ObamaCare contractors: Yeah, we really should have been given months for testing

posted at 4:01 pm on October 24, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

There was finger-pointing aplenty in today’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the healthcare rollout, as Ed predicted there would be from the prepared testimony; from other contractors to the federal administrators, from the supposedly prohibitive logjam of traffic to the “tyranny of the October 1st date” to last-minute changes disabling people from browsing without registering, there was much hemming and hawing over why, in the months leading up to it, “top administrators and lead contractors appeared before this committee, looked us in the eye, and assured us repeatedly that everything was on track,” as Chairman Fred Upton put it. Via Reuters:

One of the lead contractors responsible for developing the government’s troubled health-care website said Thursday his company warned the Obama administration about rollout risks, while another expressed confidence that it will be fixed in time for benefits to go live on Jan. 1.

Andrew Slavitt, executive vice president with the parent of Quality Software Services Inc. (QSSI), said his company told the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of concerns about testing the Healthcare.gov website.

“We expressed all of those concerns and risks,” Slavitt said in testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, without immediately elaborating on what those concerns were. …

“The system is working. People are enrolling. But people will be able to enroll at a faster pace,” said Cheryl Campbell, senior vice president at CGI Federal. …

Slavitt blamed the administration, saying that a late decision to require consumers to create accounts before they could browse health plans contributed to the overload. “This may have driven higher simultaneous usage of the registration system that wouldn’t have occurred if consumers could window-shop anonymously,” he said.

Despite Campbell having noted in her prepared remarks that “no amount of testing within reasonable time limits can adequately replicate a live environment of this nature,” the contractors all more or less attested that the less than two weeks of testing that did go down was grossly, negligently inadequate. Rep. Greg Walden took them to the woodshed:

And as the Democrat representing Silicon Valley Rep. Anna Eshool pointed out, “high volumes” is a pretty lame excuse for what’s causing all of the website problems. There are plenty of websites that get way more traffic without crashing, and I would add that underestimating the volume of people checking out a website for a product that they are now legally required to purchase is borderline farcical.

Secretary Sebelius and other healthcare officials are set to testify in front of the committee on Thursday of next week; reconciling their stories with the ones presented today in any sort of flattering light is going to be quite the task.


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Obama failing is so sweet.

May he have many repeat performances.

The Rock on October 24, 2013 at 4:04 PM

“Yeah but, there are single moms out there with breast cancer! We don’t have time to test this thing!” -Jay Carney

Akzed on October 24, 2013 at 4:07 PM

If it weren’t for the GOPe and GOPe-media to tell us differently, you would almost think Ted Cruz was right.

/s

GOPe-media narrative/Kneepad Media narrative – the website IS the problem.

In reality, Obamacare as POLICY will be a SUICIDE PACT for the American economy if it ISN’T repealed.

PolAgnostic on October 24, 2013 at 4:08 PM

What does $1 billion and three years buy you?

Liberal excuses.

Murphy9 on October 24, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Any contractor could tell you, like these folks did: you only build and test to the specs of the contract. If you start running up requested tests, you’re not gong to get paid, and wind up on a perpetual fishing expedition with the client.

The missing people on the panel today would be the project manager from CMS, along with the contracts negotiator. If time for testing wasn’t put in the contract, it wasn’t going to happen. Not the contractors’ fault if the client didn’t request the service.

DarthBrooks on October 24, 2013 at 4:10 PM

If I ran the Republican Party I would have passed two continuing resolutions:

1. Defunds Obama (doesn’t) Care.
2. Funds Obama (doesn’t) Care and but prohibits all exemptions. None for Congress, unions, etc.

Then I would have gone into recess an not come back until one of them was approved. If Obama complained I would simply say; “Obama just wants to play favorites and descriminate against those who don’t support him.”

Force him to choose. Let all Americans feel the full force of Obama Care as quickly as possible.

I would not pass any changes, no fixes, nothing. The only possible change would be full repeal.

The Democrats would lead the charge to reapal this mess.

