We recently found out that the incredibly effective ObamaCare exchange website is – well, not exactly state-of-the-art. The federal health care exchange was built using 10-year-old technology that may require constant fixes and updates for the next six months and the eventual overhaul of the entire system, technology experts told USA TODAY.
The site could be perfect, but if the systems from which it draws data are not up to speed, it doesn’t matter, said John Engates, chief technology officer at Rackspace, a cloud computer service provider.
“It is a core problem in the sense of it’s fundamental to this thing actually working, but it’s not necessarily a problem that the people who wrote HealthCare.gov can get to,” Engates said. “Even if they had a perfect system, it still won’t work.”
Way to keep up, Washington. Ten years ago was one year before Facebook even existed. It was four years before the first iPhone. Ten years ago was the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The biggest song was 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.”
Government is nothing if not perpetually behind the curve.
The ObamaCare website is a quintessential example of government process and technological prowess. (That and the $80 billion a year they so prudently spend on IT.)
The site was was certainly worth the $634 million of our money the Barack Obama Administration spent. On a no-bid contract. Given to a huge Obama campaign donor. Who was previously fired for serial incompetence by the Canadian government.
All for a law We the People have never liked or wanted. Which is in the process of destroying not just private health insurance sector – but the entire private sector.
But this is what government does. To paraphrase Sir Ernest John Pickstone Benn:
Government is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.
Government’s motto should be:
When in doubt – don’t.
Except that as almost always wrong as government is – their sureness-in-self never wavers. Rarely are they more self-confidently wrong than when mucking about in the quicksilver, mercurial technology sector.
Tech innovation and development happen so fast. It leaves government’s attempts to regulate in the dust – unless the regulations are so restrictive as to freeze us all in amber. In which case today’s technology is also tomorrow’s. And next year’s. And next decade’s. (Hello, Network Neutrality.)
The rules that exist are mostly either damaging, utterly unnecessary, woefully behind-the-times, dreadfully misapplied – or combinations thereof. Like illegally forcing 1930s landline telephone regs on to the broadband Internet world in which we now live. (Hello, Network Neutrality.)
The private sector tech world has given us the free-speech, free-market Xanadu that is the World Wide Web – and it has done so (pre-Obama Administration) nearly bereft of government rules. This is no coincidence.
The last time Congress wrote pertinent law was 1996. Way back then, Congress in a fundamentally important way actually got something right – the Internet was so new, they decided to basically leave it alone to see what developed.
It’s amazing what develops when the government leaves things alone.
Which brings us to Wednesday’s House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing: “The Evolution of Wired Communications Networks.” Government officials should use this meeting to call for less regulations. Outright removal of many. Or – if they are absolutely necessary – finely-tuned updates of existing ones.
Let’s let the tech train keep-a-rolling. It is these days about the only part of the economy that’s actually working.