House Committee Grills Healthcare.gov Contractors Over Glitches
Matt | On 24, Oct 2013
The House Energy and Commerce Committee did a rare act of WORK in Congress on Thursday. They sat down to grill several federal contractors associated with the rollout of the healthcare exchange website, Healthcare.gov.
In short, the contractors (CGI Federal, Optum/QSSI, Serco and Equifax Workforce Solutions) accepted some of the blame with the launch issues. However, they rightfully threw the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the bus for not allowing them the needed months to test and troubleshoot the new site.
The purpose of the questioning was to get to the bottom of why the estimated $375 million website was not fully functional as of the October 1 launch. Users have experienced several glitches and downtimes as days have passed since the rollout. The same federal contractors testified before the committee in September that they were sure the website was ready for its impending launch.
Someone was lying or grossly underestimating the actual readiness of the healthcare portal.
Healthcare.gov has without question taken a beating from Republicans and some Democrats in Congress trying to conflate the website issues to the overall Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. They have tried mercilessly to say that the website’s initial poor functionality is a result of the law they deem flawed.
I would accept, perhaps, some of that criticism if it weren’t for the people trying to sell us the argument. Remember that these are Republicans throwing the shade. For 16 days earlier this month, they single-handedly shut down the federal government because they wanted to delay the implementation of Obamacare.
Let’s do the math. The partial shutdown alone cost an estimated $24 billion. The glitchy (but fixable) Obamacare website cost $375 million. If Republicans were this concerned about costs, they could have kept the government opened and bought 64 fully-operational healthcare websites for what they WASTED in two and a half weeks of a shutdown.
Trust me, I am all for accountability and correcting mistakes in this troubled launch. I commend both sides for wanting to hold both the contractors and CMS responsible for errors. However, Republicans totally wasted their credibility because of the huge impact of the shutdown on Americans. At this point, the public could care less about a still-functional website versus our loss of global credibility, potential financial standing, and productivity in the government shutdown.
ANSWER IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW:
What are your thoughts on the rollout of the Healthcare.gov website and the resulting backlash?