October 24, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 27

I can hardly wait to see what's next with the ACA

It’s hardly original thinking to offer the notion that the Obama Administration really welcomed the partial government shutdown.

That’s despite all their rhetoric in wanting to get the latest continuing resolution signed, sealed and delivered to end the partial government shutdown and allow continued borrowing to feed their ravenous appetite for revenue.

The shuttering of about 20 percent of the federal government, and the crisis it was painted to be by the media – and various members of Congress – served as the perfect diversion and smokescreen to cover the disastrous rollout of The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it is so widely called.

It’s amazing to think that after all the time this law has been on the books, and in the works – some say its architecture is really decades and decades old – and how tech-savvy this administration has been, that an e-commerce site would be such an utter failure.

Makes me cringe to think about the real end product. But having heard a fellow AARP’er wonder already about why she could not find a doctor that is covered under Medicare while visiting Atlanta provided a clue.

As part of the projected $678 million cost associated with the rollout of the new healthcare law, the contract for an admittedly sophisticated website – HealthCare.gov ­­– was issued to of all companies, the U.S. subsidiary of a Canadian company, CGI.

It’s not bad enough that $93.7 million of your and my money appears to have been lit on fire, but not before some portion of it left the country, too. But the track record of CGI is hardly anything to write home about.

Their contract with the Canadian government’s Canadian Firearms Information System was cancelled in 2007 after being “significantly over budget” and the project riddled with delays. It cost the Canadian government an estimated $91 million in hard costs.

CGI’s past seems to have as many holes in it as there are excuses on why no one in Health and Human Services, from Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on down, can provide any kind of hard numbers on ACA enrollment.

And numbers, especially those from the low-risk young enrollees who will pay the bills for those of us on the other end of the pool, are critical to the success, or failure, of the ACA.

To fix the site will entail fixing some 5 million lines of computer code. My eyes cross when I look behind the curtain at what the HTML code looks like that makes an ultra-simple website work.

In the real world, if a company got fleeced as bad as the federal government has with CGI, there would be some kind of remedy in the way of service after the sale, but apparently not this time.

USA Today is reporting “Verizon’s Enterprise Solutions division has been asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to improve the performance of the HealthCare.gov site.”

My guess is that my cell service provider is certainly not doing this out of their “patriotic duty,” and that somewhere soon we’ll find out how many additional millions we will be paying to fix this mess. Or I’ll see another bump in my bill.

With a rollout like this I can hardly wait to see what’s coming next. But the way things have worked so far over the past five years, I’m sure there will be a new diversion to try to take our minds off whatever it is.

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