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Politics, not code, are the root of healthcare.gov's problems in this view

Politics
Behind every software product that comes to market are software developers. But there also budgets set at the highest levels of management. And marching orders that trickle down the management ranks in corporate Morse code. NPR reports that budget and politics, not programming, set the stage for Healthcare.gov's problems.

A growing number of reports focus on the extraordinary complexity of Healthcare.gov, and the inability of a relatively small inhouse government agency staff to manage it. Yet that's what the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid tried to do. Why?

Jay Angoff, who formerly ran the health exchange program for the Department of Health and Human Services. told NPR, "... those who are in charge of the money HHS needs to implement the federal exchange are dedicated to the destruction of the federal exchange, and the destruction of the Affordable Care Act."

Scraping together the funds to build the healthcare site, the federal agency may have stinted on outside contracts for making sure the system was well integrated and tested -- roles it appears to have taken upon itself. 

And while it might seem that the feds had plenty of time to build and test the site, serious work couldn't begin until the Supreme Court decided whether or not the Affordable Care Act would be overturned.   

The Dept. of Health and Human Services bent over backwards to get states to build their own healthcare exchanges and expand Medicaid, taking more time -- and money. In the end, most states opted for the federal exchange, creating a much bigger development challenge than expected.  

The best software development managers shield their staffs from the uncertainties of corporate politics so they can focus on their jobs. In the case of Healthcare.gov, that wasn't possible. Read the story. 

 

Comments

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LakeWorthCane

I read the story.

It's difficult to comment because the above blurb seems to both openly state and also ignore the obvious.

Let's see if I can put this in a way that everybody can understand.

"Healthcare.gov" is a website that was created by people in politics.

Remember: politics are the problem with "healthcare.gov."

"Healthcare.gov" is for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the PPACA or "Obamacare") which is a LAW passed by politicians. Obama is a politician. The PPACA--"Obamacare"--is named after him. The problem is politics.

Every one of the agencies and people mentioned or quoted in the article is or was in politics. The problem is politics.

So . . .. Yes: good call. I agree. The problem is politics. (duh)

But will those who've made this brilliant observation agree to kick politics out of health care? NOOOOOO! The problem is politics in health care, but we'll throw ourselves in front of trains--we'll shut down the government, we'll default on debt payments, we'll do ANYTHING--to make good and sure that we have politics in health care.

Of course, I understand. We want only our personal politics in health care: only ourselves and those who agree with us. Everybody has to agree with us. If they don't agree with us, then we don't want them in politics. We want them to pay for our politics, but we don't want them involved in our politics.

But it doesn't work that way, does it? If we let some politics into health care, then we let all politics into health care. That's called "coexistence."

But the PPACA ("Obamacare") is now law. It was passed by congress and found constitutional by the US Supreme Court, right? We all have to obey it now, right?

Well, again, it doesn't work that way.

In the 1970s, Jimmy Carter (bless his heart) made the 55-mile-an-hour speed limit a law. People didn't like it. Most people didn't obey it. The law was repealed.

The Prohibition Amendment was a law, too. People didn't like it. Most people didn't obey it. Like the PPACA ("Obamacare"), the Prohibition Amendment was a bad law. It caused more problems than it solved, and so it was repealed.

Without going into the details, I will just say that when Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts found for the PPACA ("Obamacare"), he also redefined it in a way that makes it very easy to repeal. (Roberts redefined the PPACA, or "Obamacare," as a tax, and taxes are easier to repeal.)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or "Obamacare") is a very bad law. It does not "protect patients." It does not make health "care" more "affordable." It will not provide "free health care to 30 million Americans who don't have it." (Yeah, right: see the 30 million rushing to sign up now? Gee, I wonder where they are.) The law is not what its title says it is. The law will not do what its supporters have said it will do. That's because, from the moment it was conceived, the PPACA ("Obamacare") was never intended to be what its title says it is. It was never intended to do what its supporters have said it will do.

The PPACA ("Obamacare") always has been, is now and, until it is repealed, always will be a scam: a con job.

It's a doozy of a scam, too.

The PPACA--"Obamacare"--was always intended to shift responsibility for massive and growing health care costs from the private health insurance industry to the taxpayers. (It helps big business.) The law was written, passed and is being implemented for that purpose and, as more and more people are finding out (as they see their health insurance premiums and taxes skyrocket), the law does that very, very well.

But health care is still too expensive, and now, thanks to the PPACA ("Obamacare"), health insurance is too expensive, too but, thanks again to the PPACA ("Obamacare") we all have to buy the more costly health insurance.

Like some people keep telling us (are you ready?): it's the law. If you do not buy more costly health insurance, you are a criminal.

Yes, I agree: "politics" are the problem. Now, because we are good, ordinary people who can't afford the PPACA's ("Obamacare's") higher insurance premiums, we are criminals. We are "enemies of the state," or, "threats to national security," or what have you.

We got screwed by politicians again, okay? ("Politicians" are people in "politics." Like the above article says, "politics" are the problem.)

Some people have tried to warn us all along: "Do not accept the PPACA ('Obamacare')!" But we called them names, accused them of bad things, didn't listen to them. Like fools, we listened instead to the pie-in-the-sky promises from people in politics--because people in politics always tell us the truth, right?--and we got screwed again.

But, it's okay. We can easily repeal this law. Chief Justice Roberts, in his "majority opinion," made sure of that. We can repeal it, and we will repeal it.

In his majority opinion, Chief Justice Roberts did one more thing; he made sure that, once repealed, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or "Obamacare") will not ever come back again.

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