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House GOP: Internal emails show deep worries over Obamacare launch

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Piling on pressure over Obamacare’s struggles, House Republicans on Friday released government emails that they said show Obama administration officials had concerns about the system crashing upon launch.

The series of midsummer missives shed light on communications between project managers at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and contractors involved in building HealthCare.gov, a federal Web portal that is supposed to connect 36 states with coverage options under the Affordable Care Act.

Since its Oct. 1 launch, the website has been rocked by capacity issues and software problems, prompting Republicans lawmakers to probe whether the administration knew about its problems ahead of time.

“I just need to feel more confident they are not going to crash the plane at take off, regardless of price,” Henry Chao, deputy CMS information technology officer, wrote in a July 16 email to colleagues ahead of a monthly meeting with lead contractor CGI Federal.

Four days later, Mr. Chao shared with colleagues and contractors a clip of a congressional hearing he attended with CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

“I am not sharing this with you because I think it’s entertaining and informative,” he wrote July 20 to Cheryl Campbell, an executive at CGI, and to dozens of others. “I wanted to share this with you so you can see and hear that both Marilyn and I under oath state we are going to make October 1st.”

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