Root cause of Obamacare website crashes is red tape, not technical glitches
Bureaucracy is stopping smaller, more innovative tech companies from picking up government contracts and that is the main reason for public websites' history of expensive crashes.
By Clay Johnson / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 5:05 AM
The history of information technology acquisitions by the government is a bit like the history of helicopters. You spend a lot of money on something and most of the time, it lifts off the ground. But more frequently than you’d like, it crashes, and when it does, it leaves a big fiery mess.
HealthCare.gov is but one of those fiery crashes. Whether it was USAJobs.gov, or New York’s CityTime project, governments have a history of expensive crashes.
In the case of HealthCare.gov, the root cause isn’t the bugs we see in the software’s code. Instead, it’s the way that government procures things — in this case, software.
The regulation is 6,500 pages long, and if it isn’t followed, people go to jail.
The result of this regulation? The contracts are going to the people who understand those regulations the best, not those who can do the best job.
While HealthCare.gov’s bugs might be an attractive target for those engaged in the sportsification of politics, the real bugs are in the federal acquisition. They prevent the small, innovative, agile tech firms that have given you a great user experience on the Web from even considering working with government.
This model of buying technology ensures the kind of failure that you see with HealthCare.gov. Any citizen who truly wants a government that spends money wisely and delivers good service ought to be more concerned with the fact that there’s a new digital divide in America: the one between the public sector and the private. In order to bridge this gap, we’ve got to fix the problems that created it to begin with.