Author Topic: Revealed: How election-year fears caused the White House to delay its Obamacare website long enough for plans to fall apart  (Read 294 times)

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Offline Rapunzel

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2476912/Revealed-How-election-year-fears-caused-White-House-delay-Obamacare-website-long-plans-fall-apart.html

Revealed: How election-year fears caused the White House to delay its Obamacare website long enough for plans to fall apart

By David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor

PUBLISHED: 10:39 EST, 25 October 2013 | UPDATED: 11:20 EST, 25 October 2013

One reason for the botched October 1 Obamacare website rollout was a time crunch created when the White House stopped issuing guidance to contractors, insurance companies and state governments in the months before President Obama's 2012 re-election.

The result was a system doomed to fail as the administration placed the entire process 'on hold' until after Election Day.

A Republican election strategist told MailOnline that 'everybody knew' the president was 'holding back on the more controversial stuff on his agenda during the re-elect[ion] season.'

'The last thing he wanted was a bunch of news stories in mid-October about how big Obamacare was getting, how many companies were involved and what it was going to cost,' he said. 'Just look at what that news has done to the White House this month.'

In a Web video published during the summer, the Dept. of Health and Human Services insisted it was delivering the Obamacare website 'on schedule,' but political decisions a year earlier likely doomed the finished product to disaster

In a Web video published during the summer, the Dept. of Health and Human Services insisted it was delivering the Obamacare website 'on schedule,' but political decisions a year earlier likely doomed the finished product to disaster


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokeswoman Julie Bataille acknowledged that 'a compressed time frame' kept Web developers from testing the Obamacare site adequately

CBS News reported Thursday that CGI Federal, the primary website contractor who has billed the government at least $394 million so far, had to scrap one-third of its work and start over because it hadn't received all its technical requirements until May of this year.

That delay and others like it, experts told CBS, was the reason Healthcare.gov wasn't adequately tested before its launch date.

Between May 2010 and August 2012, records show, federal government agencies issued 109 proposals for regulations related to the Affordable Care Act.

But that number dropped to zero from September 2012 to November 2012. After the election, the government issued 60 more regulatory proposals.

It's these regulations that laid out requirements covering the minimum level of services insurance plans had to offer, the website's minimum requirements for data security and privacy protection, specifications for the online user interface, and other key information for the companies delivering the finished product.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokeswoman Julie Bataille acknowledged Thursday during a conference call with reporters that a shortened calendar was to blame.

The Obamacare website's woes have energized conservatives who have been demanding the Affordable Care Act's repeal since it became law in 2010, and that was before news emerged that the failure may have been driven by politics

'Due to a compressed time frame, this system just wasn't tested enough, especially for high volumes,' she said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has seen calls for her resignation growing in number since the Oct. 1 botched rollout of insurance exchanges under the new federal health care law

When asked why the website was in last-minute mode after three years of lead-time, Bataille attributed it to the 'complexity of the system.'

'When you put all of those pieces in place over a period of time, I think it is no surprise to anyone that we are operating under a compressed time frame to get all of that done and in order to do the rigorous testing that was needed.'

During a Capitol Hill hearing Thursday, contractors blamed Bataille's agency for the time crunch.

Website testing for Healthcare.gov only began 'in the last two weeks of September,' CGI Federal Senior Vice President Cheryl Campbell testified. 'It would have been better to have more time.'

And Andrew Slavitt, the executive vice president of Optum/QSSI, which constructed the website's data hub, told the congressional panel that 'we informed CMS that more testing was necessary.'

'Months would have been nice,' he said.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776


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