to launch and she knew it, and they launched anyway. And she kept her mouth shut about it until after it turned into a complete disaster.

    1. They thought that Obamas magical aura would make it work no matter how fucked up the code was.

  32. to quote the great Bernie Shaw, this is going to be a fucking disaster.

    1. FTW! That can’t be true, it is beyond parody…

      1. “This is bulls**t,” proclaims freelance writer Dashiell Bennett. “I haven’t had sex with a donkey in years. And even then, I never got caught. There’s no way I should be on that list.”

        1. the fact that you could read and think it was real until that quote is damning.

          1. I didn’t read it before the first comment, just clicked the link and thought, it can’t be true. Then I read it.

            1. “””The Republicans may be crazy,” agrees Tamara Russell, a substitute kindergarten teacher from Eugene, Oregon. “But at least they don’t publicly call you a necrophiliac on the Internet. This is so wrong.””””

              Do we feel better about kindergarten teachers fucking dead people when its not as public? We might. But that’s got to be the best GOP endorsement I’ve ever seen.

      2. Ha, check out the commenter on this article, who actually believed Assad wrote it. You can bring up all of a person’s comments by clicking their name, and scanning over a few, it’s pretty clear the guy was dead serious.

    2. ObamaCare is an inappropriate subject to parody or satire.

      The true stories are so incredibly stupid that any negative story is believable, no matter how absurd.

  33. I don’t think the problems are going away any time soon. Once a system like this is launched, and all the stakeholders are getting humiliated DAILY, the pressure on the development people to JUST FIX IT gets extreme. And one of the laws of software development is that developers do extremely crappy work under that kind of pressure. They start taking shortcuts like crazy, just to get the heat off and show something, ANYTHING, resembling progress – and those cumulative shortcuts just make the system worse, and worse, and worse. The net productivity of a team working under these circumstances for more than a few weeks is maybe 10-20% of their normal productivity, so take how long the team said it would take to do this right in the first place, and now multiply by 5 to 10. It truly is a death spiral. The only way to manage yourself out of that is to have leadership that is capable of keeping all that pressure at bay, and keeping the teams focused on developing the same way they would develop if someone DIDN’T have a gun to their heads. If this team had that kind of leadership, they wouldn’t be where they are now.

    Either that, or you throw the whole thing out and bring in the “A” team to start from scratch, which seems unlikely to be an option here.


    1. As I mentioned above my experience is all commercial, so maybe the team dynamics play out differently for government and contractors. But I’d still put the over/under on the system reaching anything close to a working level at easily 6-12 months, possibly much more.

      1. I have a lot of experience with government contracts and I can tell you the pressure is even more fierce and even more unreflective. If screaming didn’t make something happen the first time, the solution is to scream louder.

      2. I have a lot of experience with government contracts and I can tell you the pressure is even more fierce and even more unreflective. If screaming didn’t make something happen the first time, the solution is to scream louder.

        1. Squirrel gets the Square!

    2. It sounds like a do over to me. If they bring in a new team, I am sure that’s what they’ll want. No developer wants to sink a bunch of time and their reputation on a bunch of shitty coding.

      I wouldn’t go anyway near that thing, no matter how much they paid me.

      1. I keep asking, where are they gonna get the money for ANY of this? The do-over, the fix, the paper route? The GOP already told them to pound sand which caused Sebelius to hit the road and shake down big companies for “donations.”

      2. I’d love to see what their internal defect metrics look like.

        What are their defect injection and recidivism rates, and whether they even gather those metrics?

        Those 2 values alone can usually tell you whether a code base is salvagable or if it would be cheaper to throw out everything and begin from scratch.

        I don’t know that they are at the point where starting over is called for, the backend code might not be that bad, just incomplete because of lack of time but it is far more likely that they had a poor architecture design, poor coding standards, little to no code review and forced through whatever they could hack together quickly to meet unreasonable deadlines.

  34. Had this been built internally, rather than by a bunch of greedy contractors, none of these problems would have occurred.

    THAT is the correct line.

  35. 500,000,000 loc. lol.



    1. In Obamacare’s case, it’s:

      return -1;

      1. I have a feeling it’s more like:

        try {
        // here, we enroll the people.
        } catch (…) {
        // this should never happen.
        return 0;

  36. Slightly OT: I don’t know how many of you have seen this link before, but now it’s an even more accurate representation of healthcare.gov:


    1. slight OT, has anyone else right-clicked and downloaded the .jpg of “adriana”? That poor woman, whoever she is, will forever be the face of Obamacare and a probable figure in many a parody site for years to come.

      1. Guilty as charged.

  37. Everybody knew that the system was not ready to test. Testing would have been a waste of time and money.

    They had to bring it online to see how it would perform. Kind of like they had to pass the bill before they would know what was in it.

    Faith-based legislation implemented by faith-based engineering. That’s what Hope’n’Change? is all about.

  38. I think this may be strategy. Obama really wants a single payer system, which is much easier to administer. So, he got Obamacare passed, then has it fail, then blames it on the messy market, and eventually proposes a government-run single payer system as the solution. And, frankly, compared to this crap, a completely state run system financed through taxes seems like an improvement. Besides, a tax-financed single payer system can go down the drain together with social security and Medicare.

    1. It will be an improvement. People will be clamoring for single-payer after this mess is hashed out.

      1. a completely state run system financed through taxes seems like an improvement

        It will be an improvement.

        I guess libertarians might as well surrender now since single payer will be the death knell of libertarianism.

  39. Their egotistical character of never being wrong in their eyes, testing would mean they have flaws.
    I really love the new mantra about the failure of the site: “republican sabotage”

  40. Just had on of our local Team Blue overlords (Nolan) interviewed on Minnesota Proletariat Radio. “Someone needs to be fired. Someone high up.” Oddly enough that someone never includes Barry who, “Wasn’t informed about how bad it was.”

    The sad thing is that people will happily accept this firewalling.

    1. …”Oddly enough that someone never includes Barry who, “Wasn’t informed about how bad it was.””

      You know who else was held to be blameless because of those around him.

  41. This is a big F’ing deal.
    – Joe Biden

  42. :-)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

  43. Okay, I’m waiting for the screams that the 15 day shutdown caused all this sh!t. Insert loud liberal BS scream here: __________

  44. Oh, sorry… I forgot to mention: “What the HELL is your definition of a ‘complete test’ for Obamacare… and I assume you mean the website, not the entire program…, right?

    How about, “the HHS did a REALLY crappy job of letting the contracts, trusting the vendors, managing the development and testing phases, etc., etc., etc.”?

  45. my roomate’s mom makes $73 an hour on the computer. She has been unemployed for seven months but last month her pay was $18333 just working on the computer for a few hours. pop over to this website


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