Obamacare Website Still 40 Percent Incomplete

The health insurance marketplace's chief digital architect says the project still has a long way to go

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Henry Chao, deputy CIO and deputy director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Office of Information Services, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

The Obama Administration has set a deadline for the end of the month for 80 percent of people to be able to buy health insurance through the federal exchange, but a more crucial percentage might impact that goal. The marketplace’s chief architect said Tuesday that a high percentage of the program’s management systems still have to be built.

Speaking before a panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Henry Chao, the deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said that there’s a long way to go, with somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of the marketplace’s behind-the-scenes workings are still under construction. “We still have to build the financial management aspects of the system, which includes our accounting system and payment system and reconciliation system,” Chao said, according to the New York Times

Chao said that the computer systems are largely completed, but many crucial parts are still being repaired. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius played down the Nov. 30 deadline in remarks to reporters on Thursday, saying, “The 30th of November is not a magic go, no-go date.”

[New York Times]

33 comments
paulejb
paulejb

Three years and $600 million to complete 60% of Healthcare.gov. Doesn't that mean we have two years and $400 million still to go to complete the final 40%?

AsokSmith
AsokSmith

"The 30th of November is not a magic go, no go date"

Really? That's odd. Obama SAID it WAS a magic go date! He PROMISED us a couple of weeks ago it would be fixed by December 1! He PROMISED! You don't suppose he was lying again then, do you? Or did he JUST NOT KNOW? Liar or blithering fool? You pick.

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

It's still impossible to cancel an application on Healthcare.gov. There is no explicit mechanism to do so, and the closest thing to one, "Report a life change" has for several weeks read "Report a life change will be available on 11/15/2013. Come back on that date to report your change." It's now November 20, 2013. 

Fastgirl
Fastgirl

The media including Time need to stop blaming all of Obama's OBAMACARE problems on the website. My policy was just cancelled. The cost for my cancelled policy was $482 per month. On the OBAMACARE exchange, a similar policy not with the same insurance company and not with my doctors will cost me $792 a month. What happened to Obama's promises "If you like your healthcare plan you can keep your healthcare plan. Period. If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. Period."? What happened to Obama's promise that OBAMACARE would make insurance more affordable? The website problem is just the tip of the iceberg.

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firmsoil
firmsoil

Forget the website, the law was never tested and is horribly badly constructed, and that is not getting fixed at all. Actually the failed website is helping the delay of the implementation of an extremely poor risky law that fails tons of quality tests.

This law was passed by highly partisan democrats on a straight-party-line-vote using by hook and by crook tactics, consequently the crook part has gotten stuck now.

RobertNguyen
RobertNguyen

The website works great in the big state of California.

Why doesn't it work in other hillbillies states - whose local government were out to sabotage should be the subject for Congress to investigate.

RobertNguyen
RobertNguyen

Why wasn't  the real CIO of CMA  present to testify to Congress? The Deputy is the guy who is only doing all of his real works and get blames...

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@paulejb No worries, you can stay on Mommy and Daddy's insurance. 

barneydidit
barneydidit

@AsokSmith Yeah because "working for the vast majority of people" is clearly a PROMISE that it will be absolutely 100% functional with no chance of a glitch from that point on.  If a gamma ray blast happens to explode across the galaxy...too bad for Obama...he promised. 

barneydidit
barneydidit

@firmsoil And you find nothing odd firmsoil in the fact that every single Republican in both the House and Senate voted against a law that was not only currently working well in Massachusetts, but was based on a Heritage Foundation idea? And if it's the "hook and by crook" idea that bothers you, I'm assuming you felt the exact same way about the way the Bush Tax Cuts and Medicare Part D were both passed. 

firmsoil
firmsoil

@RobertNguyen

Following is an example of what "works great" means if you are a small business in California.

"Rate information for small businesses considering enrolling in SHOP will be available online at Covered California's website in mid-November."

CarlLegg
CarlLegg

@RobertNguyen  

You don't understand the problem. "The Website" under discussion is the Federal site. Each State developed and created their own site, which has nothing to do with the Federal website development. Totally different development projects, and virtually every State's website is working just fine.


Before you start with the name calling "hillbilly states", look in the mirror, take a deep breath, and make sure you get the facts straight before engaging keyboard.

nellb
nellb

@PaulDirks People can call 1-800-318-2596 to sign up for the Affordable Care Insurance or complete the paper application.

CarlLegg
CarlLegg

@PaulDirks 

Sabotage? Seriously? 

The State ACA sites are generally working just fine. No sabotage. 

The Federal site, under direct control of Obama appointees and hires, is a train wreck. By passing ACA, Congress allocated the funds to the DHHS to create the program, under the management of Obama appointees, and they have failed miserably. 

No sabotage on the Federal site, just gross incompetence of ACA mgmt (Sebelius, Chao, etc.).

This is why Obama's approval rating is now at an all time low, with nearly 60% of Americans disapproving of his performance. 

