Susan's Feed
Oct 31, 2013

Obamacare website gets new tech experts; oversight pressure grows

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration said it has brought in experts from top technology companies including Google Inc and Oracle Corp to fix the HealthCare.gov website, as Republicans press for details about the botched October 1 launch that prevented millions of Americans from signing up for new insurance plans.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it had added dozens of technology experts and engineers to its round-the-clock effort to fix the technical glitches on the site that is key to the implementation of President Barack Obama’s healthcare restructuring law.

Oct 31, 2013

Obamacare controversy hits close to home for Capitol Hill staff

WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Republican lawmakers opposed
to Obamacare are grappling with a predicament of their own
making as they decide whether to move their staff into the new
insurance marketplaces tied to President Barack Obama’s
healthcare overhaul.

More than three years ago, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley
of Iowa proposed an amendment to the Affordable Care Act, also
known as Obamacare, requiring U.S. lawmakers and their aides to
purchase insurance coverage on the new online marketplaces known
as exchanges.

Oct 31, 2013

U.S. lawmaker subpoenas Sebelius for Obamacare documents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior House of Representatives lawmaker subpoenaed Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for documents related to the troubled launch of the Obamacare website, HealthCare.gov, his office said on Thursday.

Representative Darrell Issa, Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced he had subpoenaed Sebelius for information he and Republican Senator Lamar Alexander have sought since October 10.

Oct 29, 2013

U.S. passes up firms’ offers to help healthcare website: committee

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration appears to have passed up offers from Amazon and Microsoft to help fix the federal government’s troubled healthcare enrollment website, according to documents released on Tuesday by a Republican-led congressional investigating committee.

An October 7 inquiry from Amazon’s subsidiary Amazon Web Services Inc. was turned down by two senior officials at the Department of Health and Human Services, which is overseeing implementation of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, according to copies of emails provided by the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Oct 29, 2013

Obamacare official tells Congress website glitches ‘not acceptable’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – American consumers’ initial experience on the Obamacare website Healthcare.gov has been inadequate and unacceptable, a key administration official overseeing the troubled launch told a congressional panel on Tuesday.

Marilyn Tavenner, director of the agency in charge of setting up the online insurance exchanges, said the administration was determined to repair the glitches, but experts were still diagnosing the problems and have much work ahead.

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.