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Government Medicine United States IT Politics

The Billion-Dollar Website 194

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-what-you-paid-for-minus-a-billion-dollars dept.
stoborrobots writes: The Government Accountability Office has investigated the cost blowouts associated with how the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) handled the Healthcare.gov project. It has released a 60-page report entitled Healthcare.gov: Ineffective Planning and Oversight Practices Underscore the Need for Improved Contract Management, with a 5 page summary. The key takeaway messages are:
  • CMS undertook the development of Healthcare.gov and its related systems without effective planning or oversight practices...
  • [The task] was a complex effort with compressed time frames. To be expedient, CMS issued task orders ... when key technical requirements were unknown...
  • CMS identified major performance issues ... but took only limited steps to hold the contractor accountable.
  • CMS awarded a new contract to another firm [and the new contract's cost has doubled] due to changes such as new requirements and other enhancements...
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The Billion-Dollar Website

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  • Technical People (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Friday August 15, 2014 @07:52AM (#47676751) Journal

    Non technical people are not competent to commission technical work from technical people.

    If you (as a government or large company) don't have your own technical people on staff to oversee the process and comprehend or write the specs, you're doomed. The contractors know well how to milk a cash cow, simply by adhering to the specs written by people who don't understand how to write specs.

    • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday August 15, 2014 @07:58AM (#47676783)

      Non technical people are not competent to commission technical work from technical people.

      If you (as a government or large company) don't have your own technical people on staff to oversee the process and comprehend or write the specs, you're doomed. The contractors know well how to milk a cash cow, simply by adhering to the specs written by people who don't understand how to write specs.

      Sadly this is true, but it shouldn't be. Technical people should have the professionalism to analyse requirements and check that the requirements fit the purpose. Unfortunately the way of the world is that technical people would be quickly shuffled out of the way by sales and marketing if they started to reduce revenue by telling a customer what they really wanted instead of what the spec says.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:20AM (#47676867)

        Technical people should have the professionalism to analyse requirements and check that the requirements fit the purpose.

        Typically, they do. However you overlook one key component of this and then dump the blame completely on sales & marketing (not entirely unfair, they are typically huge scumbags). This requirements analysis and design phase costs more money than development. The cost for architecting software is far higher than simply building it. Clients typically do not want to pay for this and assume they know how to do it themselves. This is exactly what happened to healthcare.gov.

        I have seen this happen with both state government and private corporation projects alike. I've never done a federal project, so I can't speak first hand about that, but I know people who have and they report the same is true when working for a federal agency.

        So yes, part of the blame definitely should go to the sales & marketing bastards, but a very large chunk is on the client for not wanting to fork over the cash up front. This almost always results in spending even more cash later on to fix what people think are bugs but are really design failures which result from poor architecture and design processes.

        • by david.emery (127135) on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:34AM (#47676953)

          PLEASE Mod Parent up! I've been working on large government funded systems (defense and commercial) for 35+ years, and in my view programs are screwed from the beginning by overly-aggressive schedules for the up-front work. When the incomplete/absent requirements/architecture/design results in coding, or more often test and integration delays, they'll find more money and time. By then, it's too late.

          Back when we had explicit waterfall milestones (requirements review, preliminary design review, etc), we could tell at PDR a program would fail as a result of incomplete or even incorrect requirements & architecture.

          Unfortunately, the adoption of "Agile" in these organizations has reinforced the culture of "We don't need no stinking requirements! We can draw an architecture on a whiteboard in an afternoon", resulting in systems where you really can't say anything intelligent about how long it will take to complete them, because you have no fscking idea what "complete" actually is.

          And this -should not be a revelation-, at least to anyone who has read "Mythical Man-Month," which will be 40 years old next year. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          Thank God I'm getting ready to retire.

          • Thank God I'm getting ready to retire.

            Stock up on essentials now. Or even sell everything and retire to a warm island. It's only getting worse here.

            • by Bartles (1198017)
              You do realize that Cynthia McKinney was the Green Party nominee in 2008, right? For me, it would take a lot for them to right that wrong and get my consideration again.
              • My proposition isn't about getting what you want, directly. It is about getting the current system of Dem/Rep out of shared power. For that, you need every fringe and near fringe voter to choose against the current system. Take the 20% far left, and the 20% far right, and make them believe they can change Washington politics, and we will see a change in Federal control.

