So it seems the Obamacare website (the easy part, remember) still isn't up to the "works 80% of the time" standard.
Let's review reliability numbers, shall we?
99.999%, five nines: about the minimum you can get away with selling to a serious business that depends on your product or service (but where no lives are at stake).
99.9%, three nines: OK for many non-critical uses. Don't try to sell it for serious uses unless you have an effective monopoly.
99%, two nines: possibly acceptable for cheap consumer goods.
90%, one nine: broken.
80%, zero nines: not even broken.
Then, at the high end, we have the wonderful world of aerospace and medical equipment, where... well, how many failures are acceptable over the 30-year working life of an airliner or a deep-space probe, or during open-heart surgery? The teams that work on that stuff need to live reliability.
Of course, all these numbers really apply to hardware, even if there's also software involved. For software, if it ever fails, it's broken; we just put up with a certain amount of brokenness in the software that we use day to day (e.g., any known word processor or web browser). The question becomes, is it so broken that it's positively unusable, or is it merely inconvenient and infuriating on rare occasions?
Update: The Administration is positively boasting of one-nine availability.
With all the talk of how much better Single Payer would be than Obamacaid (because it'd all be run by the Feral Gummint, and therefore inherently much more efficient than a haphazard quasi-private health-care payment sytem)...
Y'know, we have an example of Single Payer in the U.S.
We have Single Payer Military Procurement.
Which, with its wondrous efficiency, has recently brought us LCS, F-35A/B/C, NLOS-C, ... er. Not such great examples?
And various targeted contracts, whereby, e.g., the Army contracts with a preferred bidder (i.e., the one whose owner checks the most boxes on the "oppressed minority" form), which has no ability to deliver on the contract, and just passes it through to some non-minority-owned company, all facilitated by a group of rich white Beltway Bandits.
And the infamous $600 hammer ($10 for the hammer, and $590 for the paperwork to prove that the Government isn't getting ripped off).
(No, the Air Force's expensive Mr. Coffee doesn't exactly belong here. That wasn't a Mr. Coffee. 'Twas a restaurant-grade coffeemaker, plus a requirement to operate on a moving aircraft without splling hot coffee all over everywhere. Mostly bona fide operational requirements, and not at all comparable to a household appliance.)
I continue to believe, and [I am] absolutely convinced, that at the end of the day, people are going to look back at the work we’ve done to make sure that in this country you don’t go bankrupt when you get sick, that families have that security,” Obama said. “That is going be a legacy I am extraordinarily proud of.”
Uh, right. Except:
The insane premiums resulting from mandatory participation in the crooked system (plus the coverage mandates and other misfeatures that raise prices still further) mean a lot of families, if they actually sign up and pay the premiums, will have trouble eating.
Obamacare fails in any way to address the real illness-to-bankruptcy path, which runs via loss of income.
By the way: if you get sick and lose your income? Guess what else you lose if you can't keep up the premiums.
The happy-shiny is all image, so the ruling class can feel good about itself. The reality is that, once again, the working class gets the short end of the stick. And, if you get seriously sick and don't have a large cash reserve (and good luck building one while paying big bucks for your health-plan premiums), you'll end up bankrupt.
Not only do they not get any money from me because, as I said right at the beginning of the call, I don't have any money to spare at this point....
Their fundraiser went right ahead and pissed me off by reciting the stock litany of Democrat gripes about the silly little crap* the "extremists" are forever trying to pull in Republican states (plus the over-the-top Democrat panic over arguably legitimate measures such as voter ID laws)...
...while totally ignoring the massive attacks on civil liberties being perpetrated by the crooks in power in, e.g, D.C. and Sacramento.
OK, guys. If you want to be a narrowly partisan organization, go right ahead. But you'll go without me.
* Like, oh, trying to impose Swedish-style restrictions on abortion.
Patterico has also picked up the story about the Obamacare website's back end being only about half-baked (60% done, 60% not done yet... not that much difference).
Not even the payment system? Not coded yet?
Why am I not surprised?
After all, the front end - the part the end-users see - is the easy part. A reasonably competent web-development team - say, three good developers and a manager - could have done the job, and done it well, in a couple of months, given a coherent spec to start with. Heck, I could have done it in a single-digit number of months, and I'm not even a web developer!
And yet: after three years, the front end code was far from ready for prime time. It didn't work.
Lurking behind the easy front-end code is the far more complicated back end, which deals with all the various, incompatible, fiddly databases, looks up your premium, calculates your subsidy, runs your application past the Department of Homeland Security, takes your money, and sends everything off to the third-party payment company of your choice. Basically the stuff ehealthinsurance.com has been doing for a while, plus the incredible extra complexity of dealing with the government bureaucracy and the subsidy system.
And, unsurprisingly given the state of the front end, this part turns out to be about half written. Tested? Working? What do those mean?
The really big complexity, of course, is the actual operation of the third-party payment system, and its interaction with the vast chaotic system that is the American Public.
Those of use who've been paying attention have been expecting, all along, the third part of the system to fail... but I, for one, was expecting the death spiral to start around the middle of next year (moved up from my earlier prediction of 2016-ish, once I saw what the premiums were going to look like) and proceed gradually, with things falling apart over a period of a few years. Now, with even the easy stuff not working, the premiums turning out to be even more out of line with what ordinary people can afford, the coverage on offer being largely substandard, and the cancellation notices going out? Dead and rotted by New Year's.
And meanwhile we have even more laws and regulations getting in the way of real reform. Progress!
Addendum: and what's with "getting the system working for 80% of the users" or whatever the latest promise is? Where I come from, that's called "zero-nines reliability," or, more commonly, "Does. Not. Work."
Behold a tale straight out of tin-foil-hat territory, with four dead bodies (known, so far), government snoopery, high-risk raids in response to accusations (subsequently found to have been false) of minor skulduggery, and... oh, go read the whole thing.
This is just so implausible, right? Our government, here, in the good old U. S. of A., would never do such things.
Or, rather: it's implausible unless you've been paying attention to the news the past few decades. If you have been paying attention? Alas, not that much of a stretch.
Coming off my yearly engagement with the think tanks, I've heard, for the first time, a series of data points coming from hospital CEOs that add up to one thing: the admission that exercising a hospital's primary function is no longer a source of value and revenue, it is viewed as entirely cost, risk, and liability. Consequently, they are no longer building any capacity, and are in fact looking for ways to reduce their capacity and eliminate hospital beds.
This is what happens when a business is run by the bean counters... which happens when it's big, or when it's publicly traded.
I've seen it many times in the high-tech area: under current accounting rules, R&D is pure expense. You can't go investing in the company's future by developing the next innovative product, because that's classified as spending the shareholders' money to no good purpose.
Which is why established companies can only create ever-shinier cosmetic variations on the old product line, and replace R&D with M&A: to get a novel product, wait until some little startup company develops it, then buy the company.
Oh, and little things like manufacturing test are also classified as expenses. Quality: we've heard of it, but have no budget for it.
All of which calls for a lengthy rant, but it's Monday morning and I'm already running late.
But unlike Mr. Bush, who faced confrontational but occasionally cooperative Democrats, Mr. Obama is battling a Republican opposition that has refused to open the door to any legislative fixes to the health care law....
Hello? Until a couple of weeks ago, 'twere Obama who refused to consider legislative fixes that might involve Republicans. True, when the Republicans were trying to delay the individual mandate through legislation (y'know, legally), they were really bent on killing the whole thing... but now that Obama is proposing to delay it by executive fiat (i.e., illegally), suddenly Republican opposition to changing the law is the problem?