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."