President Obama said Monday he would seek reforms to the federal IT procurement process following the botched rollout of the ObamaCare website.
Blasting the technical glitches as “inexcusable,” the president said he had personally been “very frustrated” with the problems plaguing HealthCare.gov.
“There are a whole range of things we're going to need to do once we get this fixed, to talk about federal procurement when it comes to IT and how that's organized,” Obama told a group of top donors and supporters at an Organizing for Action dinner in Washington.
It’s not the first time Obama has called for a revamp of how the federal government buys and uses information technology.
In fact, Jeffrey Zients — the incoming director of the National Economic Council who has been temporarily tasked with bringing the ObamaCare website back online — used to work as the administration’s “chief performance officer.” In that role, Zients led an “Accountable Government Initiative” designed to reform how the government purchased and maintained its information technology services.
Under his direction, the administration in 2010 temporarily halted $3 billion in technology projects in an attempt to reduce costs and improve technology functionality.
Later that year, Zients told the Northern Virginia Technology Council that government IT management “needs to be more agile, more adaptable to new technologies, more accountable and more focused on results.”
“Too often, IT projects are over budget, behind schedule and fail to deliver results,” he added, according to federal technology magazine FCW. “Fixing IT is central to everything we are trying to do. IT is our top priority.”
Zients has promised that the ObamaCare website will be repaired by the end of this month.
On Monday, Obama predicted that despite the technical issues, Americans would come around to support the Affordable Care Act.
“We are going to look back a year from now, three years from now, five years from now, 10 years from now and the American people are going to understand that this country finally, after decades, we are going to make sure that every single person can get affordable healthcare,” Obama said.