Obamacare Website Designers Point Fingers at the Government

The main contractors behing HealthCare.gov say the Obama Administration shares some of the blame for the troubled rollout

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The main contractors who designed the glitch-plagued government health care website argue that the Obama administration shares responsibility for problems with the digital rollout.

Executives at CGI Federal, the company that designed HealthCare.gov, and QSSI, which coded the system that verifies applicants’ income and other private details, are scheduled to testify Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, but they’re not waiting for their moment before Congress to try to shift the blame to the Health and Human Services Department.

Andy Slavitt, who represents QSSI’s parent company, told the Associated Press the administration made a late decision to require applicants to create accounts before browsing health plans. That process has been just one of a slew of complaints about the system. Blame game aside, Congress has been taking a hard line against the plague of glitches. Democratic Rep. Richard Nolan of Minnesota said the glitches have damaged the health care law and told the AP the president “needs to man up, find out who was responsible, and fire them.”

11 comments
US1776
US1776

CGI Federal and QSSI should never be issued another government contract involving any type of IT work.


This website was just pathetic.  Even from the page source you could see nothing was optimized.


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grouchyguy48
grouchyguy48

I have been a software developer for almost 30 years.  And something like this happens all of the time, just not so visible.  

My personal feeling is that they were probably using too much Java.  It is the current 'IN' language.  

Unfortunately, it is a performance pig and hell to maintain and modify.

Sit back and relax, everyone.  Don't stroke out until you get your healthcare provided properly.  

In a few months this will be just some old jokes from Leno and Letterman

lalitkkapur
lalitkkapur

I agree that agile technology does not always work - but then the waterfall strategy is very constraining and we need to find a proper balance between the  two divergent approaches.

We at mag-corp dot com have encountered similar issues and have often been scared of loosing the  assignment lest we give a bad news to our customers - but then loosing an assignment is always considered a lesser evil than acquiring a bad name I will have to put the blame wholly on the design consultants in this case

JanetLeClainche
JanetLeClainche

Hmmm, and how many inquiries have their been over the years with such publicity for delayed military products, poor design, late design changes and cost overruns???  This still costs a fraction of some of those programs.  It's just a lot more visible.

reallife
reallife

Naaaaah! say it ain't so!

A monstrosity of a bill, passed in the dark of night, without knowing "what was in it", voted ONLY by the democrats, without support from more than half the country, "somehow" is a failure?

Who would've thunk it!

keep blaming the "IT people"

LOL


j45ashton
j45ashton

This is going to sound too technical for most but the problem stated in this article represents why I have been steadfastly against Agile methodology in requirements phase for large projects like the ACA.

Agile method suggests to the business world that requirements can change while code is being developed.  This is a very attractive proposition.  If we use the analogy of building a house, it's like the builder saying to the customer, 'it doesn't make any difference that we've poured the foundation, you can change what you want at any time.'

This proposition is not true to for basic infrastructure changes on large projects.  Once a coding infrastructure is in place, if the customer comes back with a request that impacts the infrastructure, in many cases the whole code base will have to be redone requiring scads of time to complete.

As IT managers, you can't stop a client from making such requests.  But what you can do as IT managers is tell the business executives what the risks and impacts are.  I have written a few risk & impact memos.  These are never popular.

This is where the whole deal gets hairy & the blame game begins.  I am a big supporter of project charters, written documents  that assign roles & responsibilities, governance & escalation procedures.  This document eliminates most of the problems.  But without it, IT vendor-managers are always afraid of delivering bad news for fear of losing the client.  And business executives often want to avoid responsibility by keeping open the option of blaming vendors for everything.

There's lots of complexity without a project charter & many types of slips that can occur.  Bottom line, all the nonsense that can occur usually leads to two things: failures & difficulties  instead of success.


JohnDavidDeatherage
JohnDavidDeatherage

You can patch bad code, no amount of patching will fix a bad design.

MrObvious
MrObvious

Just get it DONE! Point fingers later and all that. People need healthcare. No one gives a shiat (except 'wingers) who's responsible.

US1776
US1776

@grouchyguy48 Another Java bigot.  Nice.  Java powers a huge amount of enterprise software.  And perhaps you may want to know that Android is powered by Java.  You know, that teeny little smartphone OS.


hejohnson43
hejohnson43

I think they should have taken the restrictions off our old health systam and let it go at that.  Its people like you that have messed up this Country.   They should drop Obama Care because it will not work as intended, or promised.   Was there many people who couldn't get treated before Obama Care?   Check an see who got jobs with CGI?  Then you will know why they got the contract.   The whole bunch should be fined and jailed.   Its a marxist or socialist program, which never worked any where.   Name one country that has National Health Insurance where it worked like promised.   I do give a shiat about who is responsible.   Even the wealthy Canadians would come to this Country for treatments, because of the Canadian Health Care system.