Fred Johnson

Fred Johnson

By Fred Johnson

The Obamacare website has been in the news lately. More people have signed up for a one-way trip to live on Mars than have signed up for Obamacare health insurance plans. The problem is that the website does not work. IT experts who have looked at the problem say the web site design is 10 years behind current technology. The New York Times estimates that five million lines of code must be rewritten. A software friend of mine tells me that 125,000 programmers working seven days a week would be needed to complete and test the software by Jan. 1.

So what company is in charge of the website design? It is a Canadian company, CGI Group. CGI stands for Conseillers en Gestion et Informatique. This leads to the obvious question of why in the world did our government award the contract to a Canadian company while the USA is the world leader in information technology and web site design? There was no competitive bidding for the contract; HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, awarded a sole source $93 million contract to CGI.

How did this happen? Here’s a clue; White House logs reveal that senior executives from CGI enjoyed high-level access to top Obama administration officials. Prior to the official award CGI executives met with White House officials and attended a number of invitation-only addresses by President Obama. The six top executives of CGI are former bureaucrats from U.S. government departments and agencies including HHS.

Wow; just as we had to learn how to spell Solyndra when that company that went bankrupt after receiving $535 million in federal loan guarantees from the Obama Department of Energy, we now must deal with the incompetence of Conseillers en Gestion et Informatique and their sweetheart contract with HHS.

The requirement that one must actually sign up for health insurance and provide their income and social security number on the web site before receiving any information about the plans and charges is another factor in the slow signup for the healthcare plans.

During the Carter administration when we were experiencing long lines at the gas pumps, I visited a car dealer to checkout fuel efficient cars. I was told that there were no cars available to look at and if I wanted to see one I would have to purchase one at $1,000 over the sticker price and get on a waiting list. What ever car came in when my turn came up would be my car; I had no choice of color, model or accessories. If I didn’t like it, I could go back to the end of the line. Needless to say, I chose not to purchase a car sight unseen.

Evidently, many people feel the same reluctance to sign up for Obamacare before knowing the cost or plan details. Some say this is a deliberate strategy because the administration believes that sticker shock would send many away without signing up. Actually, a one-way trip to Mars sounds pretty good right now.