Botched Launch of Health Site Blamed on Poor Coordination

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Obamacare website hearing- CGI vp & Optum VP

No one in the government made sure the many complex parts of the federal health-insurance website worked together properly, and testing of the complete site didn’t take place until two weeks before its Oct. 1 launch, contractors said at the first congressional hearings into the matter.

“It seems like we’ve got several fingers but no palm here,” said Rep. Michael Burgess (R., Texas), as contractors for the site repeatedly pointed blame at each other and at the Obama administration.

The website’s botched launch has become the biggest threat to the success of President Barack Obama’s health law, just days after Democrats beat back a Republican bid to defund it. More Democrats said Thursday that penalties on those who lack health insurance—a linchpin of the law—should be delayed because of the difficulties many people have had in navigating the site.

The contractors said each of their pieces worked more or less as intended, but the website was nearly paralyzed when they were bolted together. The federal agency overseeing the site also took on the job of integrating the many parts of the system—an unusual arrangement for such a complex project.

Testing of the complete package took place in the final two weeks before the launch and revealed problems, contractors said. But they couldn’t name who in the government was responsible for addressing the problems or making key decisions.

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