CNN has released a report that the main Healthcare.gov contractor CGI warned the Obama administration one month in advance that there were critical problems preventing them from ensuring a clean launch of the website. In particular, the administration was warned that testing was being obstructed.
The quote from the CGI memo leaves no doubt, if you understand the technical jargon used in the memo. I’ll take it apart and explain just how bad this situation really was.
Here’s the quote from the memo, which CNN says was listed as a ‘severe’ concern:
CGI does not have access to necessary tools to manage envs in test, imp, and prod. Specifically (1) we don’t have access to central log collection / view (2) we don’t have access to monitoring tools. We have repeatedly asked CMS and URS but haven ot been granted this access.
Let’s take this apart back to front. First, CGI claims they asked for assistance from other contractors, to get access to what they needed, and were denied. This means that there was a critical communication problem going on between the firms hired to work on this, and it was the responsibility of the Obama administration to fix it. If they did not, and testing did not happen, then that’s the administration’s fault. Remember that.
Second, CGI claims they did not have access to monitoring tools. This is particularly important given what we’ve seen with respect to the site crashing under the load of users attempting to access it. If they could not get live, real-time updates as to what was working and what was not, as the site encountered load and gradually fell over, then their jobs would be made unnecessarily difficult in fixing the problem. That’s important when there was only one month to go.
The next complaint is worst of all. CGI says they didn’t even have access to the full centralized logging system put into place. Next best to debugging a failing site after live monitoring, would be to pore over the logs and try to find clues for how it fell apart. Without even having access to logs, then CGI was truly flying blind. And again, see point one: it was on the administration to have fixed this.
Lastly we’re going to address the very first line of the quote. This is how we know badly they were hindered in their ability to test the site, and in fact how badly the Obama administration botched the whole project. Here we are, one month for launch, and they’re still having to play Mother May I with the government and other contractors to be able to make sure the site was going to work. They did not have the tools they needed to control the server “env”ironments for their testing server, their change integration and import tools, and the live, “prod”uction server environment.
The administration has already been criticized for the no-bid arrangement that led to CGI being the lead contractor on the Healthcare.gov project. Now we find out that this hand-picked contractor wasn’t even allowed to do its job.
I’d laugh about this except for the millions of Americans being personally hurt by Obamacare and this reckless, slapdash administration’s failures.