The Rock on October 24, 2013 at 4:10 PM

“Unrequested” not “up requested.”

Damn you, autocorrect.

DarthBrooks on October 24, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Last I heard QSSI’s Zilog Z-80 microprocessor trying to choke down this program was glowing like a charcoal briquette.

viking01 on October 24, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Today Rep. Pallone (D-NJ) called the Obamacare hearings a Monkey Court.

Imagine the weapons grade outrage we would have heard from the left if any Republican had used that label.

fogw on October 24, 2013 at 4:12 PM

“Delay it” could be cast as a more or less reasonable, even conservative plea, so that after it has been brought back after a few months those who want it repealed will be told they got their inch now they want a mile.

Akzed on October 24, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Hope And Change takes months to test.

And 100s of millions of $$…

Electrongod on October 24, 2013 at 4:15 PM

This was not a strong (or exculpatory) performance by these contractors. If anything it makes Obama and his minions looks even worse since they thought they knew better than the IT folks about when it should go live. The fact that you have Dem’s in quasi-teeth knashing mode over this screams that they are near white knuckled panic mode.

None of this is going to matter though because the final enrollment numbers are going to stink to high heaven. No young healthy person will spend $3-4k year for something they’ll never use. But, if the recent reports the the WH is telling the carriers to keep mum re:enrollment are to be believed (some have suggested that some states are seeing single digit enrollments – per day!) then the repubs need only to step out of the way and let this stinking behemoth burn down on its own.

volnation on October 24, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Fixing the website will not fix the problems that are endemic within the ACA.

In any company in the private sector whether in the technology field like HP, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Dell, et al to those Fortune 100 companies that might undertake enterprise level software initiatives like Exxon, AIG, Aetna, McDonalds, or Boeing….there is one clear constant.

In the event of a $600M fail upon the launch of a major initiative, many many heads would be rolling. In fact, there are some who would be bounced out so hard, they’d have to find a new career as their reputation would be completely trashed.

But here – with big government Obama-style – not only are the government employees not having to worry about being sacked for their obvious fecklessness and incompetence, but the circular finger point dance of the ‘experts’ tasked with most of the work, also have little to fear about being sacked and held financially accountable for their role in the failure.

Adding to the insanity of this, the same feckless and incompetents who created the epic clusterfark are now being empowered to fix the epic clusterfark and bring us the EpicClusterFarkNado 2.0 while not one is doing anything to address the core problems.

I’m beginning to think that they only way big government / the public sector is better than the private sector is in how the public sector makes it a lot easier for the feckless and incompetent to keep their jobs.

Athos on October 24, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Three years! You had three f$cking years!
You cannot polish a turd.

HornetSting on October 24, 2013 at 4:21 PM

The law had hard and fast deadlines for software completion as part of the statutory requirement.

Congress decided on how long software would take to be designed and delivered.

The law is the problem.

ajacksonian on October 24, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Howdy Hornet!

—————-

Prognosis – Good

Patients – Dead

Schadenfreude on October 24, 2013 at 4:25 PM

The webserver ate my homework — Barack Obama

18-1 on October 24, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Congress decided on how long software would take to be designed and delivered.

The law is the problem.

This is a pretty good reminder at how good government is at most services and products.

If they can’t get the website to order your health insurance through right, why on earth should you want them to be in charge of your actual healthcare?!?

18-1 on October 24, 2013 at 4:28 PM

less than two weeks of testing

Yeah, as a former project manager, I’d say that’s about right for testing a system of this magnitude.

TWO WEEKS ????????? bwah-hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Criminy, even a non-IT person might think, “Do you really think two weeks is enough time for testing?”

williampeck1958 on October 24, 2013 at 4:35 PM

TWO WEEKS ????????? bwah-hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Criminy, even a non-IT person might think, “Do you really think two weeks is enough time for testing?

One does not test a god or his holy relics – Barack Obama (PBUH)

18-1 on October 24, 2013 at 4:36 PM

So the contractors are saying they were incapable of idntifying the deadline for use requirement and setting their internal deadlines appropriately?

