House Oversight Committee Obamacare letter, What White House wants, Shop for health insurance without registering feature removed, Obamacare will dramatically increase premiums
“We need an educated citizenry that values hard evidence.”…Barack Obama
“If you’ve got health insurance we’re going to work with you to lower your premiums by $2,500 per family per year. We will not wait 20 years from now to do it, or 10 years from now to do it. We will do it by the end of my first term as president.”…Barack Obama
“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed
–if all records told the same tale–then the lie passed into
history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the
Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present
controls the past.”…George Orwell, “1984″
Below are exerpts from the House Oversight Committee letter to Steve VanRoekel, U.S. Chief Information Officer and Administrator, Office of Electronic Government Office of Management and Budget and Todd Park, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Office of Management and Budget.
The letter paints a disturbing picture of the implementation of the Obamacare website and confirms many of our suspicions.
“Dear Messrs. VanRoekel and Park:
The recent problems associated with ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges and the colossal failure of healthcare.gov has revealed systemic and pervasive failures within the Administration’s implementation of ObamaCare. Many individuals have demanded accountability for these failures.’ Most notably, on MSNBC, Robert Gibbs, President Obama’s first-term press secretary, stated:
I hope they are working day and night to get this done. When they get it fixed, I hope they fire some people that were in charge of making sure that this thing was supposed to work.2
As the Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer for the Obama Administration, and as leading advocates of the OMB-led TechStat3 vetting and review process, you surely maintained significant involvement in the oversight and development of ObamaCare’s critical information technology (IT) infrastructure. As such, we are writing to ask you for more information about the Administration’s development of the healthcare.gov website and its related components.”
“CGI officials provided a second briefing to Committee staff on October 16, 2013, after the failure of healthcare.gov became obvious to the public. CGI officials told Committee staff that CMS officials and employees constantly mentioned the “White House” when discussing matters with CGI. For example, CMS officials would routinely state: “this is what the White House wants.”I2 Moreover, CGI officials told Committee staff that the ability to shop for health insurance without registering for an account — a central design feature of the health insurance exchange — was removed “in late August or early September.”I3 Although, CGI officials were not able to identify who within the Administration made the decision to disable the anonymous shopping feature, evidence is mounting that political considerations motivated the decision.”
“Many IT experts have suggested that the decision to disable the anonymous shopping feature contributed to the failure of healthcare.gov on October 1, 2013, and in the weeks that have followed.I6 Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a policy and marketplace consulting firm, stated:
I think what happened was when they designed their system they were so paranoid about that that they wanted to make sure people browsing got the lowest price. That required signing in so you could see subsidies. And my theory is that’s why they went to the architecture they did even though the IT systems people wanted to go another way.”
On October 17, 2013, the Washington Examiner reported that there was a lack of testing prior to the roll out of healthcare.gov. It stated:
Federal officials did not permit testing of the Obamacare healthcare.gov website or issue final system requirements until four to six days before its Oct. 1 launch, according to an individual with direct knowledge of the project.
The individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the troubled Obamacare website project as suffering from top-level management disarray, changing systems requirements and recurring delays.
The root cause of the problems was a pivotal decision by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials to act as systems integrator, the central coordinator for the entire program. Usually this role is reserved for the prime information technology contractor.
As a result, full testing of the site was delayed until four to six days before the fateful Oct. 1 launch of the health care exchanges, the individual said.
“Normally a system this size would need 4-6 months of testing and performance tuning, not 4-6 days,” the individual said.
The source said there were “ever-changing, conflicting and exceedingly late project directions. The actual system requirements for Oct. 1 were changing up until the week before,” the individual said.I8
ObamaCare will dramatically increase premiums for the groups of individuals the Administration is hoping to enroll in the exchanges. A recent study from the Manhattan Institute found that Obamacare increases premiums for men by an average of 99 percent and premiums for women by an average of 62 percent when comparing the cheapest plan offered in a given state before and after ObamaCare.I9
Given the information gathered by the Committee thus far, we are concerned that the Administration required contractors to change course late in the implementation process to conceal ObamaCare’s effect on increasing health insurance premiums. We believe that the political decision to mask the “sticker shock” of ObamaCare to the American peopleyrevented contractors from using universally accepted and OMB-advocated IT “best practices”” in the development and roll out of this massive federal government IT project. When prudent design and programming decisions are subordinated to politics2I, it is easy to see why chaos would likely ensue.22 Moreover, we are also concerned that the obvious lack of testing means that sensitive consumer information flowing through the data hub and exchanges are vulnerable to security breaches.”