I don’t know about you, but I have been reading everywhere I turn about the shortcomings and failures of healthcare.gov, the website created by HHS to serve as the health insurance exchanges for over half the states. The site was overwhelmed by the number of people who attempted to access it in the first days. The method of requiring the potential customer to create an account before they could even look at prices in their state, and the bottleneck that requirement caused meant that people could not get anywhere. Each time they tried anew, they were required to re-enter their information and still got nowhere. Many people were very frustrated.
President Obama has called for a ‘tech surge‘ including the assistance of heavy hitters from government and private sources. And now members of Congress are calling for investigations into who in the administration is to blame. The strong undercurrent in each of the articles I have read is that here we have yet another example of government ineptitude.
But is that what we have? After all, this entire project was contracted to a huge private corporation who had an open-ended contract to provide a mission-critical product for HHS. They failed, and now they are being paid even more money to fix their mess. Here’s one more example of private corporations fleecing the American taxpayer.
But wait, aren’t private corporations by definition more effective and efficient than the government? That is a story we have all been sold for the past forty years. Privatize! Private companies can always do it better…by definition!
According to Joshua Holland and Moyers & Company, that is anything but the case. Government has been so downsized since Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush, that it does not have the resources to even oversee these huge contracts; so when they go awry, there is no one there to get them back on track.
I don’t think large government is our problem; I think out of control private contractors and their cronies in the administration and in Congress are.