GAO investigation: Why, yes, the disaster was the result of terrible government management

I know what you’re thinking because I’m thinking the same thing: “It seems so out of character.”

We knew some of this before, but it’s nice to have an arm of the federal government itself acknowledge just how badly Team Hopenchange blew it on their big technocratic showpiece. It’s the perfect way to mark O dropping to 39/55 in Gallup’s job approval metric, tied for the lowest single-day mark of his presidency.

Investigators found that the administration kept changing the contractors’ marching orders for the website, creating widespread confusion and leading to tens of millions of dollars in additional costs. Changes were ordered in seemingly willy-nilly fashion, including 40 times when government officials did not have the initial authority to incur additional costs…

GAO concluded:

— Contractors were not given a coherent plan, and instead they were kept jumping around from issue to issue.

— The cost of the sign-up system ballooned from $56 million to more than $209 million from Sept. 2011 to Feb. 2014. The cost of the electronic backroom jumped from $30 million to almost $85 million.

— CMS, representing the administration, failed to follow up on how well the contractors performed. At one point the agency notified one contractor it was so dissatisfied it would start withholding payments. Then it quickly rescinded that decision.

The contract for was open-ended too, ensuring little restraint on costs. The result: $840 million spent on the website, which includes $150 million in cost overruns on the initial version of that basically no one could access for the first month. The law itself will operate efficiently, though, I’m sure.

Via Guy Benson, here the CEO of Aetna admitting that consumers in their new ObamaCare exchange risk pool are in fact a bit older and sicker than they expected, and also that they’re already seeing some attrition among consumers — but he can’t tell for sure whether it’s “young invincibles” who are peeling off or some of the sicker adults because … the back end of, which handles payment processing, still hasn’t been built yet. $840 million and counting.