The country’s top computer experts in Silicon Valley are mortified that the federal government can waste at least $400 million building an Obamacare website that is so terrible.
According to New York magazine, “one tech worker quipped that a Stanford computer-science class could have built healthcare.gov for a thousandth of the reported $400 million-plus budget.”
Matt Mullenweg, the co-developer of WordPress, said the Canadian firm that oversaw the healthcare.gov website received “more money than all the revenue of most Silicon Valley start-ups combined.”
“If the government is going to spend that much money on something, it should be open source,” Mullenweg told New York magazine. “How cool would it have been if the site launched, didn’t work, and some passionate coders came in and said, ‘Oh, here’s a problem, and here, and here?’ But the people who want to help aren’t able to.”
Eric Ries, described as a member of the “Silicon Valley’s cognoscenti,” said Healthcare.gov’s failures represented “state-of-the-art incompetence.”
The Obama administration has promised a “tech surge” with Jeffrey Zients, a former budget official who is “not a known coder,” overseeing the fixes, but few details have been released about the programmers who have been tasked with fixing the disaster.
As New York magazine notes, Zients has said that the site would “work smoothly” by the end of November, but the Obamacare tech failure “has confirmed the suspicions of many in Silicon Valley that the government’s infrastructure, even on key projects, relies too heavily on outdated legacy systems and could be run more efficiently by those inside their own camp.”