The incompetence boggles the mind.

talkingpoints on October 24, 2013 at 4:37 PM

The webserver ate my homework — Barack Obama

18-1 on October 24, 2013 at 4:26 PM

No, the dog ate his homework. Then, he ate the dog.

Anyway, the homework is gone.

The webserver ate the insurance.

We all get to eat shi…

trigon on October 24, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Publicly traded companies…?

d1carter on October 24, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Any contractor could tell you, like these folks did: you only build and test to the specs of the contract. If you start running up requested tests, you’re not gong to get paid, and wind up on a perpetual fishing expedition with the client.

The missing people on the panel today would be the project manager from CMS, along with the contracts negotiator. If time for testing wasn’t put in the contract, it wasn’t going to happen. Not the contractors’ fault if the client didn’t request the service.

DarthBrooks on October 24, 2013 at 4:10 PM

You know what else CMS isn’t planning on testing? The ICD 10 code rollout slated for… duh, duh, duhhhh! October 1st, 2014. Seriously. They didn’t budget for early testing. No plans (known) currently.

WitchDoctor on October 24, 2013 at 4:48 PM

I don’t understand the point of these hearings if no one will be held accountable in the end. No one’s getting fired. Who has the power to punish people here???

Dongemaharu on October 24, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Who cares if it works or not.Spare parts and government contracts for 25 years.
Dick Jones OTC Detroit.

docflash on October 24, 2013 at 4:49 PM

42 months… 11,588,500 words of regulations and law… about $500,000,000 of tax payer funds to date… gutting Medicare for $1 Trillion of funding…using every arcane and nefarious means the Democrats could dredge up or manufacture … purging the Democrat party of ‘conservative Democrats’ by forcing them to vote lock step for this legislation that their constituents opposed…undermining the health care of ALL Americans…ending the right to personal privacy… jeopardizing 1/6th of the entire U.S. economy…forcing employers to cut full time employees back to part time status, 29 hours per week… causing thousands upon thousands of Americans to lose their health care coverage completely… a president blithely legislating from his desk to give his donors and friends waivers, exemptions, and exception to this law he has forced upon the rest of America and bragging that he has bypassed congress, the branch of the government mandated the sole authority to make or change the law, while he does it…

… so that Barrack Obama could claim a ‘signature achievement’.

When, do you suppose, enough will be… enough?

thatsafactjack on October 24, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Microsoft Bob had more than two weeks of testing.

So did the Apple Newton.

WindowsME had more than two weeks of testing.

Any major software project that has been tried which has to go out the door in a workable state gets more than two weeks of testing.

All of them had weeks if not months of Alpha and Beta testing before the last round of tests would happen before it ever walked out the door.

It was not even tested properly internally.

At two weeks your code is not even at the Beta Stage.

It is Alpha Code.

And it shows.

ajacksonian on October 24, 2013 at 4:52 PM

BWaaahhahahahahahahahahaha

Pass the freakin popcorn, this is great theater.

Please Lord let there be a slate of liberty minded canidates lining up for 2014, Amen.

D-fusit on October 24, 2013 at 4:54 PM

What kind of company signs up for a software project that it knows is a Death March and a failure at the start?

A crony company that kicks money back to parties and politicians.

Leftists should be screaming bloody murder: these companies were just in it for the money, only the money and just the money. This is what the Left supposedly hates. Yet their response is silence when it happens on projects they WANT.

You on the Left wanted this and now you can see what your high aspirations and ideals get you. Thank you for being silent and consenting to cronyism: don’t bother complaining about it ever again.

ajacksonian on October 24, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Here’s when the Obama Administration decides to hold someone accountable and responsible regarding Obamacare…

OBAMACARE OPERATOR FIRED AFTER TAKING CALL FROM HANNITY…

On Monday, after the President’s Rose Garden infomercial for Obamacare pitching 1-800-F1UCKYO as the ‘go to’ number to call for signing up for Obamacare, radio talk host Sean Hannity called the number…

and the result was embarrassing for the Administration.

