The news story is pretty grim, detailing the fact that the Obamacare insurance exchanges are so difficult to build, even when a private contractor is handling the work, that disaster is the only outcome:
Oregon has spent more than $40 million to build its own online health care exchange. It gave that money to a Silicon Valley titan, Oracle, but the result has been a disaster of missed deadlines, a nonworking website and a state forced to process thousands of insurance applications on paper.
Some Oregon officials were sounding alarms about the tech company’s work on the state’s online health care exchange as early as last spring. Oracle was behind schedule and, worse, didn’t seem able to offer an estimate of what it would take to get the state’s online exchange up and running.
“It is the most maddening and frustrating position to be in, absolutely,” says Liz Baxter, chairwoman of the board for , the state’s online exchange. “We have spent a lot of money to get something done — to get it done well — to serve the people in our state, and it is maddening that we can’t seem to get over this last hump.”
Before you go here to read the rest, try to guess at which publication you’ll find this story.
Off the top of my head, I can think of a couple of reasons that even Oracle had problems:
(1) Despite the fact that Oracle is a private sector company, the party on the other side of the deal is government. That stultifies everything. Government projects tend to suck the life out of things, because they have no dynamic energy. They’re so hedged about by rules and regulations that there is no room for initiative, creativity, energy, or the type of greed that drives progress.
(2) Obamacare is such a monstrous law, and the moving parts are so many and varied, that there is actually no way to create a working system. The interface is just the pretty stuff, and that’s been frustrating enough. The real problem is meshing individual information (much of it deeply personal and private), corporate insurance information, state information, federal information, Medicare information, etc. After all, at the back-end, each of these entities have their own computer systems with which the Obamacare system must mesh.
Even Rube Goldberg’s designs, foolishly complicated though they were, ultimately did the job. With Obamacare, though, it’s reasonable to suspect that, short of jettisoning every system (state, federal, insurance, medical, Obamacare exchanges) and starting anew with all of them going into the same hopper, there is no way that any computer system can actually do the job.
Oh, and I can’t resist adding here that, to the extent that news story is saying something critical of Obamacare, there’s only one word for it: RAAACIST!!!!