How the Healthcare.gov Failure Will Morph Into Obamacaregate

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 22 2013 1:58 PM

How the Healthcare.gov Failure Will Morph Into Obamacaregate

On Thursday, when contractors who helped build healthcare.gov come back to Congress, you will hear a lot more about CGI Federal. The Canadian-owned company built the website, and in testimony from Sept. 10, it told the skeptical House Energy and Commerce Committee that things were going just great.

To date, the FFM implementation has achieved all of its key milestones from the initial Architecture Review in October 2011 to Project Baseline Review in March 2012 and, most recently, the Operational Readiness Review in September 2013. Additionally, in April 2013, health insurers began submitting their plans to the system for review by CMS. Starting in August 2013, consumers were able to go into the system and register their accounts.  At this time, CGI Federal is confident that it will deliver the functionality that CMS has directed to enable qualified individuals to begin enrolling in coverage when the initial enrollment period begins.
Advertisement

Well. In announcing this new hearing, Republicans complained that "[f]or months, administration officials and contractors alike assured committee members that implementation was 'on track' for the October 1 rollout, but the first three weeks of open enrollment have been defined by significant systems failures." There's a contradiction here, and there's a party remaining silent. What do HHS staffers think of the mess? How much did they know before Oct. 1?

If the investigations into Fast and Furious and the IRS scandal tell us anything, the next phase of GOP sleuthing into Obamacare will probably be subpoenas and other requests that produce awkward communication (emails, mostly) from HHS and contractors. There will be lower-level bureaucrats who get caught out for saying the wrong thing, or encouraging others not to say the wrong thing. It's incredible that HHS et al. built this system for years with nary a leak about possible glitches in the system. 

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The First Case of Ebola in America Has Been Diagnosed in Dallas

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Don’t Panic! The U.S. Already Stops Ebola and Similar Diseases From Spreading. Here’s How.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 6:59 PM The Democrats’ War at Home Can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 4:45 PM Steven Soderbergh Is Doing Some Next-Level Work on The Knick
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 6:44 PM Ebola Was Already Here How the United States contains deadly hemorrhagic fevers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.