Now, we learn from Hannity that the operator he spoke to, and who tried to help him on Monday, admitting to problems with the process, was sacked by the Obama Administration….

SEAN HANNITY: Something happened between the time we made that call to you, and now, what happened?

ERLING DAVIS: They fired me from my job.

HANNITY: Because of the phone call, the information that you gave us?

DAVIS: Yes sir.

Hannity is going to give Erling Davis one year’s salary ($26,000) and help her find a new job.

Read more at the link, but it sounds like she’s being scapegoated for telling the truth to the wrong person.

Athos on October 24, 2013 at 5:20 PM

Three years! You had three f$cking years!
You cannot polish a turd.

HornetSting on October 24, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Easy there, partner. Cheryl Campbell worked so damn hard on this project that she couldn’t even find time to go to the orthodontist.

/yes, that is quite snarky, but how do you become the senior vice president of a multi million dollar corporation when you could drive a truck through the gaps between her teeth? Most executives at that level are quite ardent about taking care of themselves.

NOMOBO on October 24, 2013 at 5:20 PM

Despite Campbell having noted in her prepared remarks that “no amount of testing within reasonable time limits can adequately replicate a live environment of this nature,” the contractors all more or less attested that the less than two weeks of testing that did go down was grossly, negligently inadequate.

Obamacare passed Congress in March 2010, or 42 months (182 weeks) before the October 1, 2013 deadline for the website. Why were the developers only allowed two weeks to test it, or only 1.1% of the available time?

Steve Z on October 24, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Why were the developers only allowed two weeks to test it, or only 1.1% of the available time?

Steve Z on October 24, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Screw that. I want to know why it was a no-bid contract when we taxpayers spent well over half a billion on this mess. Why wasn’t there a competitive bid process? I was involved in a government contract that was “only” about $1.5M and there were multiple companies vying for the job. Here’s a cash cow and a Canadian company with an awful track record is the only one on the whole planet that can do it? Why no compete?

CGI Federal proved they can’t deliver which is why I think their VP was a Pollyanna at the hearings today. According to her, all will be right by the end of November! It’s damage control because their company is toast after this.

Happy Nomad on October 24, 2013 at 7:00 PM

I find it bittersweet, that after Aaaaallll the things Barry & Co have *totally* jacked…that it’s a “Website for Shlubs” failure, that finally incenses the masses to a negative reaction.

Fast & Furious
Benghazi
Black Panther Protection by DOJ
Failure to meet ONE campaign promise
NSA spying on …well hell, EVERYONE
TSA violating pretty much every civil right you have
Amnesty and handout programs for Millions of illegal aliens
Borrowing and printing so much fake money…we can’t even write it on a sheet of notebook paper anymore.
Bowing and scraping to every second-hand despot shitbag on the planet.
The ridiculous “Red-Line…well, maybe Purple..well..not really a *line* so much as ..a ‘friendly suggestion’” “Ah hell, lemme be Putin’s bitch.

and it’s because of the crash of a “gimme free”, leftist-utopian, ridiculously promised WEB SITE …that finally makes people angry at the skinny dipshit responsible for it all… hmmm.

a5minmajor on October 24, 2013 at 7:03 PM

/yes, that is quite snarky, but how do you become the senior vice president of a multi million dollar corporation when you could drive a truck through the gaps between her teeth? Most executives at that level are quite ardent about taking care of themselves.

NOMOBO on October 24, 2013 at 5:20 PM

She’s a FOB…a “friend” of barry.

That gap serves a vital purpose.

Solaratov on October 24, 2013 at 7:25 PM

I’m waiting to some court to say “No, you can’t fine millions of Americans for not buying what you can’t sell them.” Once the first court does it, any court that refuses, no matter what circuit, is going to be a laughingstock. I don’t see how SCOTUS could refuse to support the injunction. If they don’t, they will be putting the legitimacy of the Court in danger.

And with that, it will be harder for SCOTUS to let the feds impose fines for not using unavailable biofuels.

njcommuter on October 25, 2013 at 8:53 AM