President Obama is again acknowledging critics of his signature health-care initiative as the government continues to grapple with new, technologically complex demands.
In an interview with Fast Company, Obama concedes that HealthCare.gov was a "well-documented disaster" and a kind of wake-up call for the way government relates to technology:
With all the crises we were dealing with—the economy collapsing, the auto industry on the verge of collapse, winding down wars—this did not get the kind of laser-focused attention until Healthcare.gov, which was a well-documented disaster, but ended up anyways being the catalyst for us saying, 'Okay, we have to completely revamp how we do things.'
Obama goes on to blame ancient procurement rules that didn't allow officials any flexibility in designing a massive Web site that Washington had never tried before. Since then, he said, he's taken steps to make sure government and technology work better together in the future. Huffington Post editor Alexander Howard has a good rundown of those.
This isn't the first time Obama's admitted HealthCare.gov's failures. In 2013, amid the site's controversial debut, Obama recognized the difficulty that many were having signing up for health insurance.
"No one is madder than me," he said at the time.
Federal IT may sound like the most boring issue on earth. But as millions learned during the troubled rollout of HealthCare.gov — and again with the high-profile hacking of federal personnel records — it's becoming key to the nation's health and security. Administrations ignore it at their (and our) peril.