Website Woes and the Privatized Rollout of Obamacare

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posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 08:04 PM
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www.commondreams.org...

subtitle: The Obama team outsourced Healthcare.gov to big corporations that rang up large bills without delivering what they promised

by Moira Herbst


I placed this in this particular forum because I've an ongoing sense of obligation to point out when people mix up government with big business. This debacle of a roll out of the online ACA portal is a prime example of such an event.

True the Obama Administration chose to outsourcing the ACA web presence. Can you imagine the uproar if the administration had highered more federal employees to build and maintain the websites? No, our tax dollar, have to go to big business, big incompetent business at that, or the conservatives and liberatarians will scream "Big Government - Socialism" even louder.

This is what the above referenced article is about. The incompetence and unaccountablity of outsourcing Government functions and responsibilities.



For one thing, farming work out often rips off taxpayers. While the stereotype is that government workers are incompetent, time-wasters drooling over their Texas Instruments keyboards as they amass outsized pensions, studies show that keeping government services in house saves money. In fact, contractor billing rates average an astonishing 83% more than what it would cost to do the work in-house. Hiring workers directly also keeps jobs here in the US, while contractors, especially in the IT space, can ship taxpayer-funded work overseas.


And for those too lazy to read the article, I'm including a link to the referenced study by the Project on Government Oversight (the actual .pdf) entitled:

Bad Business: Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Wasted on Hiring Contractors [/size}

pogoarchives.org...

Then we have, and makes the Right (for want of a truly inclusive and degratory term - suggestions anyone?) salivate and the Free Enterprise Income direct from TaxPayer Coffers of:



Unfortunately, while Obama promised to focus on insourcing at the start of his presidency, federal workers have instead received multiple kicks in the teeth. There are now 20%, or 676,000, fewer federal workers since the size of that workforce peaked in mid-2010. Recall, too, that Obama froze federal worker pay for two years following the 2010 congressional elections. Now the sequester – a fancy word for the government cuts that started this year – is causing further damage, and could cost 100,000 more federal jobs within a year. Deep cuts to state and local governments continue at the same time.


So, you righties - stop telling me how much bigger the government is getting......



If we're not going to insource work – presumably because anti-government types successfully peddle the useless bureaucrat stereotype – we should at least have a better process for picking contractors that benefit from taxpayer largesse to carry out public projects. It may be hard to believe in light of the Healthcare.gov experience, but there are examples of successful government outsourcing arrangements in IT. One key to their success, a Government Accountability Office study pointed out, is consistent communication with, and monitoring of, contractors. Penalties for cost overruns, failing to deliver by agreed-upon deadlines and other forms of mismanagement would help, too.

Of course, we also need a more competitive bidding process, and a more thorough examination of the track record of any company up for a giant government contract.

Putting all of these systems in place takes time and money, which is one reason why direct government hiring is preferable. But regardless of whether we start insourcing or improving oversight or both, one thing is clear: we need to stop blindly throwing taxpayer money at corporations while not holding them accountable.


Yeppers - Big Business will solve everything.




posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 08:07 PM
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Dear god ATS posters, how many Obamacare threads they pay you to post? do we really need?



posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 09:30 PM
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boncho
Dear god ATS posters, how many Obamacare threads they pay you to post? do we really need?


Please don't jump to a conclusion - I think ACA is a step in the right direction however....

Yes ACA is the catalyst; however I'd like the discussion be about Outsourcing Government functions to Private Contractors.

The Healthcare.gov rollout is just the latest and most balant example of Big Business incompetance and unaccountabity - not to mention Billions of taxpayer dollars into private pockets.

Welfare indeed - Corporate Welfare.
edit on 22-10-2013 by FyreByrd because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 09:38 PM
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LMAO...ok, I give props for the most inventive show of sidestepping the blame for a boondoggle I've ever seen in my life.

S&F for that alone, OP.



posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 09:52 PM
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On a more serious note, the "problem" isn't that the government didn't build the website itself, it looks like the issue is the same one we've seen for ages in D.C. Cronyism.

ACA Contractors



All but one of the 47 contractors who won contracts to carry out work on the Affordable Care Act worked for the government prior to its passage. Many--like the Rand Corporation and the MITRE Corporation--have done so for decades. And some, like Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, are among the biggest wielders of influence in Washington. Some 17 ACA contract winners reported spending more than $128 million on lobbying in 2011 and 2012, while 29 had employees or political action committees or both that contributed $32 million to federal candidates and parties in the same period. Of that amount, President Barack Obama collected $3.9 million.


By OP's logic, the Air Force should build their own aircraft, the Department of Transportation should build cars, etc;



posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 09:52 PM
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reply to post by boncho
 


Enough until those that where swearing by the obamacrap get it in their thick heads that is nothing but that, crap.['b]

The companies are so good at it that they ran with the money first and now the website is not even working.