                The two groups aren't aligned on many things, but the issues common to both are privacy rights and government spying, our latest wars, and b

                • by Bartles (1198017)
                  Yeah, that's all great. But they nominated Cynthia McKinney. If it had been David Duke would you be saying the same thing? Ultimately, the candidate matters.
                  • I'd say it unless they nominate Hillary Clinton in 2016. I don't care what the candidate is like personally. I just want to break the deadlock we are living under right now.

                    Besides, it's not like they are going to be able to do anything anyway. Congress certainly isn't going to change enough in one election allow it. But it will eventually change if my split ticket won in 2016. Basically, long term, it is the only hope I see for the country, and it's only a glimmer at that.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by poached (1123673)

            Agile is not about not needing requirements. It's about the fact that any complex project will have requirement changes and the project and the people on the project need to deal with those changes quickly. It's like that saying, "the only constant in the world is change." Rather than avoiding change and try to spec out everything in advance (which cannot be done), embrace it and deal with it so it minimizes disruption.

            There are meetings to gather requirements, but those meetings are two-way; you also prese

            • Kool-aid...

            • Agile is not about not needing requirements. It's about the fact that any complex project will have requirement changes and the project and the people on the project need to deal with those changes quickly. It's like that saying, "the only constant in the world is change." Rather than avoiding change and try to spec out everything in advance (which cannot be done), embrace it and deal with it so it minimizes disruption.

              There are meetings to gather requirements, but those meetings are two-way; you also present and let clients play around with whatever you have and gather feedback and incorporating those feedback into the next iteration. By the time you deliver the product, there shouldn't be any surprises to the client about how the product behaves. Both parties are happy with their experience.

              I know that. You know that. A lot of people (specially people in power do not), which is what the OP was referring to.

          • Re:Technical People (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Dr. Evil (3501) on Friday August 15, 2014 @11:42AM (#47678753)

            Last place I work was run by millenial developers.

            They told me "the code is the documentation".

            I asked them "ok, what are the requirements?"

            They gave me a blank stare.

            "How can we write code until we know what we're trying to accomplish?"

            "You want to write a 300 page Word doc that nobody's going to read?"

            I was at a loss... "no, but a doodle on a napkin might be enough. I need *something*"

            Possibly the most educational 6 months of my life. Didn't accomplish much, everything got thrown out for not fulfilling the non-existent requirements. Despite the maddness, the people were nice. It took a long time for me to really understand what was going on. In the end, I was glad to leave the gig. The company was made of three one-man developer shows who didn't understand that the stuff in the heads of three developers were separate and unrelated requirements documents for separate projects. It was impossible to contribute to any project without reading the mind of the developer.

            They measured their own success in achiving goals after they were accomplished. Which meant that the stars shone, but contributors rarely had successes.

        • Re:Technical People (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2014 @10:17AM (#47677955)

          sales & marketing (not entirely unfair, they are typically huge scumbags)

          I'm a web developer who works in the marketing department of a large organization. The people in my department are smart professionals who are tasked with keeping the organization on-message and professional in its communications with the outside world. This is an immensely difficult herding-cats kind of job because so many different departments and individuals are communicating with the public every day, and many of them do so in a way that unnecessarily casts the organization in a negative light. Sometimes it's just a matter of professionalism (poor grammar/spelling, rudeness, childishness), and other times it's because they're uninformed and telling people things that simply aren't true, which ends up confusing everyone.

          Our department has a broader and deeper understanding of this organization than anyone else here, including the top leadership. We're the ones who have to continuously remind everyone else of the organization's guiding principles and priorities. And every time someone sends out yet another bulk email to 20,000 people in pink Comic Sans containing information that was no longer accurate as of 2007, we're the ones who have to beg them, yet again, to run their communications by us before they send them out. In fact, how about we just start sending your materials out for you? We'd be happy to. No, really, it would be our pleasure.

          Contrary to common opinion, that's what a lot of marketing jobs are really like. Maybe some marketing people are scumbags, but not the ones I work with.

      • Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Bankers without oversight lie and steal. CEOs without oversight lie and steal. Techs without oversight lie and steal. Not everyone will follow this path, but you will always have a few.
      • by LordLucless (582312) on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:55AM (#47677119)

        Sadly this is true, but it shouldn't be. Technical people should have the professionalism to analyse requirements and check that the requirements fit the purpose.

