Obamacare IT official feared site would be a disaster

11/17/13
 
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from CNBC,
11/15/13:

Forget about that train wreck—a top Obamacare official feared during the summer that HealthCare.gov would be a plane “crash.”

Obamacare’s top IT manager, Henry Chao, was deeply concerned in July that the federal insurance marketplace website would bomb when it launched because of ongoing problems with contractors, eye-opening documents released Friday showed.

“I just need to feel more confident they are not going to crash the plane at takeoff, regardless of the price,” Chao wrote another Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services official, Monique Outerbridge, on July 16, less than three months before the badly botched launch of HealthCare.gov. “Figure out how to get that conversation conducted and message conveyed.”

And four days later, Chao pointedly noted to Outerbridge and a slew of other CMS officials that he and their boss Marilyn Tavenner were sticking their necks out with public “under oath” promises to Congress that HealthCare.gov would work when launched.

“Below are information and links to the Congressional hearing Marilyn Tavenner and I attended this past Wednesday,” Chao wrote, pointedly. “I am not sharing this with you because I think it’s entertaining and informative. I wanted to share this with you so you can see and hear that both Marilyn and I under oath stated we are going to make October 1st.”

I would like you [to] put yourself in my shoes standing before Congress, which in essence is standing before the American public, and know that you speak the tongue of not necessarily just past truths but the truth that you will make happen, the truth that is a promise to the public that millions of people depend on for us to make happen.”

Chao’s email, and others related to deadline concerns about HealthCare.gov, were released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has been conducting oversight hearings into the tech-troubled website.

Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said of the memos, “Administration officials looked us in the eye and told us everything was ‘on track’ but when we pull back the curtain now, the mess is disturbing.”

“What reason do the American people have to believe that the administration is capable of meeting its Nov. 30 goal for fixing HealthCare.gov or its Jan. 1 promise to deliver health care to Americans across the country,” Upton said. “The botched rollout has created a serious question of competence and trust in the administration that we will continue asking at our hearing next week.”

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