I would like to preface this post by saying that normally I like to keep quite on political matters due to a ” too many cooks in the kitchen” syndrome that seems to breakout when any sort of crisis arises. However, the other day I found a story that made me shake my head in disbelief.
As ‘Obama-care’ nears full implementation over the next fiscal year a number of house keeping and logistical operations must be completed so the program will be functional when millions come under its jurisdiction. One of these is the new “HealthCare.gov” website used for everything from general information to the crucial policy exchange that allows those affected to registered for their new policy. Unfortunately for those attempting to get a head start and register well ahead of the December 15 deadline have had only anger and frustration as a reward for their proactive steps. CNN and all other major media outlets have reported that the site has crashed regularly over the first three weeks of its life span and been unable to handle even moderate traffic. Those trying to log in are met with a potpourri of internet errors from non-existent pages to it rejecting correct information. Of course the government shutdown could be blamed for all these failures, but this was deemed an essential service and had the capability to work properly.
Whatever the reason for these failures it hasn’t been from a lack of resources. Over $300 million has been spent on the development of the website alone, spread in lump sums across six development agencies, which were given contracts for a variety of vague and extremely generalized tasks. For example, Quality Software Services Inc. was given a cool $55.1 million to create only the data hub for the system. Others received similar payments for different facets like the call center and aggregation of information.
Many are skeptical about why this amount of tax payer money was needed. Researchers concluded that any normal large corporation would be able to have the same configuration built from scratch for just over $10 million. It makes sense that creating a foothold on the Internet would be relatively cheap when the average citizen like me can create a blog for free. The recipients of these apparently very generous contracts were predictably tight lipped on the matter and the truth will probably will never be known, but that isn’t the point. What is the takeaway is that the Federal Government has once again failed to be systematically thorough in such an important affair because this is far from an anomaly.
I remember an incident back in 2008 where a report from the Heritage Foundation discovered a missing $7 billion, an amount just above the $6.8 billion spent annually by the state of Oklahoma, from the budget that couldn’t be traced to any genuine expenditure. Mistakes like this can’t happen not only because of the fiscal crunch, but because they destroy the faith of the public in their government at a time when confidence is greatly needed.