Case Study: How Did the Obama Care Website Fail

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Technology continues to matriculate rapidly throughout society. It is now becoming omnipresent, with disparate business embracing both its costs and benefits. Even the government is no immune to potential pitfalls of technology its repercussions for society. The Obama care website is a classic example of how technology can quickly alienate individuals and society in very dramatic ways. The failure of the Obama care website is not unique however. Many of the risks embedded in the project are many of the same risks other organizations face. What makes the Obama care website a unique situation is how it did not effectively mitigate these risks and continued with the uncertain project anyway.

As mentioned in the introduction, significant risks were embedded within the Obama care website. The chief risk, was the massive integration needed to make the website function properly. According the Washington Post, the Healthcare.gov website attempting to align 112 different computer systems across the nation. In so doing, the website required the assistance of a least 50 separate contractors. This possesses significant risk in regards to quality standards and the overall delineation of responsibility. First, with over 50 contractors there is no assurance that all 50 will adhere to the same quality standards as it relates to their work. In fact, there is a temptation to not have high quality standards due to the contract structure in place to create the website. In many instances, contractors were paid based on the time they spent on the project as oppose to other metrics. This provided many contractors with the incentive to prolong the construction of the website. This misalignment of incentives caused the website to malfunction on its first day as visitors were unable to access needed materials in a timely fashion. Second, with over 50 contractors, roles and responsibilities were difficult to coordinate. The complexity of the project made it very difficult in regards to overall oversight of the project. If one contractor was lacking for example, it had an impact on the other 40 contractors. With lack of oversight, correction action took much longer than it should have. This system of bureaucracy has plagued government organizations for decades, as they are unable to efficiently and quickly adjust to changing market dynamics. Such was the case with the Healthcare.gov website. Third, similar to the first point, contractors did not test the system sufficiently. Instead, they haphazardly pieced together a website, that was spurious at best. Private contractors even testified in congress that the administration went ahead with the website… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"How Did the Obama Care Website Fail."  Essaytown.com.  May 3, 2016.  Accessed October 16, 2019.
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