HHS Chief Digital Architect for Health Insurance Marketplaces Feared the Worst for October 1st

by Patrick Riley 13 Oct 2013
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As early as March of this year, Henry Chao, the Obama Administration's digital guru ultimately responsible to Kathleen Sebelius at HHS and the President for making the federal "data-hub" do what it was intended to do for over a $400 million dollar investment feared the launch of the federal piece of the online health insurance marketplace or exchange would be a third-world effort. And, I think most of the country, if not world, would agree almost two weeks after the controversial launch October 1st the intial market entry of an online insurance marketplace is suffering from more than what has been described as "gltiches." Indeed, HHS is refusing to release the raw numbers of the number of Americans how have successfully enrolled fueling GOP angst and demands for an update from HHS.

Sebelius and Chao both have testified before Congress numerous times defiantly batting away any hint that they would not be ready on October 1st and that all would be well. Now this rhetoric has given way to silence, even, according to some sources, an active campaign to keep information from the press. Not exactly a posture in Washington that will prevail.

But, disdain is giving way to real economic impact as insurance executives who were promised efficiencies and large, no, huge numbers of new covered lives. Now, with no answers from HHS or CMS and a government shutdown with a fiscal cliff plummet days away, insurance C-suites are a buzz with a need from the feds for some sort of guarantee their huge investments, in large part, to support the President and the Affordable Care Act are not about to be dashed.

The two principal government contractors being held accountable for the debacle are CGI,  Inc. a Montreal based Canadian firm and Booz Allen Hamilton. Insiders close to the project say that as of October, only 70% of the infrastructure and enrollment eligibility functions were ready. Estimates vary from a couple of weeks to months for the remaining 30% to be fixed. Meanwhile, anger grows, both political parties are  using the Health 2.0 crisis as a political boxing bag.

If Congress was not engaged in a fiscal crisis of its own, the Senate Finance Committee and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for one would be demanding Sebelius and Chao answer direct hard line questions. Not to mention the GOP led House whose hard right conservative caucus is salivating to get their shot to publicly expose the nightmare that has unfolded for the White House and Obama Administration health policy pundits.

This debate is far from over, very far. You can follow me report on this discussion and national story on Twitter @Patrick_FrostHC.

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Comments (1)

By  klara andrian
klara, klara

15 Jun 2017 04:35
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