New Documents Reveal Administration Had Serious Concerns with HealthCare.gov In July

November 15, 2013

BEHIND THE CURTAIN: Website Chief July 16: “Need to feel more confident they are not going to crash the plane at take-off

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today unveiled a series of documents provided by the Department of Health and Human Services from July 2013 that reveal the administration internally voicing serious concerns about the progress of the HealthCare.gov website. Among the concerns raised by senior officials was the ability to meet the October 1 launch date and the impact the compressed timeframe would have on testing of the site.

In various emails dating between July 8 and July 20 of this year, administration officials write that they “under oath stated we are going to make October 1st,” but other emails express that, “We believe that our entire build is in jeopardy.” In one document, HealthCare.gov project manager Henry Chao writes, “I just need to feel more confident they are not going to crash the plane at take-off, regardless of price.” Nevertheless, the administration pressed forward, spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on a website that still does not work. On August 1, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner testified to the full committee, “CMS has already completed the majority of the development of the services required to support open enrollment beginning on October 1, 2013 for coverage beginning on January 1, 2014.”

The committee will continue its investigation of the health care law with an Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing regarding the security of HealthCare.gov next Tuesday, November 19.  

“Administration officials looked us in the eye and told us everything was ‘on track’ but when we pull back the curtain now, the mess is disturbing. What reason do the American people have to believe that the administration is capable of meeting its November 30 goal for fixing HealthCare.gov or its January 1 promise to deliver health care to Americans across the country? The botched rollout has created a serious question of competence and trust in the administration that we will continue asking at our hearing next week,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “Rather than pushing forward with unachievable deadlines to ‘fix’ its failures outside of Congress, the administration needs to begin working with Congress on a real plan to protect the American people from this disastrous law.” 

“The administration was under no obligation to launch the website on October 1, yet did so anyway despite the government’s own programmers warning that the site was full of bugs, security holes, and well behind schedule,” said Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA). “When these latest revelations of incompetency are coupled with news that five million Americans are losing their coverage and millions more are paying higher premiums, it’s no wonder the public has lost faith in the administration’s ability to implement this law.” 

Read the newly available documents online here.

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