Lets ask Sebelius about her interest within those private contracting companies.
edit on 22-10-2013 by marg6043 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 10:51 PM
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BobM88
LMAO...ok, I give props for the most inventive show of sidestepping the blame for a boondoggle I've ever seen in my life.

S&F for that alone, OP.


Just what am I sidestepping? I did say the Administration was responsible for the debacle quite clearly.



posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 10:58 PM
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BobM88
On a more serious note, the "problem" isn't that the government didn't build the website itself, it looks like the issue is the same one we've seen for ages in D.C. Cronyism.

ACA Contractors



All but one of the 47 contractors who won contracts to carry out work on the Affordable Care Act worked for the government prior to its passage. Many--like the Rand Corporation and the MITRE Corporation--have done so for decades. And some, like Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, are among the biggest wielders of influence in Washington. Some 17 ACA contract winners reported spending more than $128 million on lobbying in 2011 and 2012, while 29 had employees or political action committees or both that contributed $32 million to federal candidates and parties in the same period. Of that amount, President Barack Obama collected $3.9 million.


By OP's logic, the Air Force should build their own aircraft, the Department of Transportation should build cars, etc;


I'm not saying that at all. In fact I used to work (in the 80's) for a large aerospace outfit. The difference was we had to bid for contracts, we had regular reporting requirements and government audits, we had military and civilian oversight on site. It wasn't here do this - and no more involvement. I believe the Bushes I & II specialized in the "No Bid" contracts or as you call Crony Capitalism. Obama's administration is just following 'Best Government Practices" for Big Business Profit and no accountability. Crony Capitalism - it's the very definition of outsourcing and 'pork pie' (as it was called).

There is a very big need for the government to procure the products it needs - but to verified spefication and standards all along the way. A Web site is considerably more then a product - it requires constant maintainance and up dates and that part should be done by government employees.



posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 11:04 PM
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reply to post by FyreByrd
 


The sidestepping in in passing blame for this debacle to the right by saying that the decision to outsource the building of healthcare.gov was done to keep those on the right from screaming bloody murder about hiring more Federal workers. That's BS, neither this administration or GW's administration has/had any issues with hiring Federal employees, all the complaining in the world by the right has had no effect on that. The blame lies in their SOP of awarding contracts to firms that have heavy lobbying and close ties to the government.

You say the gov't, this administration, is guilty of cowardice and bending to the will of the political opposition in hiring incompetent contractors. I find that unlikely. I have yet to see them concerned with placating the opposition.

I say they're simply operating under the law of SNAFU -- Typical Washington.



posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 11:09 PM
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reply to post by FyreByrd
 


I agree to a point. Maintaining should be done by employees of whatever department the site is for.

Creating a website, especially many websites for a project like this takes a lot of people, having a competent team of contractors creating something like this is fine with me. Though, I also agree these jobs should be bid, not awarded. After its created and its a matter of maintenance, that should be left to employees of the various agencies.



posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 11:11 PM
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Apparently I completely misread what you were saying in your OP. I stand corrected and I apologize. I may have confused parts you quoted with what you were offering as your own opinion. I'm really not sure, but I thought you meant something completely different than you apparently do mean. My mistake.



posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 11:36 PM
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OP I find this interesting, but am struggling a bit with the point you are making. For some reason I can't figure out exactly what you are saying, so I'll just type out what I understood, and correct me if I'm wrong.

Outsourcing typically results in the taxpayer paying more for services rendered. While it was wrong for this particular project to be outsourced, the blame rests with Republicans who typically support this as it helps big business. Is that right?



posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 11:46 PM
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reply to post by Domo1
 


That's how I understood it too, but then in his subsequent posts it seems as if that's not what he was saying. Obviously I too have had a hard time really figuring out what OP means.

I may totally disagree or partially disagree. Either way, I respect his opinion, I'm just not clear yet what he means.



posted on Oct, 22 2013 @ 11:57 PM
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reply to post by BobM88
 


Oh good, glad I have some company.

I personally think that the rollout was a symphony of failures, and whoever was in charge of communicating with CGI was the conductor.



posted on Oct, 23 2013 @ 12:01 AM
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FyreByrd
The Obama team outsourced Healthcare.gov to big corporations that rang up large bills without delivering what they promised.


I work for one of these corporations. Sure, we can be blamed for the problems. I can tell you that everyone I know building Obamacare software (in the private sector) is busting their humps trying to get the job done. What's preventing us from getting things done is the federal government and their uncanny ability to screw up EVERYTHING they touch. Trust me, the private sector and big corporations know how to build software systems. Yes, there are some states dragging their heels. However, almost everything I've seen go wrong thus far can be attributed to the idiocracy in Washington.



posted on Oct, 23 2013 @ 08:04 AM
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reply to post by FyreByrd
 


BOY Your really have no idea of HOW government contracts work. Raytheon has the scheme down to a fine art.