        Most I know do. The problem is that they're not sufficiently expert in the domain (in this case, health care) to determine the purpose, and the purpose the client gave them is wrong.

        Specs aren't just some bureaucratic hoop that needs to be jumped through to get a developer to sit down and code, and they're not something a developer can just wing, and get right anyway, because they already knew what they were and were just being anal about getting you to write down.

        They are important, and if they're not done properly, the dev will likely spend a lot of time doing the wrong thing correctly, and you will be billed for it.

      • Re:Technical People (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:55AM (#47677121)

        Unfortunately the way of the world is that technical people would be quickly shuffled out of the way by sales and marketing if they started to reduce revenue by telling a customer what they really wanted instead of what the spec says.

        Disclaimer: I'm a software engineering contractor that works on contracts for the federal government.

        A solid majority of the contractors (the grunts doing the work) I've worked for/with in my career want to get the job done and do it well. Sales/marketing has a say at contract award and for mods, but during the actual work we rarely, if ever, hear from them or take guidance from them. The people commissioning the work (the government) usually have no clue what they want and, if presented with multiple solutions of varying risk and value, they still have no idea how to make a decision. The most altruistic contractor still, at the end of the day, needs to know loosely what the success criteria are...the government half the time has vehement disagreement about that among themselves and never comes to a unified decision.

        The GAO's report is exemplar of what I've experienced...the government has no clue what requirements are or should be, how to execute, how to manage a contract. My contracts have routinely consisted of us contractors drafting requirements and handing them over to the government, only to have them ask us if they were sufficient and would accomplish the (loosely defined) task, then sign them, hand them off to contracts and they appear on our desk weeks down the line modified by contracts to be 1) more generic, or 2) incorrect. The government oversight at the program manager level is almost entirely a rubber stamping process.

        • by JWW (79176)

          The GAO's report is exemplar of what I've experienced...the government has no clue what requirements are or should be, how to execute, how to manage a contract. My contracts have routinely consisted of us contractors drafting requirements and handing them over to the government, only to have them ask us if they were sufficient and would accomplish the (loosely defined) task, then sign them, hand them off to contracts and they appear on our desk weeks down the line modified by contracts to be 1) more generic, or 2) incorrect. The government oversight at the program manager level is almost entirely a rubber stamping process.

          Exactly. But what I love most about the study is how this ineffective oversight will be solved by ..... MORE oversight!

      • by Wycliffe (116160)

        Sadly this is true, but it shouldn't be. Technical people should have the professionalism to analyse requirements and check that the requirements fit the purpose.

        I have a friend who bids government contracts (highways,schools,sewage plants,etc).
        He says that there is no advantage to fix the contract before the bid because then all the other bidders get those same cost savings.
        Also, you also can't have multiple people bidding and making suggestions on what to change as then you have no way of comparing the resulting bids.
        Likewise, after the bid, you can tell them how to fix it but then you're fighting an uphill battle because you're basically trying to change the cont

      • by Cyberdyne (104305) *

        Technical people should have the professionalism to analyse requirements and check that the requirements fit the purpose. Unfortunately the way of the world is that technical people would be quickly shuffled out of the way by sales and marketing if they started to reduce revenue by telling a customer what they really wanted instead of what the spec says.

        All too true, sadly. Tendering processes seem to exacerbate this: when a government control freak puts out a document announcing that the government is rea

    • Re:Technical People (Score:4, Interesting)

      by BringsApples (3418089) on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:25AM (#47676895)
      Dunno man, I feel what you're saying, and agree. However, a quick look at the site will prove that there's more than just milking a cash-cow going on here. If you check out this page [healthcare.gov] for instance, you'll find that there isn't any information regarding anything at all, just a bunch of random Latin.

      Google translate thinks it's English, but it's Latin. Here's what I found it to mean:

      Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet pretty easy. Unfortunately, lots of orange gear, but every time a commercial truck.
      Gets certain warm-up is a lot of life from which the film's style is. I'd now look at a wide range of law enforcement.
      Residents drink
      Currently, my, lump in the throat, it's the sauce.
      To learn how Warren financing, but the emotional temperature, the element of surprise.
      Tomorrow protein recipes. He was smart, maybe he was always in need of a lake in Japan.
      No matter who or how inexpensive and easy-to-time only. In order that on Monday, but the laughter of a wide range of airline, travel agency employee is the ugly, and not before or it's just the likelihood of the company. In fact, it has been said it is in the interests of the quiver.
      Unfortunately, the keyboard of the United States in the very soft impact.

