Obama: ‘Probably no bigger gap’ between private and public sector than info technology
November 19th, 2013
09:48 PM ET
10 months ago

Obama: ‘Probably no bigger gap’ between private and public sector than info technology

(CNN) - While admitting his administration underestimated the challenges involved in developing and executing a functioning federal healthcare exchange website, President Barack Obama said the deeper issue is how inefficiently the federal government manages information technology (IT).

"In fact, there's probably no bigger gap between the private sector and the public sector than IT," Obama said on Tuesday at a Wall Street Journal conference in Washington.

"We've spent billions of dollars - I'm not saying we as in my administration. I mean we've now had about a decade of experimentation, spent billions of dollars, and it's still not working the way it should," the President continued, responding to a question about the troubled rollout of healthcare.gov.

"So what we probably needed to do on the front end was to blow up how we procure for IT, especially on a system this complicated. We did not do that successfully.”

“Now, we are getting it fixed,” Obama said regarding the technical issues that have left many Americans unable to sign up through the online federal exchange. “But it would have been better to do it on the front end rather than the back end."

The administration and Health and Human Service officials have promised significant fixes to the functionality of federal healthcare website by the end of the month but recent reports have brought about questions of the extent to which the Obama administration were aware of the site’s technical glitches before the October 1 online launch and when.

A CNN survey shows an increase in enrollments in Obamacare in states not using the troubled website but continued low enrollment numbers for people under the age of 35, a key demographic needed to offset the older and sicker population in the pool in order to drive down costs.


Filed under: Healthcare • Obamacare
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Justin Mayberry

    Regardless of party or philosophy I'm not convinced the ACA as-is can work. Compared to the private market and single payer, the ACA is in the middle with the government managing the private market for health insurance. The idea of shared sacrifice, with the young and the middle class sharing the costs of helping older and sicker enrollees is a worthy goal. In 2014 the business mandate will encourage employers to shift more employees to exchanges – presumably these employees by definition will be younger, middle-class folks. Now, the alternative to private markets and to the ACA is a single payer system in which we have more coverage but possibly fewer doctors, longer wait times, etc. This is the classic price ceiling effect – once prices are capped fewer "suppliers" enter the marketplace. However in countries with single payer systems (e.g., Australia, Canada) it is still possible to pay an extra fee to keep doctors on retainer, to purchase supplemental insurance to improve quality of care, etc.

    November 19, 2013 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  2. Salverda

    Obama says, “Now, we are getting it fixed,” (you can keep your plan, the average family will save $2500 in premiums per year, you can keep your doctor, tax money will not be spent on abortion, the cost curve will be bent downward, the web site will be as easy as priceline, the individual mandate is not a tax, I called it terrorism the next day in the rose garden, if the unemployment rate isn't below 7% my presidency will be a one term proposition, I will get to the bottom of this IRS targeting thing, oh and by the way, the check is in the mail) Does anybody still believe what this man says?

    November 19, 2013 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  3. ja

    Mr. President, don't the minors get you down we fought wars on three front recently, no real end in sight, wmd lies, terror threat levels was bs, the original hunt for bin laden bs the list is enormous, the supreme court ruled the Affordable Care Act law of the law, yet certain faction to appease voter base has tried to repeal, to hell with your foes, be President of the United States

    November 19, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  4. California

    OBAMACARE

    Based on LIES

    November 19, 2013 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  5. ED1

    Everything about the private sector is better.

    November 19, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  6. AnnoyedByPolitcs

    Is he just tossing out excuses to see if any stick? Most seem to have wised up to this tactic of his.

    November 19, 2013 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  7. ora pike

    SolarCity Corp–check it out-another company that obama was part of and has had the government fund this loser hundreds of millions of dollars-he proves one that he cannot understand one aspect of business and 2. the government cannot get into business.

    November 19, 2013 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  8. My Father's Son

    From above: "We've spent billions of dollars -,,,,,,"
    I believe that the correct terminology would have been 'misspent billions'.

    November 20, 2013 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  9. freedom

    So then why does he want IT to run American's healthcare? It's not capable of handling such a responsibility. We're not numbers. We're people – who live and breathe and die.

    November 20, 2013 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  10. king

    lesson i wouldn't worry about the young, because even with the repubs billions they are spending to discourage young folks not to opt into obamacare, everyone is practical, and when folks start paying finds without any benefits, they will think twice over what the repubs have been pounding into their heads and buy affordable healthcare.

    November 20, 2013 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  11. J.V.Hodgson

    Predicting the Web site and its ultimate results as of today or end November Is likely to be as accurate as weather forecasts. Because like it or not you have to include the so called co-operative democratic controlled states who set up their own exchanges and what they achieve. PPACA is not just the .gov web site, its a law ( enacted and withstanding SCOTUS challenges) designed to reduce US medical costs over time and does so per CBO.
    Will the web site be 100 % fixed as of end November .. NO prepare yourselves media for this non disaster. Will it be working a lot better, yes it is already.
    So lets move on to the farce that will occur of ISSA subpoenaing the president and all the guys working to fix the problem to testify why its not fixed as of 01.12.2013.
    PS I want Boehner to produce the same number of jobs bills as repeal attempts of PPACA . the former being his basic platform for the 2012 house elections.
    The GOP is currently a disgrace that I cannot trust to vote for in any election as I don't know what this divided party stands for.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    November 20, 2013 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  12. Tigas

    The NSA has the technological firepower to scan and analyze billions of emails, cell phone calls, etc. and Obama is claiming a technology gap?
    Yet another, "it's not my red line" excuse.

    November 20, 2013 06:19 am at 6:19 am |