HealthCare.gov shows government incompetence, Republican critics say
Critics of the website point to its rollout as a reason to question large government programs
IDG News Service - A congressional hearing Wednesday on the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov was largely a forum for Republican critics of U.S. government involvement in the health-care industry and other large social programs.
The website malfunctions were a glaring example of how the U.S. government often fails to deliver on huge projects, some lawmakers and representatives of conservative groups said during a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The committee, controlled by politicians largely hostile to President Obama's agenda, billed the hearing as a forum for criticism of HealthCare.gov and the limitations of big government. The hearing, though, often veered away from the website into broader criticisms of the underlying Affordable Care Act, the health insurance reform bill passed in 2010, and of government social programs in general.
The HealthCare.gov rollout has "undeniably been, inarguably, a disaster," said U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican and committee chairman. "It is not a disaster of the making of one man or any one person. In fact, in many ways, it is a sign of a failed system that is often seen in the federal government."
Parts of the website's back-end functionality are not yet completed, and there continue to be concerns about users' data being transferred accurately to insurance carriers, Issa said. Despite promises from Obama that HealthCare.gov would allow health-insurance shopping to be as simple as using an e-commerce site, "nothing has been more different" than HealthCare.gov and well-run e-commerce sites, he said.
A well-run e-commerce site wouldn't use the customer queuing system HealthCare.gov has implemented, Issa said, nor would it tell a customer, "leave your personal email, and we'll call you back in eight or 10 hours ... in order to tell you now is a better time to log on," he said.
Issa said the committee has the responsibility of making sure HealthCare.gov works properly, but he repeated his long-standing criticisms of the need for the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare.
"By its very design, the federal government may never be efficient or effective or innovative enough to carry out big initiatives like Obamacare," he said. "Nor should it be. Government should not be picking winners and losers precisely because it has proven to be so bad at it."
But Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, pointed to several large and successful government programs, including Social Security, Medicaid and most recently, a 2005 prescription drug benefit under Medicare. Each of those programs had many critics when they were first launched, only to gain widespread acceptance from the U.S. public, he said.
The Affordable Care Act was needed because private health insurance coverage had evaded tens of millions of U.S. residents, he said.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
This state transportation department uses computer science students from a local university as programming interns, and everyone is happy with the arrangement -- until one intern learns how to bring down the mainframe.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Infographic: Converged Infrastructure Benefits
- This Infographic quantifies the savings organizations are realizing from increased deployment speed, higher availability, and lower annual costs.
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage
- Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- Going Paperless? Here's What You Need to Think About
- As makers of some of the world's most popular PDF solutions, we often consult with businesses & governmental agencies that have the goal...
- The Big Data Opportunity for HR and Finance
- If CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and CHROs want to drive their businesses forward, they will need to quickly recognize the enormous value of big... All Government IT White Papers
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to...
- Building Tomorrow's Infrastructure Listen to this podcast to discover how Crider Foods worked with PC Connection to update their IT infrastructure, while maintaining compliance and control.
Enhance Your Virtualization Infrastructure With IBM and Vmware
Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Virtualization technology is now expanding beyond the server compute elements to encompass networking and storage...
Transforming Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain Effectiveness with Cross-Functional Analytics
Date: May 6th, 2014
Time: 1 PM EDT
Attend this Webcast to find out how Oracle's packaged analytic applications enable line-of-business managers to examine all...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- All Government IT Webcasts