Tuesday, October 01, 2013

ObozoCare IT Network Fail: Not News

The WSJ echoes what's been bandied about on the 'net for at least a few weeks.

...There are two key technological flaws in ObamaCare. First is the "hub"—the software to link servers at the Treasury Department, the Internal Revenue Service, Homeland Security and state agencies to verify the income and health-insurance status of enrollees and ensure that they are eligible for subsidies. The other flaw is the "portal"—the federally run IT platform that is supposed to let consumers compare health plans and select one that best suits their needs.

In planning ObamaCare's IT infrastructure, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) dawdled for more than a year under Administrator Donald Berwick until Marilyn Tavenner took over in December 2011. Even then the agency was slow to outsource key contracts and turned to what insiders say were not top-quality programmers. CMS did not sign a contract for a backstop system to process paper verifications and do paper verifications of online applications until July.

The Health and Human Services Department did not begin testing the chief pieces of this IT system until August. The testing found that states couldn't consistently link to the federal portal (a problem that persists in some states), and that the hub couldn't reliably verify if a person is eligible for a subsidy, or accurately calculate how much the applicant is eligible to receive. HHS prevented independent watchdogs, including its own inspector general, from examining the systems before they go live on Oct. 1. The result is a host of troublesome gaps and dangers.

Some techies have opined that to set up the network that ObozoCare requires, it would take between 3 and 5 YEARS, not least because vast amounts of new physical infrastructure must be built, acquired, and wired-in.

But the system will run, eventually.  It will also be open to fraud, security gaps big enough for an army to march through, and routine "fails" such as enrollment failures, unsubstantiated benefit-denials, etc.

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