Why didn’t President Obama just read PharmaReform?

If  President Obama really wanted to know if Healthcare.gov was ready to go live on October 1 he should have read my last two blog posts ( September 11 and 12).  Having now listened to most of the Congressional hearings on the failed launch, it is clear to me that CMS was not being honest about the disastrous state of the website in the months leading up to the launch on October 1.

Again, even if the President had read PharmaReform, I’m certain CMS would have blown it off,  just as they have obviously ignored all the internal clues, information, and data demonstrating poor and functionally inoperable system performance of the site.  My assessment is that Healthcare.gov was doomed from the beginning.  Here are just a few of the issues that compromised the development and successful launch of Healthcare.gov.

  • Outdated IT procurement requirements limiting contractor selection, possibly precluding more capable and competent providers of IT services from participating in the bidding process (apparently the list of qualified vendors was compiled in 2007 … over 5 years ago and more than 2 years before the start of the project).
  • CMS blindly entrusted contractors depending on money (a virtually unlimited budget with hundreds of millions of dollars) and hiring lots of people rather than enlisting, securing, and deploying expertise to help build the site
  • Total incompetence at CMS in managing the project
  • Ignoring, suppressing, dismissing, or rationalizing bad news concerning the functional status of Healthcare.gov during development  
  • Total lack of coordination across the functional components of the project
  • The politically driven deadline (October 1)  wasn’t taken seriously by CMS leadership, contractors, project managers, and development teams until the final months leading up to the launch.
  • Poor, deceptive, if not outright dishonest communication about the status of Healthcare.gov, by contractors and HHS/CMS leadership to the Obama Administration and Congress

One of the most disappointing and frustrating take-aways from listening to the hearings is that this whole Healthcare.gov debacle could have been avoided had HHS and CMS management done their jobs.

mike@pharmareform.com

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