Republican Rep. Says Obamacare Website ‘An Insult To Amazon’

Darrell Issa grills administration technology officials

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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. makes an opening statement as his panel holds its first public hearing on problems implementing the Obamacare healthcare program, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.

A top House Republican on Wednesday mocked the Obama administration’s troubled health insurance website as “an insult to Amazon and Kayak,” and called it a “monumental mistake” to launch before it was ready last month.

“That legislation created three and a half years ago was still being written in late September,” said California Rep. Darrell Issa, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Issa was speaking before a hearing in which he grilled top administration technology officials about the botched roll-out of the health care website, Those officials said they are working “around the clock” to fix the site, and that its performance is improving.

“Since the beginning of October, I have shifted into working full-time on the team that is working around the clock to fix and bring it to the place it should be,” Todd Park, the administration’s chief technology officer, said in his prepared opening statement. “The website is getting better each week, as we work to improve its performance, its stability, and its functionality. As a result, more and more individuals are successfully creating accounts, logging in, and moving on to apply for coverage and shop for plans.”

Since its Oct. 1 launch, has crashed, operated slowly and been taken offline completely at times for maintenance, severely hampering implementation of President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement and embarrassing the White House. Officials have blamed bad computer code for the failures and say the website will be work for “the vast majority of users” by the end of November. Both Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius have publicly apologized for the website.


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