Quotes of the day

posted at 10:41 pm on October 21, 2013 by Allahpundit

They’ve got a few weeks.

But if federal officials can’t get the new online insurance marketplace running smoothly by mid-November, the problems plaguing the 3-week-old website could become a far bigger threat to the success of the health law, hampering enrollment and fueling opponents’ calls to delay implementation, analysts say…

“If we’re not seeing a substantial improvement in the next two or three weeks, we’ll be in a bad place,” said , director of exchange technology at Leavitt Partners, a consulting firm. “We’re already behind the curve in getting to that 7 million mark.”

***

Public awareness of the new health insurance exchanges has risen substantially in the weeks since they opened, but only a small percentage of consumers have visited the sites. Most of those already have insurance and are simply trying to learn more about the program, according to a survey released on Monday by the Pew Research Center.

The survey found that only about 3 in 10 people thought the exchanges were working well. That appears to reflect widespread reports that many of the 34 states with exchanges run by the federal government have encountered technical problems, while state-run insurance exchanges appear to be functioning more smoothly…

Even among the uninsured who plan to visit the sites, many were not yet seriously thinking of the exchanges as a health insurance option. While 64 percent of uninsured Americans either have visited or plan to visit an exchange Web site, only 33 percent said they were looking at health insurance options for themselves and their families. Nearly as many (29 percent) said they had visited or planned to visit the sites but only to learn about the exchanges, not to look at options for themselves, the survey found.

***

President Obama said Monday he’s “frustrated” by the disastrous launch of an online computer marketplace for Obamacare. Here are five reasons why frustration isn’t enough. He should be frightened…

Nobody expects the chief executive to be reviewing computer code or hosting East Room “hackathons.” But this falls on him. The CEO of a corporation or country is uniquely responsible for making sure the team is on task, and he or she is ultimately responsible if it’s not. In Obama’s case, did he demand thorough updates on the progress of the site? If so, did he ask the right questions? Did he put the right people on the job in the first place? Given the horrid first days of Obamacare, the answer to at least one of those questions must be “no.”

***

The names on the team coming in to fix the site? The Obama administration isn’t saying.

“I don’t have a list of names, but they include people from within the federal government and from the private sector,” a Department Of Health And Human Services official told BuzzFeed. The official referred questions about team to a Sunday HHS blog post that described “a tech surge” on its way to fix the troubled site…

During the daily White House press briefing shortly after Obama’s speech, Press Secretary Jay Carney declined to say who was on the team and referred questions to HHS.

***

Anyone who has been part of a federal project that involves technical work performed by contractors has got to be shaking his head today at the vision of outsiders swooping into a massive project and fixing complex mistakes. The attempt to integrate new people with very high opinions of their own technical prowess into this mind-numbingly complicated undertaking will involve a lot of unpleasant meetings that waste the time of people who should be working on the site, the endeavor will be severely hamstrung by the basic character of federal contracting work (in which the four corners of the contract are everything and rules matter more than goals), and it will all only delay the inevitable end game—which is that the contractors who screwed this up will need to be the people who unscrew it, they will do it slowly and clumsily, and they will get paid handsomely by the taxpayer for the additional work.

***

Putting a positive spin on things, they said that people appear to really value the opportunity to talk something as important as health insurance over with an actual human being. Still, it’s fairly obvious that heavy reliance on phone calls was not part of Plan A for the rollout. One major tell is that the phone number—1-800-318-2596—is just a random string of digits rather than something more memorable. Health and Human Services runs a 1-800-MEDICARE phone number for questions about Medicare, but they didn’t get 1-800-OBAMACARE or anything similar.

Now one question I had about this new emphasis on “alternate pathways” is whether that really solves the problem. After all, if you apply on the phone, that just means someone is on the other side of the phone call punching information into a computer. The officials assure us that the “data hub” that a phone answerer would be querying to run this part of the application does in fact work, so people should be able to sign up by phone regardless of problems with the customer-facing website. On the other hand, there are obviously substantial bottlenecks in terms of the actual number of people available to answer calls. This just isn’t the way the administration anticipated people signing up, and to get real volume of people in plans, they’re going to need to make the website work.

***

While the administration is urging patience, Democrats who will face voters in a little over a year don’t have the luxury of time. They’re having to make decisions now about how to position themselves if the administration continues to struggle with implementing the central piece of a law they supported.