      So it looks like this page, a page that many would go to looking for advice on what to do since no doctors take medicaid now (Many are no longer accepting obamacare at all), is left blank (feeling that perhaps what's there is some default junk included with whatever web-hosting software they use). Seems like someone would have done something to fix this by now.

      • Re:Technical People (Score:5, Informative)

        by oneandoneis2 (777721) on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:56AM (#47677123) Homepage

        "Lorem ipsum" is industry standard "filler" text for incomplete web pages - typically used to show clients what a page will look like when it has some useful content.

        Not that it isn't appalling that it's appearing on a page in production, but it isn't "random Latin" - there are even browser extensions to make it easy to C&P for you.

        • "Lorem ipsum" is industry standard "filler" text for incomplete web pages

          But it never occurred to me to pop it into Google Translate! Many thanks, BringsApples!

        • by perpenso (1613749)

          Not that it isn't appalling that it's appearing on a page in production ...

          Well the site is not complete, its still under heavy development. Remember that the only part that got "finished" was the sign-up portion.

        • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, no dico autem labore pro. Cu molestie verterem sit, te pri nobis aperiri. Mei et saepe efficiantur. Cu mei liber signiferumque, sed consul delectus no. Et quot cetero ius, eam illud audiam constituto at, cum epicuri definitionem at. Delicata tincidunt definitiones no per, no liber tantas usu, no mel scaevola platonem.

          Mel no nostro aliquip, exerci assentior qui ea, no sententiae philosophia conclusionemque vim. Et pro postea audire appellantur. Eu nonumy qualisque has. Ne habeo iu

      • Page has been taken down.

    • by trout007 (975317)

      Part of the problem is because of how contracts are awarded. A business is allowed to use their brains and not go with the low bidder because they obviously don't understand the job or have a history of being a pain to work with. The government is not allowed to do this. They have to write a perfect requirements document and put out an open request for bids. If anything in the requirements document is not perfect the contractor is legally allowed to mess it up on purpose and charge for fixing it. This type

    • by sunking2 (521698)
      Oh please. It's just another example of fleecing a government contract. This one being a no brainer to do on given it's importance.
    • Non technical people are not competent to commission technical work from technical people.

      If you (as a government or large company) don't have your own technical people on staff to oversee the process and comprehend or write the specs, you're doomed. The contractors know well how to milk a cash cow, simply by adhering to the specs written by people who don't understand how to write specs.

      This is a part of why the government created Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs). DOE created them during WWII because they saw a need for an organization that had more flexibility than the government (they're all privately operated) but would act as an expert exclusively on behalf of the gov't. They get their money entirely from a single agency and most do a combination of direct work ("we'll do it in house") to main expertise and procurement ("we'll spread it around"), recognizing

    • by tomhath (637240)

      It depends on what you mean by "specs". Ideally the organization commissioning the work has subject matter experts who know what they want, but don't try to dictate how to do it. They should have enough technical people on staff or on contract to review the proposed implementation.

      The real problems start when either non-technical people try to do the technical design, or technical people try to guess what the application should do. In the case of healthcare.gov, nobody really know what they wanted. CMS had

  • in other words (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ganjadude (952775) on Friday August 15, 2014 @07:53AM (#47676755) Homepage
    it was a giant clusterfuck like many people on both the left and right were claiming way before launch. the site was NOT ready for prime time (the back end still is not 100%) and it never should have been launched when it was.

    also, water is wet
    • by Bartles (1198017)
      The difference being that the people on the left that recognized it as a giant clusterfuck, still supported it and the politicians that forced it upon us. Authoritarians don't care if their provided services are good or bad.
      • by ganjadude (952775)
        im not sure which is worse, knowing it was bad but still pushing it through, or actually believing it wasnt bad.
    • by NoKaOi (1415755)

      it was a giant clusterfuck...also, water is wet

      Yep. True of any big undertaking when contractors are involved (whether it's government or a large corporation hiring the contractors for a big project). How about this:
      -The defense department undertook the development of F-35 and its related systems without effective planning or oversight practices...
      -[The task] was a complex effort with compressed time frames. To be expedient, DoD issued task orders ... when key technical requirements were unknown...
      -DoD identified major performance issues ... but took

  • I don't work for a company that made the mistake of getting involved in that nightmare.
    • Re:I'm so glad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chrisq (894406) on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:00AM (#47676789)

      I don't work for a company that made the mistake of getting involved in that nightmare.

