Wednesday, October 23, 2013

HEALTH.GOV FIASCO SIMPLIEFIED

We all know the site is broken and you have heard a million words saying what went wrong and of course who is to blame.  The only thing of course you haven't heard is the truth.

Progressive talk radio in ten minutes last night gave me the one clue I needed to expand my understanding of the problem.. It's really simple , too simple to have been screwed up so badly.Here's where they went wrong.  The lead CONTRACTOR(there's a clue here) CGI got the orginal contract for 93 million bucks to design and coordinate the whole deal.. Problem is there were 55 other contractors involved building various parts of the system.  As the story goes the contract was let in 2011 actual work didn't begin till this spring due to the controlling agency didn't have the criteria for how the site was to work developed till then. So they had 6 months to put together a very complex system with a whole bunch of input parts that of course didn't mesh with the main site.

I have worked in government for at least 30 years of my life and have seen the effects of contracting out first hand, to say they never were successful would be putting it mildly. A simple example from my experience, a plant I worked at contracted out the janitor services (which were previously done by two government employees taking care of 6 power plants) all of which were always spotless.   The contractors did a very bad job and had no onsite supervision.  It got to the point where you had to dump your own waste basket..  They finally got outed when an outside inspection showed plants in horrible condition and   the reason was obvious..  Various other attempts to outsource were as successful.

Myself and one government programmer designed and built a fairly comprehensive trouble reporting system both of us on our first venture into this kind of stuff and we spent a lot of time in development before we put it on line.  Of course it blew up at first as the programmer had never worked with operators at that level and couldn't believe we would do things that I said would happen.  We picked the one guy to try the system that I know would do the things I described in advance and he performed brilliantly.  He blew it up first try.  In the end it was very successful and ran unchanged for at least 10 years.

Back to Health.com.   With input being designed by 55 other companies and the lead company having only six month to put it all together , it is no wonder it failed.  The fact that they put  it on line is a question I can't answer, I can only say I wouldn't have done it, it wasn't ready and easily demonstrated that it wasn't ready for prime time.  The embarrassment of not being ready would have been easier to take than all the flack generated by it's failure.

Now comes the disgusting part folks.   The original contract was for 93 million to date we have almost 400 million in the project and it doesn't work.  It proved one thing to me that I have always known contracting out is not the way to do anything important or anything else.  Your own workforce controlled by you , directed by you always is cheaper. When bean counters get involved you know it's going to get screwed up.  Cost is not everything but that's how they sell their stuff , they never tell you what it is going to cost you in the end when you have to fix the fuck ups.

The current mood since 1980 and the glorious Ronald Regan and his government is the problem the country has went down hill.  Contracting out was there answer to everything and everything is screwed up.  From finance to wars to health care everything they have contracted out has failed.  It's time to go back to competent people who are inhouse and know there stuff.

1 comment:

  1. Got to spread the government largesse around!

    ReplyDelete

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