Here Are the Obamacare Questions the White House Will Answer
In the four-and-a-half hours of testimony at Thursday’s congressional hearing over the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s online insurance marketplaces, there was an often-heard refrain from the four witnesses representing government contractors responsible for healthcare.gov. “I don’t have that information”; “I don’t have that (data) with me”; “I’m not able to provide that information.” Witnesses were unable to tell lawmakers on the Energy and Commerce Committee how many error logs have been received, how many individuals have been able to enroll for health coverage, and when the system will be fixed.
However, blame was apportioned to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, the division of the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, that was responsible for the creation of the health insurance exchanges. In particular, senior vice president of CGI Federal, Cheryl Campbell, said in her prepared statement that the company worked diligently to deliver the federally-facilitated marketplaces, and that, “No amount of testing within reasonable time limits can adequately replicate a live environment of this nature.”
More importantly, she argued that the CMS is “the ultimate responsible party for the end-to-end performance of the overall Federal Exchange.” In her testimony, Campbell reiterated that point, saying that, “A team of individuals” at CMS was the “orchestrator” of the project. It was their decision to go live on October 1 and they were responsible for testing the website, she added.