Democratic political strategists are racing to find the safest ground for 2014 House and Senate candidates who support the law but don’t want to be dragged down if things don’t get better — and fast. “Democrats running in 2014 need to be for fixing health care and need to run hard against those that want to repeal and defund it. They shouldn’t own responsibility for problems with the law or its implementation,” said one Democratic Party operative.

In another potentially troubling sign for the White House, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin of Illinois, said on “Fox News Sunday” that Sebelius will, at some point, have to testify on the Hill.

Several Democrats told POLITICO they aren’t getting good answers either, even in private.

***

Insurance executives said in interviews that they were frustrated because they did not know the government’s plan or schedule for repairs. Insurers have found that the system provides them with incorrect information about some enrollees, repeatedly enrolls and cancels the enrollments of others, and simply loses the enrollments of still others.

Correcting those errors, specialists said, could require extensive rewriting of software code. Insurers said it could be weeks before their data and the government’s could be reconciled…

According to one specialist, the Web site contains about 500 million lines of software code. By comparison, a large bank’s computer system is typically about one-fifth that size.

***

In New York, one of only 16 states that has its own exchange, not one person had succeeded in using the site to enroll in a plan as of Friday.

Donna Frescatore, director of the New York State of Health marketplace, said Friday that 134,000 people had registered and shopped on the state’s online health care site since its Oct. 1 launch, and thousands signed up to enroll in a plan.

But the state has repeatedly delayed electronically transmitting those users’ data to insurers offering health plans.

The department, which held off in order to verify the accuracy of the information users submitted, said it would transfer the first batch of enrollees’ data — which includes thousands of transactions — as early as Friday night.

***

Consumer Reports, which publishes reviews of consumer products and services, advised its readers to avoid the federal health-care exchange “for at least another month if you can.” “Hopefully that will be long enough for its software vendors to clean up the mess they’ve made,” the magazine said, having tested the site themselves over the course of the past three weeks.

Noting that only 271,000 of the 9.47 million people who tried signing up in the first week managed to create an account, Consumer Reports then provided a few tips to those attempting to slog through the application process. From attempting successive logins because “error messages . . . may not always match reality” to checking one’s inbox frequently because missing an e-mail a user will be timed out of the site and forced to start from square one, none of the suggestions guaranteed success.

***

“The whole thing it wasn’t just one bad decision,” Slate’s Jacob Weisberg said. “It was architected wrong. There was clearly nobody in charge of this process who could manage it. But this is a huge, complicated, difficult process, and I guess I’m disappointed that someone who had pretenses of being the first tech president didn’t have his head wrapped around it enough to take those problems on. Even the president should have known that you beta test a piece of software like this.”…

“One of the reasons the technology worked so well in the campaign and may not work so well here is we didn’t outsource the campaign technology to the lowest bidder,” Gibbs said.

“There should be a tech surge,” he continued. “There should be not just the best and the brightest in Washington, but the best and the brightest from Silicon Valley who make this work every single day…Those people should be brought in to do triage, to get this system working, because we don’t have an option. This really is Ed Harris in Apollo 13: failure isn’t an option. The website can’t stop. We have to fix it as we’re doing this enrollment. It all has to be simultaneous, which is going to require a lot of really smart people in the room working on this twenty-four hours a day.”

***

Among uninsured Americans, 59% now say an exchange is available in their state, up from 50% a month ago. Yet there is no shift in the share of uninsured who say they plan to get insurance because of the new law that requires individuals to sign up by the end of the year.

Most uninsured Americans (65%) say they plan to get health insurance over the course of the next six months, but just 26% say this is because of the new health care law while 38% say they had planned to get insurance anyway. These proportions are little changed from last month.

***

But the failed rollout has already raised ideological issues of broader significance. It has reinforced a widely held, preexisting belief that government-run health systems are bureaucratic nightmares. And it has added credence to the libertarian argument that some human systems are too complex to be effectively managed. Perhaps the problem with Obamacare is not failed leadership but rather the whole project of putting a federal agency, 55 contractors and 500 million lines of software code in charge of a health system intended to cover millions of Americans.

I am not a libertarian who argues against the need for programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. But Friedrich Hayek has this much going for him: He understood that the challenge of technocratic planning is always limited information: “The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess.”

Which is why planning tends to fail, particularly in highly complex systems. “This is not a dispute about whether planning is to be done or not,” Hayek said. “It is a dispute as to whether planning is to be done centrally, by one authority for the whole economic system, or is to be divided among many individuals.”

