EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 17, 2013

Letter: Cronyism doomed Obamacare website

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy, a Harvard-educated Democrat, promised to put an American on the moon and bring him home safely. On July 20, 1969, Mr. Kennedy’s promise was fulfilled when Apollo 11 landed on the moon before a worldwide TV audience, even though Kennedy himself was not merely out of office but dead, having been assassinated by a Communist.

Three years ago, President Barack Obama, a Harvard-educated Democrat, promised, “If you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep it. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.” He also promised that people who didn’t have health insurance could buy comprehensive policies at low cost on a government website.

The Obamacare website crashed shortly after midnight Oct. 1 with about 2,000 people trying to use it. More than a month later, the number of successful insurance purchasers remains in single digits in most states.

The Apollo project succeeded even though no one had ever done anything like it before. The Obama administration couldn’t field a website even though thousands of businesses operate complex websites handling millions of users around the clock. What’s the difference?

Mr. Kennedy went to MIT, the world’s premier engineering college, and asked Charles “Doc” Draper, the world’s foremost expert in guiding rockets, to handle the moon mission. Competence succeeded.

Many companies could have built Mr. Obama’s website. Microsoft and Google operate monster websites and have years of experience with medical records. eBay has a complex website. Facebook supports a billion users. Amazon sells willing buyers $28 billion worth of merchandise per year.

Instead of seeking competence, Mr. Obama awarded the contract to a Canadian company run by one of Mrs. Obama’s Princeton classmates. The company that built the broken website has been punished for their $500 million failure by being paid extra to fix their botched job. Cronyism failed.

Bill Taylor

New Hampton