A desirable quality in a leader is the ability to accept responsibility for failure, even if that particular leader was not directly involved in the specifics of that failure. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius did not write the shoddy software that has led to massive glitches on the Healthcare.gov website, but in a Congressional hearing on October 30, she took full responsibility for the “debacle” that has been the site rollout. She extolled the elements of the Affordable Care Act that are working and insisted that the troubled website is “fixable.”
However, according to a memo obtained by CBS News, the White House was warned it was losing control of the program three years ago. David Cutler, a Harvard University economics professor and “trusted Obama health care adviser” warned the administration that favoring appointed bureaucrats over those with “experience in complex business start-ups.” Cutler proposed a group of people who had experience with both the political process and how to marry the execution of the law with the finale legislative framework.
After the act was signed into law on March 23, 2010 the White House shrouded the program in secrecy, because of continued Republican attacks to repeal or cripple the law, at a time when the program would have perhaps benefited from the maximum level of transparency. Days after the launch of the site, web developers were able to easily determine the source of many of the site’s problems. Had the Obama administration opted to “beta-test” the site before the October 1 launch, many of those simple glitches could have been identified and corrected.
The website problems only fuel the anti-Obamacare fires. An administration that ultimately came out of the government shutdown fight on top, has taken a massive credibility hit with each new revelation that many saw these problems coming.