Why The Obamacare Website Failed In One Slide

On Tuesday The Washington Post reported that the Obama administration knew there would be problems with Healthcare.Gov website as far back as March when they were presented with an analysis by McKinsey & Co.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz told The Post that “flags were definitely raised throughout the development of the Web site … But nobody anticipated the size and scope of the problems we experienced once the site launched.”

That may be because, according to McKinsey & Co., the site suffered from poor planning from the very beginning.

Basically, instead of a phased approach that would’ve called for parts of the system in weekly or biweekly cycles, the government listed a huge set of requirements and let developers work until they came back with a “finished” product.

Elise Hu of NPR broke out one slide from the presentation that gets to the crux of the problem that caused. In a footnote to the highlighted part below, Hu writes:

This rather prescient slide basically telegraphs all of the key reasons why HealthCare.gov failed so spectacularly. Note that no “end-to-end testing,” a phrase often noted in the hearings about the “debacle,” as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius described it, is listed as an issue in the review.

The Post notes that the presentation “made it clear that programs of this scale are ideally pursued in a more orderly process, with ‘significant testing and revision’ before they launch.”

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