      I'm pretty sure that a lot of companies are doing just fine out of it - paid to deliver the wrong thing then paid to deliver what the government should have specified in the first place.

      • Re:I'm so glad (Score:5, Insightful)

        by StikyPad (445176) on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:25AM (#47676893) Homepage

        It's actually relatively common for custom software to experience feature and scope creep. The source of creep is split between design by committee and leadership changes. When new leadership comes in, the vision almost always changes, and when new stakeholders are added, they pollute the water with their own special interests.

        It's arguably the role of developers (or at least business analysts) to push back against ridiculous requirements, and some do, but they're not properly incentivized, since they work for the contractor. BAs should be working for the government, not the contractors. Ideally, one person with software development design and management experience and a clear vision should be in charge of the project. Unfortunately, it's almost always someone with more generalized management experience who doesn't know the difference between HTML and CSS, and comes up with new "great ideas" on the fly.

        At any rate, the problem isn't limited to government software -- I've seen the same thing in commercial business software, especially "customizable" software. I'm looking at you, mortgage and scientific industries. We get a little more upset because we fund government software through taxes -- we feel like it's our money -- but we honestly fund almost all poorly designed software, even if it's rolled into our mortgages. It's just less transparent.

  • A group of master thieves with no conscience,

    who are working round the clock to skim money from a project,

    are still unable to run up costs like a government project gone off the rails.

  • by orlanz (882574)

    Somebody had to take the fall, and I guess they found the one group who didn't do the proper amount of CYA. Actually enumerating the failures and irresponsiblities of the various parties involved from the politicians down to the subcontractors... would have been too much work.

    I guess they will just fire 1-2 guys and move the rest to other projects like "Heathcare.gov support" and file this report some where the sun never shines.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:06AM (#47676805) Journal

    The key takeaway from the report is that nobody will be personally held to blame for the incompetence (at best; corruption and nepotism at worst) of the process and end result.

    No punishments or consequences, all around!

    • No punishments or consequences, all around!

      No government worker will be fired, but don't worry, three hundred million people will be collectively punished for it as that billion dollars gets added to the debt and all their cost-of-goods prices go up.

      Sadly, that feedback loop never seems to get closed. Results don't matter - as long as there are promises and intentions, that's good enough for most.

  • better summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:12AM (#47676833)
    Don't hire people who have failed multiple projects in the past just because they were friends of the Obama campaign. At least that's what my finding determined.
  • by thaylin (555395) on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:24AM (#47676885)
    Put the money for the contract, plus 10% into escrow. Every 10% into the projects completion you get 10% of the money. If you cannot complete it for that price, that is on you, not the tax payers, learn to better account for your work. If you can show that it was due to the government itself then that is what the extra 10% is for, if not and you fail the project we still got that amount of work done and can pass it to the next contractor in the bid to start working on. I am so tired of hearing about these massive cost overruns.
    • Re:Why dont we (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ka9dgx (72702) on Friday August 15, 2014 @08:30AM (#47676925) Homepage Journal

      Because 10% of a working system can't be measured. Even a 100% completed to spec system is worthless until it has actually been used for a while... when it will prove to need about 100% more work.

      Most software projects fail, unlike construction, etc... engineering can't be applied.

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      That's pretty much how government contracts work.

      It fails because:
      1) The customer will change their requirements mid-stream, screwing everything up
      2) Even if they don't, in some cases it's discovered once everything is complete that the system which meets all of the customer's requirements is utterly fucking useless in the real world. I believe this was a major role in healthcare.gov's failures - many of its issues were discovered post-launch

    • Then I hope you enjoy your "sports car" that sits 8, has 5 square wheels, no brakes and a 14 HP engine. Built exactly how the client asked for it. Most government RFPs are terrible, written by people in procurement who have no clue what they're asking for. Rarely is there any kind of defined feature set, or schedule, mostly its just a laundry list of things people raised in a couple of committee meeting, with a date some politician wants it by (usually tied to a campaign promise, or event), and a budget tha
  • by Anonymous Coward

    America hired a man to run the country who never even managed a McDonalds.

