Experts now say that Healthcare.gov, the government portal to the new health insurance exchanges, never had a chance of handling the volume of visitors it was likely to get upon the Obamacare rollout.
Part of the issue stemmed from the Medicare and Medicaid agency assuming control over software and databases — a role that was better suited to a lead contractor.
As far back as September 2011, a progress report noted that there were not enough government workers “to manage the multiple activities and contractors happening concurrently,” according to the New York Times.
In a February interview with the Times, one insurance executive said, “We foresee a train wreck. We don’t have the I.T. specifications. The level of angst in health plans is growing by leaps and bounds. The political people in the administration do not understand how far behind they are.”
Said Richard S. Foster, former chief actuary of Medicare, “So much testing of the new system was so far behind schedule, I was not confident it would work well.”
According to the Washington Examiner, officials at the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid only entertained one company’s bid to design the Obamacare website. The company, CGI Federal, was plagued with a history of problems.
“Whenever you have limited competition, but certainly with a sole source or a one-bid offer, the government has to question whether it is going to get the best product at the best price,” said Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight, in an interview with the Examiner.
Amey also noted, “By putting in tight turn-around times, creating something that was brand new in a year, they had a very tight schedule that required them to use the existing contract rather than starting from scratch.”