President Obama: 'No Sugarcoating' Problems with ACA Website
October 22, 2013
In an appearance in the White House Rose Garden on Monday, Oct 21, President Obama expressed his frustration with the performance of the Healthcare.gov website.
"The problem has been that the website that's supposed to make it easy to apply for and purchase the insurance is not working the way it should for everybody," the President said. "There's no sugarcoating it. The website has been too slow. People are getting stuck during the application process."
According to The Washington Post, Healthcare.gov failed tests ahead of the insurance exchange rollout. In fact, full testing wasn't even conducted until a week before the launch. While the site should have had the capacity to handle tens of thousands of applicants, it crashed during testing after only a few hundred queries.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) invited 10 insurance companies to test the website and to give feedback. According to one insurance company executive, the testing group urged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to not launch the full website on Oct. 1. They recommended a pilot period or some sort of regional rollout.
Even so, HHS launched the website nationally on Oct. 1. It crashed just after midnight when about 2,000 people tried to begin the enrollment process.
Some congressional Republicans have called on President Obama to fire HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius. A congressional hearing has been scheduled before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Several contractors working on Healthcare.gov will send representatives to testify at the hearing. The contractors include CGI (News - Alert) Federal, Quality Services Software Inc., Serco and Equifax.
A poll issued by the Washington Post and ABC News found that 56 percent of Americans viewed the website problems as a bad harbinger for the healthcare law. At the same time, public support for the law has grown slightly, from 42 percent in September to 46 percent in October.
"There's no excuse for the problems," the President stated. "No one is madder about the website than I am, which means it's going to get fixed."
Edited by Rory J. Thompson
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