The Obamacare Website Scandal

Big Red Car here.  Another beauty in the ATX.  On Earth as it is in Texas.

Live it.

Obamacare, love it or hate, is the signature legislation of President Obama’s tenure as President.  You would think that the administration would be doing everything possible to make it work perfectly.  Right?

Let me introduce you to the Obamacare website scandal.  You will likely not like what you are about to learn.  Sorry.


The administration has had 3 1/2 years — the same time it took the Americans to wage World War II and grow the military to over 13MM men and women in strength — and still the core of the program does not work.

The freakin’ website at the core of the program does not work.


The administrator did not hire a bunch of software engineers to develop the site, they hired CGI to do it.

CGI is a French Canadian company — really, Big Red Car?

Big Red Car, no American companies know anything about web design, huh?  Seems odd, no?

Old Sport, it seems odd and ill advised to the Big Red Car.  Why not an American company to design a website?


The initial cost was to be $93MM — $93,000,000.  That is a lot of money for a website, Big Red Car.  Yes, Grasshopper, that is a lot of money for a website.

The final cost — well, really, the current cost — is $634,000,000.  Whoa, Big Red Car, that is a massive overrun.  WTF, Big Red Car?

Yes, WTF, Old Sport?  WTF happened?

Does it work?  Please tell me it works like a champ, Big Red Car!

Well, here’s the really troubling thing, Old Sport, the damn thing still does not work.  We have paid $634,000,000 to a bunch of French Canadians and the damn site still does not work.

Who hired CGI?  Have they been fired?

Who authorized a cost overrun from $93MM to 634MM?  Have they been fired?

How can you really spend $634,000,000 on a freakin’ website?  Even one that does not work.

Who is being held accountable for this mess?

Would you trust this bunch to run the government?

Anybody could have built a flawed website for way less than that, right, Big Red Car?  Obamacare website scandal.  Can you trust anyone that incompetent?  No sayeth the Big Red Car.

Well, who knows?  What the Hell do I know anyway?  I’m just a Big Red Car.


7 thoughts on “The Obamacare Website Scandal

  1. I’ll see your tale of woe and raise you a billion dollars.

    My home town needed a new public transport ticketing system. Instead of buying a perfectly functioning system from Hong Kong or London they decided to put it to tender. The winning bid ~$450m was an American company of which head of the Transport Ticketing Authority just happened to be a shareholder.

    Hmmmm. You might think the probity auditor would have something to say about that. And well she might, if only the newly appointed head of the company formed to operate the new ticketing system was not her husband.

    What could possibly go wrong, BRC? Well plenty as it turns out. The system was about 5 years late, was so poorly implemented that it operated in parallel with the existing system for 2 years, and costs blew out to $1.5B.

    Naturally the AG found no evidence of impropriety and that everything was in order. What a relief!

    • .
      Your story tops the Obamacare website, Hell looks cheap in comparison.

      This type of institutional corruption is disgusting. Pigs feeding at the trough.

      We sit today unable to pay a stinking $15K death benefit to a soldier killed in A’stan — 8 in the last 2 days — while these slobs are stealing us blind.

      It is disgusting.


    • .
      Nobody really knows because it does not work. It is crony capitalism taken to an extreme and a splash of corruption thrown in for good measure.


      • I agree its crazy, but unfortunately this is completely standard for Government IT contracts that they spend CRAZY amounts of money and they never work.
        I have a friend who used to work on an Air Force ERP system (that got canceled after spending close to a billion if I remember right), and before any code was cut the analysts had to create an absurd amount of documentation. I think it took them like 18 months just to write the specs (I don’t remember the exact number, but I think he said something like 1 million+ pages of documentation.) Of course by the time the specs were done, a new officer would come in and have to ‘shake things up’ to make the project have his mark on it. Can’t have the guy before me take all the credit, so crap went back to the drawing board. If requirements change all the time, and you have to document every detail before you even write a line of code, and no one really knows what the system is supposed to do no one can ever succeed in making one of these systems work. Its just not the way you do complex systems successfully. For instance, programmers have to fill out triplicate forms just to check in code to their repository. Hell I check in code sometimes 20 times a day. What do you think insanity like that does to programmer effectiveness and productivity?
        Now if they ran it like a startup and just threw something out there and iterated, things would be much different. But Governments are too afraid to do this, since they feel that if it doesn’t work its a HUGE risk of getting egg in the face (case in point.) So they set things up so they have to have crazy acceptance criteria, which if it was measuring the right things would mean no system could ever be launched. But they don’t measure the right things, but have vanity metrics that they are measuring that pretty much mean nothing but still require huge effort to hit the 98 or 99% you have to hit on the metrics.
        I’m actually quite surprised that the ACA website cost less than a billion and actually does work for at least a few people. What is sad is that within a few months and another few million (or tens, or hundreds of millions) dollars they will get the thing limping and will label it a success. While it is a horrible state of affairs, it unfortunately is business as usually with Government IT.
        So I don’t think its really too much crony capitalism going on here, just plain old fashioned stupidity. This is why we need to run Government like a business, invest in our future growth, and kill all the stupid multiple layers of rubber stamped crap just to buy a box of pencils. They just needed a website to show prices on some insurance, I’m sure a million or two would have got them something really nice if they weren’t insane.

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