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/11/botched-aca-rollout-hammers-obama-job-disapproval-reaches-a-career-high/

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@PaulDirks True enough, republican governors would rather hurt their residents than do the right thing and be seen as "helping the enemy".


barneydidit
barneydidit

@PaulDirks Yeah, the fact that Obamacare's rollout in states that have their own exchanges...like the system was designed for, has been relatively drama-free just never seems to make it to Fox News. 

firmsoil
firmsoil

@barneydidit @firmsoil

Too much incorrect information there, however, since you brought up Mr. Bush's record, here it is

Medicare Part D - A republican president supported a democrat priority issue that passed senate by unanimous consent.

Bush Tax Cuts - In the last two decades, the US govt has given us one meager tax cut but has raised our taxes on numerous occasions.

Democrats will learn in about three years that in modern times given his current trajectory Obama is set to become an infamous president who will leave presidential office without any significant piece of bipartisan legislation to his credit.

CarlLegg
CarlLegg

@barneydidit @firmsoil  

I find nothing odd about Obama's approval rating, at its lower point in history, nearly 60% disapprove of the man's work. Bottom line: we tried, it failed, back to the drawing board.

barneydidit
barneydidit

@CarlLegg @RobertNguyen The fact that that two dozen Red states have failed to set up exchanges Carl is contributing to the problem on the Federal site, since that's where the people living in those states end up having to go. It's the classic Conservative mindset- interfere with a process as much as possible, then demand to know why that process isn't working right. 

nellb
nellb

@CarlLegg @RobertNguyen It's having problems in these republican governor states because they have found a way to block the use.  People in these red states can apply by completing the application by paper or by calling 1-800-318-2596.

MaxWright1
MaxWright1

@Paul,nnto

It’s the fault of the Republican Governors that the software developers "Still have to build the financial management aspects of the system???"

Yes! Those evil Republicans are sabotaging it! That's the ticket! It's their fault that the federal web site went live before the financial management aspects of the system had even been built - much less tested.

I've been waiting for that actually. This was one more reason that I was glad Obama won re-election. If Romney had won, these problems would be blamed on him, and leftists would be saying he was sabotaging it. Nevertheless, you've found a way to blame republicans anyway.

Is it really so strange that in leftist, socialist states, like CA and NY that already have a large welfare infrastructure and took the time to set up their own web sites that work, are having more success than the states who -IN AN EFFORT TO SABOTAGE - the whole thing, decided to rely on the federal web site???

Yes, if you don't believe in a Free Lunch and government control of every aspect of your life, you must be sabotaging the President's web site!!

CarlLegg
CarlLegg

@barneydidit @PaulDirks  

Missing the point. State sites are generally working fine. The rates people are paying on those sites is another story. The losses of tax benefits are another story. The emerging stories of small businesses laying off employees to cover the increased ACA cost mandates are another story. What appears to be growing imbalance between the age-enrollment expectations and the enrollment reality is another story -- one which will not be known for another 5 months or so. 

My small business was just informed that, if we keep our private group health plan (Blue Shield) that we will lose our Health Care tax credit (about $10,000/yr), which is about 1/6 of our annual health care cost. If that's true, we will probably just cancel our plan, pay the ACA fines, give everyone a proportionate raise, and tell them to go buy ACA insurance, which will net them about 20% of their post-raise paycheck. 

Bottom line: our employees will be losing about 20% of the pay due to ACA, and we will probably lose some good people. Our only alternative is to layoff 1 or 2 people in the workforce so we can afford to pay health insurance differential to the remaining folks (rough numbers, it's still all very unclear).

Yeah, ACA -- a great deal for some, a killer for small businesses. Pick your poison.

DelmerPolak
DelmerPolak

@barneydidit @PaulDirks Does your example include Oregon? It appears the state spent an enormous amount of money for a website that enrolled no one.

barneydidit
barneydidit

@tom.litton Note to Mr. Litton- statements supported by links to unbiased sources are the number one cause of conservative cranial explosions, so we at Time Inc. are going to have to ask you to please refrain from that practice. 

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@MaxWright1 @Paul,nnto Since the problems with the Federal Website are directly related to capacity issues, it follows quite naturally that if Governors weren't intent on harming their constituents by failing to participate in the program, then everyone would indeed be better off. 

It's not much of a leap at all, insofar as it's undeniably true.


Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

I'll need you to use more CAPS and ! and ??? before you'll convince me.

In states that have the exchange the system works. In the states that don't there are problems. Not that complicated.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@CarlLegg

The HCTC, created under a 2002 law and renewed several times since, pays 72.5% of health care premiums for eligible beneficiaries. Eligible beneficiaries include those who have lost their jobs due to foreign competition and retirees at least age 55 who worked for companies whose pension plans were taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. The subsides can be used to offset the premiums of a variety of health insurance plans, including COBRA continuation coverage and individual policies offered by commercial insurers.)

You appear to be misstating what the HTHC is and how it's benefits are administered.

Needless to say, if  that's a lie, everything else you aster should b viewed in a similar light.