    Why would they vet their contractors (or contracts) any better?

    • by thrich81 (1357561)

      Well, I've got karma to burn and this AC got modded up to +2 insightful, so look, the argument that the current President and VP have never run/managed "anything" and so are unsuitable for the positions would be valid EXCEPT that the previous President and VP had vast private sector and government managerial experience (or at least they were sold to us that way) and they screwed up running the country at least as badly as the current administration. So, from observation of the actual, real world experience

      • by Bartles (1198017)
        Actually, just about every metric for measuring the economy is far worse now than it was 8 years ago. So no, both administrations aren't equally bad. The one you voted for and support is far worse.
  • Any one else think the article might be about a retina version of:
    http://www.milliondollarhomepa... [milliondol...mepage.com]
  • How many millions did this investigation and report cost?

  • Sounds remarkably like the Myki public transport ticketing system with it's associated blow-out to 1.5 Billion dollars https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] Although arguably Myki downgrade from the previous ticketing system. Clearly, planning and careful tendering and contract wording are vital in these big projects to hold the winning contractor to account, no changing contractors half way through or half arsed planning phase. Maybe it's just my thinking as an engineer, but so often these projects take on
  • by tekrat (242117) on Friday August 15, 2014 @09:16AM (#47677339) Homepage Journal

    Really, we want to complain about a website that cost a Billion? This is the United States Government, full of waste, fraud, no-bid contracts, and shit spread out out over every state so that ever senator and congressman has his slice of the taxpayer slush fund.

    Witness the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an aircraft nobody needs, trying to fill too many roles, and was supposed to save our armed services money by having one plane replace many planes.

    Except it's billions over budget, still doesn't work (and might never work), and is expected to cost more than a Trillion dollars before all is said and done.

    Meanwhile the aircraft is being usurped by drones, which are cheaper, easier to deploy, and may fill all the roles we'd ever need this crazy ass jet for. And we're trying so hard to make it stealthy, meanwhile as pointed out in a slashot article a few weeks back, long wave radar will find the plane just fine.

    And yet the Pentagon continues to shovel more money into the project because -- guess what, there's no "plan B". This is the people we depend upon to strategize for us in times of war, and they have absolutley no fall-back plan. Brilliant.

    • ...Witness the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an aircraft nobody needs, trying to fill too many roles, and was supposed to save our armed services money by having one plane replace many planes...

      I'm not defending the F-35 (I'm a huge A-10 fan, and 2 F-35s would fund the whole A-10 fleet), but your comment here is self-contradictory. Either we don't need it, OR it's trying to fill too many missions (that do need to be done.)

      I think it's the latter, and that's not just requirements creep, but a different phenomenon that is something like "requirements conbinatorics", where too many requirements get loaded onto a system (health care or weapon) and the result is either (a) not buildable as a violation

    • Witness the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an aircraft nobody needs

      Don't play the game, man. Here's who needs it:

      * Politicians, for pork
      * Defense contractors, for "Sweet Jesus we're rolling in dough" money
      * Lobbyists, for a slice of the dough.
      * The Federal Reserve, the monopoly private bank that makes interest on the debt
      * Wall Street bankers, who take a commission on the new debt created.

      If you look at this as corruption instead of a mysterious boondoggle, it makes perfect sense.

      There's absolutely zero chance

  • The worst part is there is no reason why the Obamacare websites even need to exist.

    Obama could have just told everyone to buy their insurance on einsurance.com and to get the subsidies when they filed their 1040.

  • I can't be the only one shocked, SHOCKED to discover, the government is inefficient and wastes money. I mean, after the staggering success of everything else it operates — things like US Postal Service [businessinsider.com] or Amtrak [washingtonpost.com] — it is certainly most disappointing to encounter a government program, that fails to live-up to our high expectations.

    Nay, this may even chill our collective enthusiasm for making food and shelter a government's responsibility too — you can't be healthy without nutrition and a ro

  • It would be nice if someone has a compiled timeline of events starting with extremely uncoordinated writing and passing of the law, to the point where technical specs were released to the contractor, when the actually flow of information and final HHS rules were announced, up through go live and the fixes being implemented after go live.

    From what I've read/heard there was little to no work being done from 2010 when the bill was signed into law up through 2012. The administration purposely withheld informat

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