Megan McArdle uses her tech background to remind us how the exchanges websites were designed for failure.
There was no other option.
This system had to be built in three years, and moreover, it could not be built the way Silicon Valley would do it: start small, roll something out, see what works and what doesn’t, then iterate, experiment, and scale until you finally arrive at the site you wanted to build. No, this site had to work on Day One, in every state in the nation that declined to build its own exchange. That was a very tall order, and no one seems to have given it much thought. Even when a manager in CMS tried to get the administration to scale things back, officials refused, and apparently simply failed to consider the possibility that trying to do too much would mean they ended up with nothing at all.