There’s been plenty of talk lately about just how screwed up the launch of Healthcare.gov has been. While any massively large-scale internet launch is likely to suffer some problems, the level of disaster on this particular project has been quite impressive. This has led some to wonder why this happened, especially given the reputation of President Obama’s “web-savvy” campaign team. The answers aren’t too hard to figure out, of course. First off, the campaign team is quite different from the team implementing this — which was handled by the Department of Health and Human Services. But, more importantly: it appears that the federal government basically handed this project over to the same crew of giant government contractors, who have a long history of screwed up giant IT projects, and almost no sense of the “internet native” world.
The Sunlight Foundation (link above) figured out the list of contractors who worked on the site, and noted that the big ones not only are well-known DC power-player insiders, but they’re also big on the lobbying and political contributions side of things.
This analysis seems to bear out what SteveF and lpdw have been telling us about the state of government technology contracting.
Pull and clout count for a lot more than talent and ability.