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The Complexities of Deployment

October 9, 2013

You know, I wondered the same thing on day one.  Did anyone in the administration actually do a full test of the Federal Exchange system and how it interacted with State Exchanges and Insurance systems?  It seems not.

We’ll get back to the USA Today editorial in a moment. Meanwhile, CBS asks — and then answers — the question that Congress will want to ask when the inevitable hearings begin.  The White House and HHS had a three-and-a-half-year head start on the insurance exchange rollout.  Did anyone in that time bother to test it?  CBS’ expert says no, and also kicks out the strut underneath the White House claim that it’s massive traffic that’s caused the problems

The CBS report is here.

The complexity of a deployment like this, with secure web portals, multiple contract vendors (though the main one was Canadian… and it still cracks me up that the Left actually off-shored a project like this), and many moving parts means that this is nearly impossible to test fully before it goes live.  But…  If you talk to any web contractor, they’ll give you a test methodology where you can change one area and still ensure that the communications among the various pieces stay green.

If I really had to bet, there’s a likely passive-aggressive component to this on the part of the insurance companies (who only reluctantly joined the exchanges, if at all) and the state programs (who have been pushed on the deadlines even harder than the feds without all the information to get things moving).  It’s not a willingness to break the system, but it’s more a feeling that the lack of information on interfaces, tests, and the like meant that the program would be pushed.

To me, though, the main reason that it appears this wasn’t tested: the administration never even thought about delaying the individual mandate.  If they’d known how buggy this really was, don’t you think they’d have worked to save face, open the exchanges, but not made it a requirement?  Wouldn’t it be funny for this whole shutdown kabuki to end in a delay because the system still doesn’t work at the end of the year?

Ah, government…

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