The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label BuzzFeed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BuzzFeed. Show all posts

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Affrodable Care Act Website, Failures Without Palatable Answers


As watch the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, it is impossible to avoid a degree of dissatisfaction with open enrollment and systems tools to facilitate coverage. It does not matter that we are receiving reports of 17 million unique hits to the website, and 560,000 calls to the call (assistance) center, a web based system that has failed such a critical program is unacceptable.

USA Today reported last Thursday, the site was developed with 10 year old technology. Is it possible the ACA now plagued with a failing of government procurement: the low contract bid? It does not appear low bid is the problem, but it is disconcerting to find the company contracted to develop the ACA enrollment system has a long history with the Bush Administration. CGI has reported $2.4 billion in information technology (IT) projects since its first contracts during the early years of the Bush Administration. The Washington Post provides a look at how CGI via two US acquisitions strategically positioned itself for lucrative government contractors (including the ACA contract).

CGI Federal is a relative newbie on the U.S. government IT contracting scene. It bought the U.S. contractor American Management Systems in 2004, but only started ramping up business after 2008, and accelerated in 2010 with the $1.1 billion acquisition of U.S.-based military IT contractor Stanley Inc. That sent its contracting work through the roof:
CGI Federal's contracting volume over the years. ( 
Still, CGI is only the 29th largest federal IT contractor, with about $950 million in contracts in 2012, compared to number one Lockheed Martin's $14.9 billion. They also don't make high-profile weapons systems, but rather the guts of government Web sites that rarely bear their names.
If you notice the graph above starts in year 2001, we offer this: "No, we are not "laying it on Bush." We are questioning the wisdom and effectiveness of federal government procurement via 'letting' the contract to CGI without proper scrutiny for stakeholder in Washington DC. We do not hesitate to posit accordingly, despite the fact CGI has assisted in development of various state ACA websiteState ACA websites are a far different project than a system to accommodate enrollment for million should the demand exist. Someone in the Administration did not practice proper contractor relationships including periodic checks, forced last minute modifications, failed at validating system testing, and system corrections.

An NBC news segment from last Thursday provides sad details of the failed CGI project.
 The broadcast segment also clearly states there were warnings. Warnings that apparently went unheeded, and most assuredly went investigated; thus more criticism of some entity in the project management team at HHS.


Some writers are questioning the wisdom of awarding such a critical contract to a company that has a history of donating heavily to the GOP. While CGI has a history of donating to Democrats as well as Republicans, The Center for Responsive Politics reveals in 2012 CGI contributed $184,700 527 committees. The contribution breakdown is as follows:

Top Recipients
RecipientTotalFrom IndivsFrom Orgs
 Republican Governors Assn$147,700$0 $147,700
 Democratic Governors Assn$35,000$0  $35,000
The Center for Responsive Politics offers more details related political CGI contributions. In fairness, we will state CGI contributes on a more bi-partisan basis when consideration is given to individual politicians.  Here are other writers who are not only not being "fair", some are suggesting a lack of effort to deliver an effective system for political reasons. We will not go there, just yet.
As indicated by BuzzFeed, the problem is not so much patronage and political subterfuge related to CGI, the problem is that of the federal government contractor.  Where have we witness problem related to contractors int he recent past? Edward Snowden was released from contract with the CIA, only to successfully completed his espionage mission via the NSA. 
In any case, the ACA enrollment system is flawed (to say the least).  The Administration has posted a brief summary of their efforts to make improvements( posted it below).

Site Tags: 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Over the past two and a half weeks, millions of Americans visited to look at their new health care options under the Affordable Care Act. In that time, nearly half a million applications for coverage have been submitted from across the nation. This tremendous interest – with over 19 million unique visits to date to– confirms that the American people are looking for quality, affordable health coverage, and want to find it online.

Unfortunately, the experience on has been frustrating for many Americans. Some have had trouble creating accounts and logging in to the site, while others have received confusing error messages, or had to wait for slow page loads or forms that failed to respond in a timely fashion. The initial consumer experience of has not lived up to the expectations of the American people. We are committed to doing better. 

Aside from the difficulties since launching the site, there are parts of the overall system that have proved up to the task. The “Data Hub,” component, which provides with information that aids in determining eligibility for qualified health plans, is working. Individuals have been able to verify their eligibility for credits, enabling them to shop for and enroll in low or even no-cost health plans.


Since launch, when we first recognized these issues, we have been working around the clock to make improvements. We have updated the site several times with new code that includes bug fixes that have greatly improved the experience. The initial wave of interest stressed the account service, resulting in many consumers experiencing trouble signing up, while those that were able to sign up sometimes had problems logging in.

