Saturday, November 23, 2013

Obamacare's Management Failure

On October 23rd I posted a link to my USNews blog on the management failures of the Republican House majority and the roll out of Obamacare.  The link is here: Today the New York Times published a front page story on the complete management breakdown by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that were responsible for developing the website. This article is an eye-opener for all of my friends who believe that the government is a solution to many of the problems that vex society. As the late sportscaster Howard Cosell would say, "Never have I seen such continuing ineptitude.."  The link to the full article is here: It is a must read.

Now read what I wrote a month ago:

"If this weren't enough, we have had a failure to launch, the entry website for purchasing health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare. The administration has had two and a half years to develop a website and all of the necessary back-end systems to enable Americans to purchase health insurance on a government run exchange. After all of that time and hundreds of millions of dollars, the system crashed on its first day, and it continues to fail. Not only is the front-end failing, the back-end is failing as the participating insurance companies are receiving the wrong information with respect to applicants and qualified dependents. This is not a mere glitch, it is a system failure.
Even more striking, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted on CNN yesterday that President Obama wasn't aware of the problem until after the website was launched. Hello! President Obama is not a chief executive. He is now learning that there is a real difference between making policy and implementing policy. The real work is in implementation.
Now, I do not expect the president to be sitting in the Oval Office writing computer code, but I do expect him to be briefed at least monthly on the status of his signature program. He should have been familiar with all of the "deliverables" and "milestones" associated with the law. It is not even clear there was a senior White House staffer in charge of monitoring the program. Only yesterday we found out that former Acting OMB Director Jeffrey Zients will be in charge of the "tech surge" in the Department of Health and Human Services. All I can say is that if we had a real chief executive, Kathleen Sebelius would be fired.
Given what has happened in the past month, it is no wonder a majority of Americans want to replace the entire Congress and it is no wonder that the usually administration-friendly Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" has been offering the most biting criticism of the roll out of the health insurance exchanges. The government is not working and most Americans know it."
All I have to say is that before we embark on another expansive government program we better think long and hard about whether our government has the capability to manage it.

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