So maybe the problem is not Obama or Sebelius but rather a government program that requires superhuman technocratic mastery.

***

“No one beta-tested the site, which is almost criminal if you think about it.”​

***

“Five days before the launch, the president said it’s a website where you can compare and purchase affordable health care plans, the same way you shop for a plane ticket on Kayak. Who misled him? Who misled the president on this? Are you telling me five days before that somebody let the president go out to the American public to give this speech and say this and make this promise? In fact, the next line is: I promise you, this is a lot easier, it’s like booking a hotel or plane ticket. Who let him down?”

***



Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

Dire Straits on October 22, 2013 at 2:19 AM

you have Creditability and Liberal in the same thought…
see what you did there…
what were ya thinking..

not one with any creditability in the lot…

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 2:26 AM

going to hell in a bucket….

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 2:12 AM

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – “Fire”

Anti-Control on October 22, 2013 at 2:30 AM

evening AC…

one of these days
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgvAwBDbuIo

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 2:34 AM

evening AC…

one of these days

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 2:34 AM

G/e, g2m, how are you? I myself am feeling pretty much like this right now:

Blue Öyster Cult – “Godzilla”

Anti-Control on October 22, 2013 at 2:40 AM

arthur brown….
wild stuff…great video..

(you know this country had
no idea what one trillion
dollars in debt was when
that tune was made)

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 2:44 AM

Sometimes we just need something gentle and spiritual to soothe our souls….

williamg on October 22, 2013 at 2:04 AM

That’s not what I need! :)

The Who – “Let’s See Action”

Anti-Control on October 22, 2013 at 2:47 AM

….Yeah, but g2m – did you dig the solo in that Sam Cooke number? It was like a convocation of Archangels had gathered to chime a sparkling collection of clear, heavenly Crystal Bells…..

williamg on October 22, 2013 at 2:49 AM

….I should say g2m and A/C…..

williamg on October 22, 2013 at 2:52 AM

not one with any creditability in the lot…

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 2:26 AM

Agree fully..:)

Dire Straits on October 22, 2013 at 2:54 AM

williamg on October 22, 2013 at 2:49 AM

i loved it…
ive seen the dead many times..
my fav was…’the dead at the sea’
ventura county speedway show in like 82ish…
yes i had the ten dollar tea befor admission…
there you beat it out of me..

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 2:54 AM

prager and kennedy on red eye
if your inclined.

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 3:05 AM

arthur brown….
wild stuff…great video..

Yep! :)

(you know this country had
no idea what one trillion
dollars in debt was when
that tune was made)

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 2:44 AM

:(

I think we need a reset…

The Faces – “Ooh La La”

Anti-Control on October 22, 2013 at 3:07 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwHQyechNm0

incase youve not heard this one AC…
this kid understands the instrument top to bottom..

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 3:15 AM

For williamg:

Marion Williams – “It Is Well with My Soul”

Anti-Control on October 22, 2013 at 3:18 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3drqJ1bUmEA

the count…and oscar peterson…slow blues

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 3:35 AM

incase youve not heard this one AC…
this kid understands the instrument top to bottom..

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 3:15 AM

Yes, he does. I do wish he was more soulful in his playing, though.

John Mayall with Peter Green – “The Stumble” (live 1967)

Anti-Control on October 22, 2013 at 3:36 AM

Yes, he does. I do wish he was more soulful in his playing, though.
Anti-Control on October 22, 2013 at 3:36 AM

he will…they all get slower…all of em..
but if you could play like that
would you ever leave the basement ???

diggin the stumble..

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 3:41 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6up076lSH8

this is how we’ll feel after a few years of O-care..
tied to the whipping post..

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 3:45 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VC02wGj5gPw

this guy slowed down…more soulful..

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 3:53 AM

The Only Ones – “The Beast” (Peel Session 1978)

Run from the beast
There’s danger in his eyes
He’s been looking for you for a long time
You might think this is funny but I’m not laughing
I know it couldn’t happen to me

No one doubts the wisdom of this move
You’re getting older and you know you got something to prove

Out in the street
The modern vampire prowls
He’s been spreading disease all around
There’s an epidemic if you don’t believe me
You ought to take a look at the eyes of your friends

When someone tempts you you can’t refuse
It’s getting colder and you know you got nothing to lose
You need it
Know you got nothing to lose
You need it

Run from the beast
There’s darkness in his mind
He’s been looking for you for a long time
You might think this is funny but I’m not laughing
I know that it couldn’t happen to me
I don’t care about it happening to me

I’ve tried to show you your whole life in print
You can lead a horse to water but
You can’t make him drink think about it
All you gotta do is think
About it

There’s no cure

Anti-Control on October 22, 2013 at 3:54 AM

he will…they all get slower…all of em..