In response, we have made a number of improvements to the account service. Initially, we implemented a virtual “waiting room,” but many found this experience to be confusing. We continued to add more capacity in order to meet demand and execute software fixes to address the sign up and log in issues, stabilizing those parts of the service and allowing us to remove the virtual “waiting room.” Today, more and more individuals are successfully creating accounts, logging in, and moving on to apply for coverage and shop for plans. We're proud of these quick improvements, but we know there's still more work to be done. We will continue to conduct regular maintenance nearly every night to improve the experience.


To ensure that we make swift progress, and that the consumer experience continues to improve, our team has called in additional help to solve some of the more complex technical issues we are encountering.

Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve We're also putting in place tools and processes to aggressively monitor and identify parts of where individuals are encountering errors or having difficulty using the site, so we can prioritize and fix them. We are also defining new test processes to prevent new issues from cropping up as we improve the overall service and deploying fixes to the site during off-peak hours on a regular basis.

Most importantly, we want to hear from you, and make sure that your experience with is a positive one. If you have any comments, either complimentary or critical, please let us know by sharing your feedback at We've already heard so many stories of individuals getting health insurance for the first time, and we are dedicated to making that possible for all Americans.
We also await President Obama's comments later today regrading the ACA, improvements and, we are certain, serious words about his concerns for the system failures.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg Business Week published a piece last week Friday, that has garnered our attention and appears to coincides with our concern for systems issues and contractual arrangements necessary for completion of government programs.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

UPDATE: State Department Accountability Review Report And Resignations

The State Department Accountability Review Rep[rot on the Benghazi Attacks on US Embassy facilities is now public.

Accountability Review Report

I ham deferring comment on the report for a couple of days due to an overwhelming personal schedule.  Once I read the report, I will report with a comment also.

I have asked and received permission to re-post a quick synopsis of the report from a friend.

Marion Young (on the Review Report) System failures and senior management deficiencies. Yes, it was on his watch, but they can't technically blame Obama. Here's the breakdown... (from Buzzfeed Dot Com)

1. "Systematic failures" and "management deficiencies at senior levels" resulted in inadequate security

2. There was no protest prior to the attacks on the consulate; responsibility lies with "terrorists"

3. Intelligence provided no "warning" of the attacks, but there was an awareness of "the persistent, general threat" to Libya

4. Security systems "fell short"; personnel "did their best with what they had, which, in the end was not enough"

5. Reliance on Libyan forces for security "in the event of an attack was misplaced"

6. "Not enough time given the speed of the attacks" for armed military assets to have "made a difference

7. No single individual in U.S. government "willfully ignored his or her responsibilities

8. Response from the Libyan government found to be "profoundly lacking," reflecting their control in Benghazi

9. Congress must "provide necessary resources" to the State Department

"The solution requires a more serious and sustained commitment from Congress to support State Department needs, which, in total, constitute a small percentage both of the full national budget and that spent for national security. One overall conclusion in this report is that Congress must do its part to meet this challenge and provide necessary resources to the State Department to address security risks and meet mission imperatives."

Comment from Marion Young. My later comments may differ based on a personal review. 

Bottom line: CONGRESS IS TO BLAME FOR NOT PROVIDING SUPPORT AS IN MONEY. We can narrow this down to the GOP who purposely underfunded the State Department and knew this would fall under Obama's watch.

A report out Tuesday night details the State Department's failings surrounding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. "System failures" and "management deficiencies."

Huffington Post


Benghazi Report Results In 3 State Department Resignations: Official

WASHINGTON (AP) — An administration official says the chief of the State Department's security service, one of his deputies and an official from the agency's Middle East bureau have resigned after a damning report that found systematic management failures responsible for a lack of security at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
The official said Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, and Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security, stepped down under pressure after the release of the report. The third official worked for the Bureau of Near East Affairs, but wasn't immediately identified, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss personnel matters publicly.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Right -Wing Film Rivals D'souza's Insanity and Malfeasance

Do you recall the shame associated with political campaign strategies that actually helped GOP candidates win the Presidency?  The two most notable were the Roger Ailes Willie Horton Ads against Michael Dukakis and the Swift Boat Ads against Jon Kerry.  Yes, both ad campaigns contributed to wins for GOP candidates; both also appealed to the lowest levels of human emotions and adduced insidious levels of political underhandedness and indecency.  

Underhandedness for the GOP is acceptable as long as it yields results.  Since, supporters of the GOP and gullible independents vote to place republicans in office, one can only assume my early use of the word shame is not shared among millions of voters.  Voters who unbelievably and consistently reward the GOP's unscrupulous acts with votes.  They vote for candidates who far exceed expected politicking; candidates and campaigns that practice outright and never-ending lies and 'for effect' tape editing for ads.   

BuzzFeed reported on another guttural low from the GOP.