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Obama administration

Obama knew a month before launch that Healthcare.gov would be a disaster

Friday, November 01, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Obama administration, Healthcare.gov, launch disaster

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(NaturalNews) When government officials are caught in a web of deceit or corruption, the first couple of questions usually asked by the media and investigators are, "What did they know, and when did they know it?"

A story published this week by CNN answers those two questions, revealing that the president and his staff knew that the Healthcare.gov online insurance marketplace wasn't ready to be unveiled at least a month before its official Oct. 1 launch.

As reported by CNN:

The Obama administration was given stark warnings just one month before launch that the federal healthcare site was not ready to go live, according to a confidential report obtained by CNN.

The caution, from the main contractor CGI, warned of a number of open risks and issues for the HealthCare.gov web site even as company executives were testifying publicly that the project had achieved key milestones.

'We tested it and things were just fine'

During testimony on Capitol Hill earlier this week, Medicaid Chief Marilyn Tavenner, who is in charge of overseeing the Oct. 1 launch of the online health exchange, said she had no clue about the problems.

"No, we had tested the website and we were comfortable with its performance," she said, stretching her credibility. "Now, like I said, we knew all along there would be as with any new website, some individual glitches we would have to work out. But, the volume issue and the creation of account issues was not anticipated and obviously took us by surprise. And did not show up in testing."

And yet, according to Section 1.5 of the CGI document, dated August 2013, which was sent to Tavenner's Center for Medicare and Medicaid, the "timeframe for testing" was deemed inadequate "to complete full functional, system and integration testing," a problem the company deemed "significant."

Other integration issues were labeled "severe" and "significant." And the document further described "top risks currently open," as well as "outstanding issues currently being mitigated."

The element listed as "not enough time in schedule to conduct adequate performance testing" was given the highest priority.

As further reported by CNN:

CGI had no comment other than to confirm authenticity of the report that also gave "the highest priority" and warns "we don't have access to monitoring tools" and "hub services are intermittently unavailable" -- short for the "site's not working sometimes."

Brian Cook, a spokesman for Medicare and Medicaid services, whitewashed the CGI report, saying it was "not a dire warning" but rather a "list of things to do," if read in whole.

"What's been done, what needs to be done, what needs to be resolved. It is misleading to cherry pick a few lines," he said, adding that the report identified issues, and "we worked to address those issues and all issues identified."

And yet, the description of the problems appears to be plain.

Hey, you don't ever have enough time to test

CNN said it wasn't clear whether a later report detailed that the issues were resolved. But given the site's atrocious roll-out, it's apparent that much of what needed to be done, wasn't done.

Also, the report's warnings run afoul of the rosy picture painted by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in an earlier interview with the cable network's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, when she said Oct. 1's roll-out would go smoothly.

Cheryl Campbell, a Senior Vice President for CGI Federal, also whitewashed the situation (And why not? Her company was getting hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars.). She told lawmakers on Capitol Hill October 25, "no one ever gets enough time for testing."

And yet, when she was on Capitol Hill in September, she failed to raise any alarm bells when she told a House panel she was sure her company could get the job done.

"To date, the marketplace implementation has achieved all of its key milestones from the initial architecture review in October 2011 to project baseline review in March 2012 and, most recently, the operational readiness review in September 2013," she said, before the website went live.




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