If he hasn’t by now, I’m not so sure! :)

but if you could play like that
would you ever leave the basement ???

Yes, I’d be out playing in a band!

diggin the stumble..

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 3:41 AM

I think that’s my fave version…

this is how we’ll feel after a few years of O-care..
tied to the whipping post..

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 3:45 AM

If it lasts that long, yes, but I’ll admit that I don’t believe it can…

this guy slowed down…more soulful..

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 3:53 AM

Jeff always had it! :)

The Yardbirds – “I Ain’t Done Wrong”

Good seeing you, g2m, I’ve got to go now…

Anti-Control on October 22, 2013 at 4:02 AM

im out too AC…
thanks for the tunes,,caio

to those of you just getting up
something for your coffee..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoPUDOgcFWY

going2mars on October 22, 2013 at 4:23 AM

here was clearly nobody in charge of this process who could manage it. But this is a huge, complicated, difficult process, and I guess I’m disappointed that someone who had pretenses of being the first tech president didn’t have his head wrapped around it enough to take those problems on. Even the president should have known that you beta test a piece of software like this.”…

Come on! Just because he was in love with his crackberry before coming into office does not make him a tech president. Next they’ll be telling us that he’s a serious gearhead cuz he can drive a stick shift without grinding em and because of that he knows how to take on tech problems in the automotive world. Wait, fisker comes to mind….

That’s like saying my 5 year old is the first tech kindergartener because he can do stuff with my smart phone that I haven’t yet figured out let alone master. Yet I’m an IT /SAP Program Manager and decent coder…

Using does not equate with building. granted the author did preface that crack with “had pretenses of…” so begging the question, from whence came the notion that Oboobi had his head wrapped around anything (other than his narcistic ego)

Face it Oboobi has no brains and proves it every time he opens his mouth

AH_C on October 22, 2013 at 5:25 AM

Someone should photoshop Obama as Norman Bates slashing American health care to death.

VorDaj on October 22, 2013 at 5:26 AM

Good Morning, Patriots!

Americans oppose Obamacare because they understand that it is inconsistent with our liberties and our idea of limited government and that it will destroy the best health care system in the world.

- David Limbaugh
My take: “Obama’s Website Speech: Would You Buy a Used Car From This Man?”

kingsjester on October 22, 2013 at 6:34 AM

Obama had always had a high estimation of his ability to cast and run his operation. When David Plouffe, his campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning: “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

The solution to your problem chump is that you’ve been pretending to be President. How about turning that over to somebody less qualified than you, and you can get to work writing code. I’ll chip in for the first truckload of Pepsi/Coke to keep you going.

moo on October 22, 2013 at 6:42 AM

The names on the team coming in to fix the site? The Obama administration isn’t saying.

TOP people.

Cleombrotus on October 22, 2013 at 6:55 AM

Cleombrotus on October 22, 2013 at 6:55 AM

There is a reason Verizon is being called in. Read my blog.

kingsjester on October 22, 2013 at 6:59 AM

The solution to your problem chump is that you’ve been pretending to be President. How about turning that over to somebody less qualified than you, and you can get to work writing code. I’ll chip in for the first truckload of Pepsi/Coke to keep you going.

moo on October 22, 2013 at 6:42 AM

“Even though I literally have no experience with the subject, I think I’m a better computer programmer than those completely inept foreigners we hired to design HealthCare.gov. I mean, come on, how could I not be?” humble President Choom told reporters.

Anti-Control on October 22, 2013 at 7:06 AM

Mika got thru to the call center just fine and dandy what are three folks complaining about?
/

Defend this admin to the bitter end

cmsinaz on October 22, 2013 at 7:36 AM

My take: “Obama’s Website Speech: Would You Buy a Used Car From This Man?”

kingsjester on October 22, 2013 at 6:34 AM

…JugEars has turned this nation…into a used car!

KOOLAID2 on October 22, 2013 at 7:39 AM

“The whole thing it wasn’t just one bad decision,” Slate’s Jacob Weisberg said. “It was architected wrong. There was clearly nobody in charge of this process who could manage it. But this is a huge, complicated, difficult process, and I guess I’m disappointed that someone who had pretenses of being the first tech president didn’t have his head wrapped around it enough to take those problems on.

