Hind Site

People who actually build websites were certainly not surprised that the ACA site had bugs. People who build websites for institutions—religious, educational and, yes, government—are not surprised the thing was a disaster. Institutions are typically run by bureaucrats who know precious little about the things they are in charge of yet charge boldly ahead anyway for fear of losing face. Bureaucrats are invested more in self-protection than in whatever it is they are actually supposed to be doing, so they pretend to know things they actually don’t know. And, because they don’t know, they are in no position to adequately evaluate the merits of someone who writes code. Because they themselves do not write code and, therefore, cannot read it r evaluate its merits. All they know is these guys built a site for this other bureaucrat and came highly recommended. Also, because these people know nothing about building websites, it doesn’t register how complex these things are or that they need the full attention of the bureaucracy and plenty of lead time for testing and kicking the tires. Fundamentally changing how the site processes information at the ninth hour is suicidal. Absolutely none of the emerging revelations concerning the ACA site surprise me. Anybody who designs websites has encountered this—albeit on a much smaller and less public scale—many, many times. What surprises me is how the bureaucrats never learn. They’re running around promising the thing will work in 30 days, an extremely dangerous thing to do, especially for a build-out that is so fundamentally flawed. Fixing bad code is much harder than just scrapping it and starting over. You can’t start something like this over in 30 days, and you cannot guarantee all the various insurance companies will have accurate info ready to plug-in or that the infrastructure of many dozens of carriers will interface properly with this beast in 30 days. I am absolutely puzzled as to why they’d even make that promise.

It doesn’t surprise me that administration has had nearly four years to get this thing done and, instead, rolled out this shockingly disastrous camel build by somebody’s cousin Buzz. It should surprise me, but it doesn’t. It depresses the heck out of me, though.

The real disaster, though, is the Obama Administration—which has always been disastrously slow to respond to attack—has failed to stop the Republicans from successfully equating the Affordable Care Act itself with the government website. It’s as if the president keeps making the same mistake of over-estimating how well-informed or, frankly, how intelligent the American public are. So much so that the Republicans, who have served for decades now as the doomsayers of America, have effortlessly shaped the thinking of the average American to believe the new health care law is a website. The administration has done and continues to do a dismal job of educating America that the law is a *law*–a set of rights and protections that are now a part of our society. The website is just a website—a colossal failure on the part of the president himself. I mean, were I President Obama, had my place in history and the blood and tears of millions been invested in that website, I’d have checked that code every day myself. And I’d surely have seen this tactic coming—ObamaCare Is A Website, which efficiently links the credibility and effectiveness of the health care law itself to the workings of a website. It’s a stupid notion that treats Americans like they’re stupid, which is, essentially, the Republican modus operandi. Everything they do, every distortion of truth, every irrational act or act of cowardice in caving into the extremists among them, suggests their basic strategy is The American People Are Stupid and Gullible. They’re probably right. What troubles me deeply, though, is how the administration dropped the ball both on the website itself and in their messaging: how they did not see this ObamaCare Is A Website idea coming. They failed to the point of having the president on defense, Saturday, trying to un-ring that bell. “The Affordable Care Act is more than just a website,” an exasperate president told the nation.

Simply forcing him to actually have to say that is a huge win for the GOP. The administration is looking like monkeys. And, by the way, all that heavy demand for the ACA site? It’s mainly older and sicker people—yes, like me—anxious to find lower-cost solutions to health care. I seriously doubt a lot of 27-year olds have even bothered with it.

1 Comment

  1. circ says:

    So it’s true the longer one lives they see everything? Making the most of a series of moments on a full stomach seems to be getting more and more difficult.