re: Why Healthcare.gov Failed
Thoughtful analysis, but questions naturally arise--
(1) There were more than six large contractors involved, not only one Canadian firm.
(2) What evidence suggests the project was pushed beyond the 2012 election to avoid political damage? Had the project begun in 2012, results still were not necessarily due until after that election.
(3) Retaining appropriate control is the nature of oversight, especially on a project of this dimension. Only a closer review of HHS decision-making offers insight into why the decision was made-- but probably according to a calculus more complex than you suggest. Obviously, that will come out later.
(4) Retaining CMS could be understood as cost-saving, common sense and building with a proven track record of service delivery
(5) On state exchanges, sticker shock has not been a problem, so why should it be on the federal exchange? "Free flow" of policy information is not impeded by information about subsidies, since subsidies are an obvious and frequent consumer question, with subsidy calculation ranked accordingly.
(6) Would be interested in the HHS logic behind its system testing and problem-flagging. Only 24 hours before launch, a network reported an HHS spokes-person was confident the system was ready, which set off my alarm because no qualifiers that might be expected were even mentioned.