ObamaCare Launch Disaster: Send in the Lawyers!
The ObamaCare launch disaster wasn't all about the bumblers in the Obama Administration scarfing down $600 million and farting out a pile of 404 errors. The state exchanges had a lot of trouble, too. The worst ones are still abject nightmares, in which countless millions were paid for computer systems that remain almost completely unusable.
The L.A. Times has a horrifying story about the chaos in Oregon, Massachusetts, and Maryland, whose inept administrations are busy pointing fingers of blame at software providers and lawyering up to recover some of that squandered taxpayer loot:
Officials in Oregon, Massachusetts and Maryland are exploring legal options as they sever contracts with those who created their sites. All three states are considering a move to the federal exchange, which had its own grievous start-up problems but is now largely stable, or licensing the technology of a more successful state such as Connecticut.
In each case — and in Minnesota, where outside consultants said it could take two years to fix the state's website — the states have plowed remaining grant funds into tech surges to try to salvage their programs before Monday, the deadline for states that have not received extensions. IT teams were working in Maryland and Minnesota to help thousands of bewildered consumers whose applications were frozen or had vanished into what Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, called a "black hole."
In Oregon, where consumers still cannot enroll at the state exchange website, officials dispatched an army of workers and community allies to help panicked consumers — some with serious medical conditions and under threat of cancellation — enroll using paper applications. In Massachusetts, where the website failure threatened to increase the state's uninsured rate, officials have rushed to put more than 125,000 people on its Medicaid rolls to avoid a gap in their coverage.
Thanks a lot for dropping that "black hole" on your constituents, Governor Dayton! Governor John Kitzhaber in Oregon is maybe one bad news story away from claiming that he just awoke from a three-year coma and can't believe the mess he found, or maybe that he was replaced by an evil clone on a mission to sabotage ObamaCare.
And say, didn't Massachusetts used to have some sort of broadly similar, more-or-less functional health care system before ObamaCare came along? How did they manage to turn that into a disaster? Why, with the sort of dazzling managerial brilliance and careful planning we've come to expect from the Democrat Party:
Massachusetts started the process with a high insurance rate — nearly 97% — due to the state's existing program. Its challenge was moving tens of thousands of insured people to coverage that complied with the new law. An independent review by Microsoft Corp. noted that the state had to "custom build" most of the components — increasing the risk for problems. "Every critical milestone to date" was missed, the February Microsoft report said, and there was no "single, integrated master plan" to manage all the subcontractors or a way to measure "how much of the website is even completed."
Hey, whatever, man. Don't spend the years before the biggest online launch in history making any integrated plans, and for God's sake don't warn the public that you're missing all your critical milestones. Just wing it, act like big shots with fat taxpayer bankrolls, and bring in lawyers to clean up the wreckage if things go wrong. Look on the bright side, tax-and-spenders: you can always use these disasters as leverage to demand even more money from your citizens. Big Government grows through failure - it's a basic law of political nature. Why should ObamaCare be any different?