First government contracts go to the LOWEST BIDDER. So Raytheon would bid low.

Second the government wants lots and lots of paperwork so all the government employees can cover their behinds. (This cost money, LOTS of money.)

Third government employees haven't the foggiest when it comes to engineering but that does not stop them from insisting THEY ARE RIGHT. So Raytheon does not bother to argue they just follow orders and you get the usual government SNAFU. At this point the government employees are in a panic because it was THEIR ORDERS that were followed to a T. The situation is a project on time that meets government specs but doesn't work. The only option now is to have it redone by Raytheon, since they are the ones up to speed. So the project is redone at a cost named by Raytheon.

On the second go round the government employees keep their fingers off the project (IF the taxpayer is lucky) and the engineers get to do the job correctly.

With Obamacare the public came in at the first stage and the fecal material hit the fan.
.....

No I do not and have never work for Raytheon I just belonged to a club with lots of Raytheon engineers and QC types and listened to the chit chat for a couple of decades. I have also dealt with government paperwork and inspectors.



posted on Oct, 23 2013 @ 10:06 AM
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This is how big corporations with government contracts works under Obama

Since the Obama administration favor small minority business rather than the big ones that Bush was so fund off, the small businesses get to bid with priority, but what nobody is telling is that the small minority can not fund themselves when is big money involved, they still get the bids but guess what people, they are subcontracted by the big three top companies in the nation.

Deceiving.

That is how the big tree still get their money and control of government contracts while making it look like the government favors small minority business.

Yes the small companies get the contracts with less money but still working under the big tree.

How do I know, well . . .



posted on Oct, 23 2013 @ 11:15 PM
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BobM88
reply to post by FyreByrd
 


The sidestepping in in passing blame for this debacle to the right by saying that the decision to outsource the building of healthcare.gov was done to keep those on the right from screaming bloody murder about hiring more Federal workers. That's BS, neither this administration or GW's administration has/had any issues with hiring Federal employees, all the complaining in the world by the right has had no effect on that. The blame lies in their SOP of awarding contracts to firms that have heavy lobbying and close ties to the government.

You say the gov't, this administration, is guilty of cowardice and bending to the will of the political opposition in hiring incompetent contractors. I find that unlikely. I have yet to see them concerned with placating the opposition.

I say they're simply operating under the law of SNAFU -- Typical Washington.




I never once passed blame to the right - please read the OP. BTW Sidestepping is different then passing the blame.

I stated very clearly that the current administration was responsible for the decision to outsource the website.

I did place indirect blame on big business (is that what you call the right???) for it's ineffeciency, incompetance and unaccountability working as no-bid government contractors.



posted on Oct, 23 2013 @ 11:17 PM
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marg6043
This is how big corporations with government contracts works under Obama

Since the Obama administration favor small minority business rather than the big ones that Bush was so fund off, the small businesses get to bid with priority, but what nobody is telling is that the small minority can not fund themselves when is big money involved, they still get the bids but guess what people, they are subcontracted by the big three top companies in the nation.

Deceiving.

That is how the big tree still get their money and control of government contracts while making it look like the government favors small minority business.

Yes the small companies get the contracts with less money but still working under the big tree.

How do I know, well . . .


It's not just the Obama Administration - Bushies I & II made an artform of the no-bid contractor.



posted on Oct, 23 2013 @ 11:21 PM
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crimvelvet
reply to post by FyreByrd
 


BOY Your really have no idea of HOW government contracts work. Raytheon has the scheme down to a fine art.

First government contracts go to the LOWEST BIDDER. So Raytheon would bid low.

Second the government wants lots and lots of paperwork so all the government employees can cover their behinds. (This cost money, LOTS of money.)

Third government employees haven't the foggiest when it comes to engineering but that does not stop them from insisting THEY ARE RIGHT. So Raytheon does not bother to argue they just follow orders and you get the usual government SNAFU. At this point the government employees are in a panic because it was THEIR ORDERS that were followed to a T. The situation is a project on time that meets government specs but doesn't work. The only option now is to have it redone by Raytheon, since they are the ones up to speed. So the project is redone at a cost named by Raytheon.

On the second go round the government employees keep their fingers off the project (IF the taxpayer is lucky) and the engineers get to do the job correctly.

With Obamacare the public came in at the first stage and the fecal material hit the fan.
.....

No I do not and have never work for Raytheon I just belonged to a club with lots of Raytheon engineers and QC types and listened to the chit chat for a couple of decades. I have also dealt with government paperwork and inspectors.


And it is that paperwork among other safe guards (and yes they cost money - which the contractors include in their bids) that provide checks on the compliance with standards and specifications.

And all engineers complain about compliance and audit work.





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