Nonpartisan GAO Faults Administration’s Poor Management for HealthCare.gov Failures

July 30, 2014

GAO and CMS to Testify TOMORROW at 9:15 AM

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), will hold a hearing, PPACA Implementation: Updates from CMS and GAO, tomorrow at 9:15 a.m. Subcommittee members will review a forthcoming Government Accountability Office report on the implementation of the president’s health care law. As The AP summarizes, the report found, “management failures by the Obama administration set the stage for the computer woes that paralyzed the president’s new health care program last fall.” Testimony prepared by the GAO also found that the backend of the health care exchange will not be complete until December 2014.  

Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) commented, "As the cost of the exchange closes in on a billion dollars, even to this day the system is not fully built. The disastrous implementation of the president’s health care law has already led to canceled plans, lost access to doctors, and higher premiums.  Now add to that hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on an exchange that is still not ready for prime time.”

Murphy added, "The Obama administration was not up to the job, and American taxpayers are now paying the price. Despite repeated assurances to our committee that everything was 'on track' - it turns out it was on track to disaster. We have many questions tomorrow, but will the administration finally have answers on how we got into this near billion dollar mess?”

Subcommittee members will also question the Government Accountability Office and Andy Slavitt, the Principal Deputy Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, on the status of implementation and building the still-incomplete backend. You can watch the hearing live online here tomorrow at 9:15 a.m.

July 30, 2014

Probe Exposes Flaws Behind HealthCare.gov Rollout

Management failures by the Obama administration set the stage for the computer woes that paralyzed the president's new health care program last fall, nonpartisan investigators said in testimony released Wednesday.

After a months-long investigation, the Government Accountability Office found that the administration lacked "effective planning or oversight practices" for the development of HealthCare.gov, the online portal to coverage for millions of uninsured Americans.

As a result the government incurred "significant cost increases, schedule slips, and delayed functionality," William Woods, a GAO contracting expert said in testimony prepared for a hearing Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

GAO is the nonpartisan investigative agency of Congress. Its full report is also expected Thursday.

Investigators found that the administration kept changing the contractors' marching orders for the HealthCare.gov website, creating widespread confusion and leading to tens of millions of dollars in additional costs. Changes were ordered in seemingly willy-nilly fashion, including 40 times when government officials did not have the formal authority to incur additional costs.

The report faults the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services — for ineffective oversight of contracts for HealthCare.gov's computerized sign-up system and its electronic back office. The Medicare agency, known as CMS, was designated to administer Obama's health care law. …

Read the article online HERE

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