Obamacare Site Flaws Due To More Than ‘Talent Gap’

Dustin Volz | Nextgov | October 23, 2013

As Congress begins investigating the rocky rollout of HealthCare.gov, technology experts warn that it may not find any easy scapegoats.

The site, they say, was a uniquely Herculean undertaking, fraught with legacy technology, and government technology products are routinely straightjacketed by federal bureaucracy and regulations.

“Even if you put … the best Apple team on this, they’re working with a different set of rules and restrictions that would not allow them to do what they can do in the private sector,” said Emily Lam, senior director of health care and federal issues at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “It doesn’t matter how bright your IT person is, especially if they’re building one piece or one component” of a very complex system.

With some congressional committees holding hearings and others conducting investigations, the Obama administration has promised quick repairs. The Health and Human Services Department has pledged, in a blog post, to gather “some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government” to solve the technical problems. President Obama himself spoke of a “tech surge.”