Susan's Feed
Oct 27, 2013

Key U.S. official faces grilling over how Obamacare website became fiasco

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two months before the troubled October 1 launch of Obamacare exchanges, a key administration official overseeing the program assured a congressional oversight panel that work was on track to roll out a tested website that would make it easy for Americans to enroll in affordable health insurance coverage.

“This is a large and complicated endeavor that I am proud to lead, and every decision is being made by my prior work experience,” Marilyn Tavenner testified on August 1 before the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, describing the launch of the Healthcare.gov website.

Oct 25, 2013

Official who made big healthcare website decision a frequent White House visitor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The government official identified as being responsible for a last-minute decision that helped jam up the Obamacare health insurance website has been a frequent presence at the White House, according to visitor logs.

Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), was named Thursday in congressional testimony as the one who ordered the lead contractor to make consumers register before browsing for price information, a step avoided by popular online shopping sites such as Amazon.com.

Oct 24, 2013

Contractors describe scant pre-launch testing of U.S. healthcare site

WASHINGTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) – The Obama administration
launched its troubled healthcare insurance website after only a
minimum of crucial system-wide testing, despite contractors
warning officials repeatedly about performance risks, a
congressional panel heard on Thursday.

Witnesses said the administration did not conduct end-to-end
testing of the system’s technology backbone until just the two
weeks before one of the lynchpins of President Barack Obama’s
landmark healthcare policy opened to consumers on Oct. 1.

Oct 24, 2013

Contractor says warned U.S. officials about healthcare website risks

WASHINGTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) – One of the lead contractors
responsible for developing the government’s troubled healthcare
website said on Thursday his company warned the Obama
administration about rollout risks, while another expressed
confidence that it will be fixed in time for benefits to go live
on Jan. 1.

Andrew Slavitt, executive vice president with the parent of
Quality Software Services Inc, said his company told the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services of concerns about testing the
Healthcare.gov website.

Oct 24, 2013

U.S. health care rollout undergoes first congressional scrutiny

WASHINGTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) – The troubled rollout of
President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare policy on Thursday
undergoes its first full-length public airing in a crowded
congressional hearing room, where lawmakers will question
technology contractors about the government’s crippled
Healthcare.gov website.

In proceedings before the House Energy and Commerce
Committee, lawmakers are trying to determine why the online
portal for uninsured Americans in 36 states has malfunctioned
since its Oct. 1 start, the beginning of a six-month enrollment
period that is expected to draw at least 7 million people to
sign up for federally subsidized private insurance for 2014.

Oct 23, 2013

U.S. Contractors shift blame for Healthcare.gov problems

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two leading high-tech contractors for Healthcare.gov website sought on Wednesday to shift the blame for the Obamacare portal’s problems in testimony to a congressional panel investigating the program’s troubled rollout.

CGI Federal, the main contractor for Healthcare.gov, blamed early problems on another contractor’s software and also said the federal government was ultimately responsible for the website’s performance.

Oct 22, 2013

Key House Republican presses tech companies on Obamacare glitches

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican chairman of a key congressional oversight committee has asked Google, Microsoft and three other U.S. companies to provide details on their possible involvement in a “tech surge” aimed at fixing a website implementing President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.

Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, made the request in a letter to Google, Microsoft, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Oracle and Expedia, committee spokeswoman Caitlin Carroll said.

Oct 22, 2013

U.S. broke international law by killing civilians with drones: rights groups

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Human rights groups on Tuesday accused the United States of breaking international law and perhaps committing war crimes by killing civilians in missile and drone strikes that were intended to hit militants in Pakistan and Yemen.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch released separate reports detailing the deaths of dozens of civilians in the two countries. They urged the Obama administration and Congress to investigate, and end a policy of secrecy on the attacks.

Sep 13, 2013

Syrian weapons destruction may not take so long -U.S. expert

WASHINGTON, Sept 13 (Reuters) – One of the creators of the
program that has helped Russia dismantle its weapons of mass
destruction says the mechanics of destroying Syria’s chemical
weapons may be easier and quicker than some officials and
experts think.

Former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, who helped establish a
post-Cold War program to secure and decommission Soviet-era
stockpiles of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, says the
United States has recently developed a prototype for a mobile
system that can eradicate chemical warfare agents on site.

Sep 10, 2013

U.S. providing some lethal aid to Syrian rebels: opposition spokesman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has begun distributing some weapons to the Syrian rebels, a spokesman for the Syrian Coalition of groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday, after months of reported delays.

White House officials suggested in June that President Barack Obama had decided to provide military aid to the Syrian rebels, but in the months since, rebel leaders and U.S. lawmakers have said no lethal assistance has arrived.