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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Washington (United States) (AFP) – Confusion over various elements of a vast online apparatus bogged down the U.S. health care website’s debut, contractors will tell lawmakers Thursday at a hearing probing the troubled “Obamacare” rollout.

Furious Republicans have demanded answers about problems plaguing the new system, while the White House acknowledged more technical hangups with President Barack Obama’s signature health care reforms.

Obama is facing a barrage of criticism for failures stemming from this month’s debut of, through which millions of Americans are expected to buy insurance.

The process has been overwhelmed by technical glitches on the website, which critics have blasted as a half-billion-dollar disaster.

The Washington Post reported late Wednesday that the government will now give people extra time to obtain coverage or pay a penalty. It quoted an official in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The paper quoted the official as saying this is not related to the technical glitches but rather to confusion over one aspect of the timing of the law — under which for the first time most Americans have to buy health insurance or face a penalty.

The doubt was over whether people had to be covered by the end of an enrollment period that concludes March 31, or simply have purchased a health plan by then. These have a lag time before they take effect.

The administration official said the new rule is that simply buying into a plan at any point during the enrollment period will spare people from paying the fine.

The House of Representatives’ Republican leadership — long opposed to the reform — has seized the opportunity to schedule three hearings, including a panel on Thursday where contractors involved in the nuts and bolts of the website will likely face a hostile reception.

The contractors will argue that the website serves as a “complex transaction processor” that links millions of customers in real time to federal databases like those of the Social Security Administration as well as to those of more than 170 insurance carriers, and that the initial high volume of users clogged the system.

“Unfortunately, in systems this complex with so many concurrent users, it is not unusual to discover problems that need to be addressed once the software goes into a live production environment,” CGI Federal senior vice president Cheryl Campbell will tell the House Energy and Commerce Committee according to prepared remarks released late Wednesday.

“This is true regardless of the level of formal end-to-end performance testing,” according to Campbell’s testimony.

“No amount of testing within reasonable time limits can adequately replicate a live environment of this nature.”

She said a main problem arose at the entryway to the system, where the requirement to create a secure account caused “a bottleneck that prevented the vast majority of users from accessing” the exchanges.

Meanwhile, the latest response from the White House suggested the problems might be deeper than an expensive Web interface.

On Wednesday, 14 health insurance chief executives met with White House officials and under-fire Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss the hiccups.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • infadelicious

    Glitches aren’t the only thing exposing what a disaster obozocare is ….simple math people!!! simple math!!!

    • Independent1

      You’ve got it!! That’s exactly what it’s going to do – cover over 40 million more people and according to the CBO reduce deficit spending by around 300 billion over the next decade. And I’ll believe the CBO long before I’ll believe YOU!!!

      Oh! Yes, and I’ve noticed that none of you GOP lovers has been remembering the absolute disaster that the Medicate drug benefit giveaway to Pharma was – it took 6 months before the gitches with that Bush fiasco were worked out!!!!!!!!!!

      Where were all the GOP’s congressional hearings around that debacle!!!

      • infadelicious

        Ok then why didn’t he use bush’ s Medicare ” disaster ” And subsequent fix to avoid the same thing? If you’re gonna tell me it wasn’t the same thing then don’t compare them in the first place. Why didn’t he, for $160 million or whatever the amount was , hire the best and brightest 3 years ago? Why wait till it effs up and then pay more to fix or scrap it? And now sebelius claims that the glitches were caused by the republicans holding them up from having the extra 6 months they needed to test it?? WTF????! I think I remember Obozo and Harry digging their heels in and refusing to delay ( the republicans asked for ) the rollout. We’ll see how it shakes out. I hope it all works and those who will be paying extra to subsidize the majority will sign up and pay I would hate for the gov’t ( taxpayer ) to be bailing out all the insurance companies in the future.

        • Independent1

          Actually, I just wrote my senator and suggested that the Democrats in the Senate should set up some committees to determine if the problems with the ACA website coding had something to do with GOP collusion efforts between those who were providing the specifications for the numerous states and insurance companies involved in the linkings by the ACA website.
          And the complexity involved with the Medicaire Part D add on which included nothing more than a few Big Pharma corporation specs and a few thousand medications, pales in comparison to the complexity of trying to link the 50 state exchanges/no exchanges with all the state nuances to their insurance governance regs and the many insurance companies providing healthcare. The programming specs for completing all that are far and above what Medicare Part D required and that fiasco took 6 months to workout – and there were no legislators hellbent on seeing that the Medicare Part D website would fail – as there is an entire Republican party that would like to see that happen if there was any way for them to screw up the process to make Obama look bad. My Senator has been made aware of my concerns with GOP involvement in the problems facing the ACA website (just like the many instances of GOP tinkering with voting in the 2012 ellection and before).