Free Markets, Free People

Census Bureau


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 24 Nov 13

This week, Bruce McQuain makes his triumphant–albeit mean-spirited and cruel–return, to talk with Michael and Dale about Iran, The Census Bureau. and the Senate’s filibuster rules.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

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Clueless and incompetent

That’s a dangerous combination but that pretty aptly describes the ObamaCare roll out (ObamaCare is a name that the administration and Democrats would now like to distance themselves from).

It seems now that “no one knew” that the roll out was going to be a disaster because, well, no one knew.  Gee, maybe they should have asked the IT guy:

A key player in the development of the Obamacare website said Tuesday that up to 40 percent of IT systems supporting the exchange still need to be built.

The revelation from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Deputy Chief Information Officer Henry Chao occurs as the administration works to meet its Nov. 30 deadline to shore up the website.

40% of the supporting systems … still need to be built?!

And no one knew?  That’s freaking mindboggling.  You have a system that is 40% incomplete, you’re the head of a department charged with rolling out the system and you don’t know it’s not even close to being ready?

“It’s not that it’s not working,” Chao told lawmakers at an Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee hearing. “It’s still being developed and tested.”

Phenomenal.  If incompetence could be bottled, this administration could corner the market.

Financial management tools remain unfinished, he said, particularly the process that will deliver payments to insurers.

The update hits hardest at Democrats, hopeful that the system would function smoothly by the end of the month.

Chao said that the consumer portion of the website, including account registration, plan shopping and enrollment functions, won’t be affected by the ongoing development effort, but that “back office” functions including accounting and payment systems were not yet complete.

Did this boob tell anyone?  And if he did, didn’t they listen?  How do the insurance companies get paid?  And until they are, how can any insurance plan go into effect?

My goodness … why wasn’t Chao sounding the alarms?

Oh, wait, see, he really didn’t know either:

He also told lawmakers he didn’t see a spring report that warned of potential stumbles and foreshadowed many of the problems that thwarted the website’s launch.

“I was aware some document was being prepared,” he said, but had no knowledge of a report until it was leaked to The Washington Post and obtained by POLITICO.

Chao told the House Energy & Commerce oversight subcommittee that he may have answered questions for the study but was not involved in any briefings on it.

The report, which independent consulting firm McKinsey conducted for CMS, described a process that relied too heavily on outsider contractors, didn’t provide enough time for complete testing and failed to hand authority to one decision maker. Chao’s limited knowledge of the report feeds lawmakers’ frustrations with the site’s fractured management and unclear controls.

These are the people who would run your healthcare (and everything else in you life if you’d let them) and make it both cheaper and better (and a good number of Americans swallowed that snake oil and ordered another bottle).

Oh, by the way, speaking of trust in government, did you know the jobs numbers were faked by the Census Bureau on the eve of the 2012 election?

~McQ


Census Bureau and ACORN Part Ways

And given ACORN’s history and recent problems I say none too soon. The plan had been to have the ACORN be an integral part of the Census Bureau effort in 2010. But ACORN’s past has caught up with it (the little sting operation in MD and DC probably didn’t help) and the Census Bureau, bowing to the public’s concern, is cutting the organization loose.

“Over the last several months, through ongoing communication with our regional offices, it is clear that ACORN’s affiliation with the 2010 Census promotion has caused sufficient concern in the general public, has indeed become a distraction from our mission, and may even become a discouragement to public cooperation, negatively impacting 2010 Census efforts,” read a letter from Census Director Robert M. Groves to the president of ACORN.

“Unfortunately, we no longer have confidence that our national partnership agreement is being effectively managed through your many local offices. For the reasons stated, we therefore have decided to terminate the partnership,” the letter said.

Now the next goal ought to be to find a way to defund the organization, i.e. pull all of its federal funding. If it want to engage in “community organizing” let it fund itself the old fashioned way – beg for money.

Meanwhile, it appears MD has decided it may prosecute the filmmaker who exposed ACORN.

~McQ