While many Floridians have put online healthcare signup aside for the time being to wait until the feds' online marketplace website, healthcare.gov, is functional, the New York Times has unearthed the inside story of how the development project ended up where it is now.
Among the reasons for the website's state of unreadiness on its Oct. 1 deadline:
The biggest contractor, CGI Federal, didn't start coding until the spring of 2013 because the government was late giving it the system specifications. This would have pushed all of the development milestones, including testing, to the wall.
During the development process, the feds kept changing features. "As late as the last week of September, officials were still changing features of the Web site, HealthCare.gov, and debating whether consumers should be required to register and create password-protected accounts before they could shop for health plans," reports NYT.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid took it upon itself to make sure all the databases played together, rather than assigning that job to a systems integration contractor. The NYT's sources said CMS, which was already managing the contractors working on other parts of the system, was not properly staffed to undertake such a role.
In other words, large-scale development as usual. Sources said Healthcare.gov is about "70 percent" of the way toward working, but whether it takes two weeks or two months to finish is still anyone's guess. Read the story.