In a glossy “Fast Company” magazine spread promoting his new “tech team,” President Obama admitted that his Obamacare website was a “well-documented disaster” and that it forced him to pay more attention to technology.
“This did not get the kind of laser-focused attention until Healthcare.gov, which was a well-documented disaster, but ended up anyways being the catalyst for us saying, ‘Okay, we have to completely revamp how we do things,’” he said during the interview.
Obama added that he was too busy handing national crises including the collapsing economy, bailing out the auto industry, and halting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to pay enough attention to the technology that was running government.
He also took the blame for not anticipating the problems with the Obamacare website sooner.
“It’s something, by the way, I should have caught, I should have anticipated,” he admitted.
Part of the reason he was creating a new tech team in Washington D.C. was to create a “startup” feel in allowing him to recruit some of the best people in the tech industry to come and work for the government to make it better.
Although he said there were “really smart people” in government, he insisted that the technology in the federal government was “terrible.”
“[T]o see how lumbering this thing was, that was pretty distressing,” Obama said, pointing to the contrast he experienced with his presidential campaign and the actual workings of government technology.
Obama explained that he was personally involved with his new team, taking credit for its success.
“[P]art of the reason why we’ve been successful so far is I have essentially provided air cover for these teams,” he said.