The Administration knew Healthcare.gov would be a disaster
Anyone who tuned into Barack Obama’s weird mixture of infomercial, delusion, and slashing partisan campaign speech yesterday looking for solid information about the failure of ObamaCare’s launch was wasting their time, and should have known they were wasting their time. (It was nothing short of hilarious to hear media predictions that it would be some sort of “mea culpa” speech, in which the Empty Chair took responsibility for something, and was honest about his mistakes, for the first time in his life.) (Commentator Chris Core discussed the mess on WTOP in D.C.)
The full truth will eventually emerge in Congressional hearing chambers, and probably in courtrooms, over the coming months. For now, let’s turn to the Washington Post for an Everlasting Gobstopper of hard truth:
Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.
Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead.
When the Web site went live Oct. 1, it locked up shortly after midnight as about 2,000 users attempted to complete the first step, according to two people familiar with the project.
Dear God. Healthcare.gov crashed under the burden of only a few hundred users, but they launched it anyway, and two thousand connections was enough to kill it. And they’ve been admitting the system was only designed to handle 50,000 users at most, spread across all fifty states, even though it cost half a billion dollars to create, and Obama’s propaganda has stridently insisted there were forty or fifty million uninsured in the country, plus he knew (but lied repeatedly about) the millions more who would lose their existing insurance under his scheme.
We have previously heard reports of insurance industry and tech specialists warning the Administration not to launch its bug-riddled disaster of a website, but the Post takes it up a notch by revealing that a panel of experts tried to slam on the brakes a full month before the system launched:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency in charge of running the health insurance exchange in 36 states, invited about 10 insurers to give advice and help test the Web site.
About a month before the exchange opened, this testing group urged agency officials not to launch it nationwide because it was still riddled with problems, according to an insurance IT executive who was close to the rollout.
“Houston, we have red lights across the board, we are hearing no-go from ten different engineers, recommend we scrub the launch.”
“Screw it, launch anyway!”
The Post humorously describes Obama’s loony press conference as “a consumer-friendly defense of the health care law.” Rubbish. It was a desperate hard-Left politician appropriating the language of capitalism to conceal another failure of authoritarian anti-capitalism. Obama drops language about shops full of goods, cash registers, cell-phone bills, and “products” without a shred of their honest meaning. ObamaCare is not a “shop,” the shelves are not filled with “products,” and customers are not checking out with a basket full of freely-chosen goods. Wal-Mart can’t sic the IRS on you to extract a tax/penalty if you decide not to buy something.
Another thing Obama didn’t do at his Monday press conference was apologize for the many false statements he made during the bungled ObamaCare rollout, especially the ridiculous and often-repeated lie that Healthcare.gov was melting under unexpectedly high demand. It’s never experienced traffic greater than mid-level commercial sites handle every day of the week, and it’s still not working today, even though the traffic has decreased by an amazing ninety percent since launch day. And Obama knew the stupid thing crashed under the load of just a few hundred users during testing! None of these frauds ever seriously thought the big problem with HealthCare.gov was an amazingly large stampede of eager customers, but they said it over and over again.
More evidence that Team Obama knew they were about to unleash hell on the American people comes from the Wall Street Journal:
In an era where Google is making self-driving cars and Amazon offers next-day delivery for just about anything, the White House plunged ahead with a system it knew to be defective and is relying on the technology of the 19th century as the fall-back. Five days before the exchanges launched, the Health and Human Services Department increased the Virginia information technology company Serco’s $114 million contract by $87 million—to help process paper applications. Are contingency plans in place to sign up via telegraph?
The President loves to compare his health-care calamity to an iPhone launch. Well, when Apple rolls out a new smartphone, you don’t see them spending $87 million to stock up on soup cans and string, just in case things don’t go as planned.
Obama was also dishonest about the magnitude of the challenges faced by the “best and brightest” (whose actual identities and compensation packages he refuses to disclose) when they try to fix this hideous mess. The New York Times strives mightily to put a happy face on the situation, and fails:
Federal contractors have identified most of the main problems crippling President Obama’s online health insurance marketplace, but the administration has been slow to issue orders for fixing those flaws, and some contractors worry that the system may be weeks away from operating smoothly, people close to the project say.
Administration officials approached the contractors last week to see if they could perform the necessary repairs and reboot the system by Nov. 1. However, that goal struck many contractors as unrealistic, at least for major components of the system. Some specialists working on the project said the online system required such extensive repairs that it might not operate smoothly until after the Dec. 15 deadline for people to sign up for coverage starting in January, although that view is not universally shared.
In interviews, experts said the technological problems of the site went far beyond the roadblocks to creating accounts that continue to prevent legions of users from even registering. Indeed, several said, the login problems, though vexing to consumers, may be the easiest to solve. One specialist said that as many as five million lines of software code may need to be rewritten before the Web site runs properly.
“The account creation and registration problems are masking the problems that will happen later,” said one person involved in the repair effort.
There sure does seem to be a lot of “masking” going on here. I can hardly wait to see the “problems that will happen later,” or get the bill for fixing them. Who seriously thinks this Administration will be able to successfully oversee a project that involves rewriting five million lines of code by mid-December, especially since the “best and brightest” new programmers will first need to get up to speed on the handiwork of the worst and dimmest who preceded them? How many congressional hearings and subpoenas will we need to discover why the Obama Administration has been “slow to issue orders” for fixing this mess?
The Associated Press, via Fox News, offers another peek behind the scenes at ObamaCare Mission Control in the days before that fireball erupted on the launch pad:
Meanwhile, a review of the site’s technical specifications by The Associated Press found a mind-numbingly complex system put together by harried programmers who pushed out a final product that congressional investigators said was tested by the government and not private developers with more expertise.
Project developers who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity — because they feared they would otherwise be fired — said they raised doubts among themselves whether the website could be ready in time. They complained openly to each other about what they considered tight and unrealistic deadlines. One was nearly brought to tears over the stress of finishing on time, one developer said. Website builders saw red flags for months.
[...] Just weeks before the launch of HealthCare.gov on Oct. 1, one programmer said, colleagues huddled in conference rooms trying to patch “bugs,” or deficiencies in computer code. Unresolved problems led to visitors experiencing cryptic error messages or enduring long waits trying to sign up.
If ObamaCare was a private industry product, jury selection for both criminal charges and civil lawsuits would already be under way. Which is one very good reason why such things should always be left to private industry, not swarms of politicians and rent-seeking cromies with a death grip on our wallets. At least the Hindenburg disaster wasn’t passed off as a minor glitch caused by an unexpectedly popular blimp, with assurances that many of the passengers greatly enjoyed the better part of their flight.