David B. Grinberg
Jerry, thanks so much for sharing your insightful perspective. I agree with your point about the "people problem" which -- as you note -- may come down to a federal procurement system in needs of major overhaul.
Hiring contractors at the lowest cost does not necessarily equate with producing the best products and services -- this is especially true of career contractors who have become too savvy at "gaming" the system.
I read somewhere that Apple spent about 10 times less money to produce the i-phone compared to the costs for Healthcare.gov. You're correct about needing the best and brightest IT companies to handle a project with the scope, magnitude and importance of Healthcare.gov -- whether that talent comes from Silicon Valley or elsewhere.
In hindsight, there may not always be a second chance to get it right. Further, in the world of public opinion often times first impressions last and perception is reality (whether warranted or not).