He used a Blackberry. That was the extent of his technical knowledge. He has no experience in software development, large scale system deployment or even in writing code. He has as much knowledge of an internal combustion engine as he does of how a laptop works: they are both magical devices that do things and he couldn’t tell if a part was a spark plug or a stick of RAM.

“There should be a tech surge,” he continued.

This isn’t Iraq, young feller’m’lad, but a problem of software design, development, code checking, scale checking and roll out. More people now will just SLOW DOWN THE ENTIRE SYSTEM as the Mythical Man Month takes hold and a bunch of people who don’t know about the system as it is developed so far need to be brought up to speed. With 500 million lines of code, that isn’t happening in one month or even two, no matter how modular it is that is a lot of code to deal with and when it is in a complicated early tech era web structure it is a horror to go through.

Strange that the very writer calling the President a ‘tech President’ doesn’t seem to know a thing about large scale software projects and their problems. It is really quite simple: name the last ‘tech surge’ that worked and delivered something useful. If you can’t do that then you have no idea what it is you are asking for. Code architecture for an on-going project isn’t something with a bunch of replaceable parts called ‘experts’ but a team of individuals who have deep knowledge of what they designed and built… unless its been in a Death March and they long since left the project and you are on generation 3,4,5 or maybe even 6 by now. In which case the ‘tech surge’ will get caught in a quagmire… and calling in Verizon with its bloatware, semi-spyware, awful FiOS residential software and horrific customer service won’t help, either, as they are CLUELESS on how to actually deal with the technology they HAVE.

So President Blackberry calling in Verizon, a creaky behemoth that is not too big to fail just might be the actual Death Spiral and Vortex that was once Obamacare.

Good riddance!

The government telling you to get something from it or pay a fine, and being unable to provide it leaves the government open to the largest class action lawsuit in history. Only Congress could shield it and you can bet that isn’t going to happen in the House. And all the money to pay out of those lawsuits comes from the offending program: Obamacare.

The Senate couldn’t defund it.

Now it is left to the American People to strip it bare.

ajacksonian on October 22, 2013 at 8:03 AM

My take: “Obama’s Website Speech: Would You Buy a Used Car From This Man?”

kingsjester on October 22, 2013 at 6:34 AM

Obama doesn’t do used cars. Remember cash for clunkers?

Happy Nomad on October 22, 2013 at 8:08 AM

I wish this site would have covered the protests against the film “Ender’s Game” over Orson Scott Card’s mainstream views on gay marriage.

bluegill on October 22, 2013 at 8:14 AM

Cleombrotus on October 22, 2013 at 6:55 AM
There is a reason Verizon is being called in. Read my blog.
kingsjester on October 22, 2013 at 6:59 AM

And yet, there’s still no groundswell of public opinion against this commie and his administration.

Cleombrotus on October 22, 2013 at 8:48 AM

Cleombrotus on October 22, 2013 at 8:48 AM

The silece of the lambs.

kingsjester on October 22, 2013 at 8:53 AM

silence

kingsjester on October 22, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Nobody “misled” the President. He was blowing smoke out his a$$ as always.

WannabeAnglican on October 22, 2013 at 9:01 AM

kingsjester on October 22, 2013 at 6:34 AM

KJ, don’t forget, Prez. ShamWow doesn’t even know how car insurance works,

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/02/26/obamateurism-of-the-day-218/

When I was young, just got out of college, I had to buy auto insurance. I had a beat-up old car. And I won’t name the name of the insurance company, but there was a company — let’s call it Acme Insurance in Illinois. And I was paying my premiums every month. After about six months I got rear-ended and I called up Acme and said, I’d like to see if I can get my car repaired, and they at me over the phone because really this was set up not to actually provide insurance; what it was set up was to meet the legal requirements. But it really wasn’t serious insurance.

Now, it’s one thing if you’ve got an old beat-up car that you can’t get fixed. It’s another thing if your kid is sick, or you’ve got breast cancer.

“they laughed at me over the phone because really this was set up not to actually provide insurance”
Ha! Just like Obamacare! He told the truth back in 2010.

Brat on October 22, 2013 at 9:02 AM

From the Pew poll: “…a plurality of Democrats (44%) say the exchanges are working well…”

ROFL, Industrial Strength Denial!

DaMav on October 22, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4