By Charles Ornstein
Today’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing/grilling of the contractors behind Healthcare.gov brought a lot of defenses and fingerpointing, but little clarity of when the website will be fixed.
Still, here are some of the more-memorable quotes. The sources are below each.
“I will not yield to this monkey court,” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said when Republican lawmakers tried to talk about online privacy fears. -Politico
“This is not about blame. It’s about accountability,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R., Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “We still don’t know the real picture, as the administration appears allergic to transparency.” – WSJ.com
“CMS [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] had the ultimate decision to go live or not go live,” said Cheryl Campbell, senior vice president of CGI Federal, the lead federal contractor on the project. “At CGI we were not in position to make that decision. We were there to support the client. It’s not our position to tell clients whether to go live or not go live.” — Washington Post
“Amazon and eBay don’t crash the week before Christmas,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, a Democrat. “ProFlowers doesn’t crash on Valentine’s Day.” – NBC News
“Three weeks after the Web site went live, we are still hearing reports of significant problems. These problems need to be fixed, and they need to be fixed fast,” said Representative Diana DeGette, Democrat of Colorado. -New York Times
“We understand the frustration many people have felt since healthcare.gov was launched. We have been and remain accountable for the performance of our tools and our work product,” said Andrew Slavitt, the group executive vice president for Optum/QSSI, a contractor on the project. – ABC News
Meanwhile, HHS officials may be regretting their decision to give Healthcare.gov visitors the ability to post comments to the site. ProPublica reporters reviewed over 500 comments posted at https://www.healthcare.gov/connect/.
Wrongly Listed As Jailed
“Website said my wife and I were ineligible due to current incarceration. We have never been arrested in our lives, both 63!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,” Fred wrote on Oct. 21.
Health Problems Made Worse
“I have a pre-existing condition …. a-fib…..and actually had an attack after getting frustrated with this confusing mess,” Bill wrote on Oct. 22. (A-fib refers to atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heartbeat.)
Daughter is Not a Daughter Anymore
“I am having difficulty with my account,” Joanna wrote on Oct. 22. “It appears that my daughter was added twice so that I now have two daughters with the same name and social security number. I am unable to delete one of them. Also, the drop down menu that relates to what relationship someone is to another is faulty. I choose that my husband is the father of our daughter and that my daughter is a dependant [sic] to me and my husband. What it actually shows though is that my daughter is a stepdaughter to her father and that my daughter is now both my husband and I’s parent. “