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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

WHY was the Obamacare site so bad?

The important thing to know about the ACA site is that it should have been an easy bit of programming.
“When I visited HealthCare.gov on October first 1, that was the worst piece of software I’ve ever experienced in my life,” said Luke Chung, founder and CEO of the software company FMS. “It had nothing to do with too many users. It couldn’t serve one user.”
“I have contended all along that this is not that difficult of a project,” he said. “It doesn’t provide health care, it doesn’t even provide insurance. It’s just a form to apply for a subsidy to get health insurance. It’s automating a paper form. It shouldn’t be that hard.”

“Technically, this is not that difficult,” Chung added. “It shouldn’t cost more than $10 million. And it should be something that can be done in a couple of months.”
These may not be the words of a disinterested observer, so apply all due grains of salt. Still, this assessment adds to the suspicion that the web site was deliberately sabotaged, an idea which -- so far -- only a few people have dared to voice in public.

This writer suggests that the Healthcare.gov website was attacked by a virus with the obscene name FUXNET, allegedly the work of a "cyber patriot." Actually, FUXNET appears to be a hoax. But sometimes a hoax can suggest a new way to look at a real problem.

The parent company of CGI Federal (the firm that developed Healthcare.gov) is in Montreal, but the firm itself is located in Fairfax, Virginia. That's just down the street from CIA. Apparently, In-Q-Tel (the CIA's investment capital firm) put a lot of money into Socrata, which seems to be a subcontractor involved with the site. (Frankly, it isn't easy to find out the relationship between CGI and Socrata.)

Right-wing sites have suggested that the purpose of Healthcare.gov is data-mining. If that accusation were true, then you'd think that the thing would work. Personally, I think this claim is very silly. Even though I am zealous about privacy, I don't see how a health insurance site of any sort (private or public) can avoid gathering a whole lot of very personal data.

If you want a good laugh, check out this reactionary writer:
You can bet I’m not handing over my social security number to Healthcare.gov. And anyone else who wants to keep their details private needs to learn to NEVER trust government with anything.
Dude, the government already has your Social Security number. Social Security is a government thing. (I'm reminded of those protestors who held up signs reading "Keep the government away from my Medicare!")

I would suggest that one motive for sabotaging the Obamacare website would be to drive home the "never trust government" message. (The post just below this one may offer a few further insights.)
Comments:
If portions of our Cryptocracy (or what I prefer to call, our Inverted Totalitarianism) are actively working to further an 'anti-government' message and further exacerbate those (such as Tea Partiers) who already have intense mistrust of and fear of the 'government', then what does this say or indicate? Why are their aspects of the government trying to seemingly hurt their own image an their own cause? Is this an anti-Barack Obama thing? In other words, do certain factions such as the CIA (or factions within factions) view Barack as not being far enough politically 'right-wing'? Or does this indicate that the government is divided within itself and beset by feudal factionalism? Further, how much of this two-party (Republican/Democratic) conflict and competition is just surface tension to put on a puppet show of a performance? Fuck, this breaks my mind trying to wrap myself around this. I cannot discern what is truth and what is lies or counter-ops or counter-counter-counter ops. Does a triple negative equal a positive?
 
http://science.slashdot.org/story/13/11/12/1339215/how-3-young-coders-built-a-better-portal-to-healthcaregov

That's three people who made an alternative site with publicly available information on health plans. Even a month and 10 million dollars would be absurdly generous.

IT procurement generally does badly, I don't think sabotage is necessary to explain the facts.
 
It's typical committee coding, with apparently no cut-off for changes date. A sure invitation to disaster in project management.
 
"You can bet I’m not handing over my social security number to Healthcare.gov"
Got to admit, that's funny! :-) I'd be hard put to come up with a parody of right-wing supposed anti-governmentalism which was so succinct.
 
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