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White House, ‘despite assurances,’ knew of Obamacare glitches in spring

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A new report from a consulting firm indicates the White House was warned of Obamacare rollout glitches as far back as the spring — a significant claim, given the administration's insistence that the president wasn't aware of any problems until after the enrollment website went active.

CNN reported that the White House actually requested the private firm, McKinsey & Company, to look at health care rollout scenarios. The company found the potential for several glitches — and reported, for instance, that a website malfunction would also lead to a call-in center glitch.

The company also found a range of problems with the health care exchanges, reporting that there really wasn't enough time to test their success rates in the period allotted, before launch date, CNN reported.

The firm gave its warnings to Obama administration officials and to the Department of Health and Human Services, that the federal website for online enrollment could fail, CNN reported. And this warning was given as far back as March — thought the president and his staff say they weren't aware of any website glitches until after the October rollout.

The report was provided to CNN from the House Energy and Commerce Committee. And committee members said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was briefed about these potential glitches at an April 4 meeting. Also in attendance at that meeting: the acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Marilyn Tavenner, and the White House chief technology officer, Todd Park. CNN said Mr. Park also attended a similar briefing a few days earlier, on March 28, at the CMS headquarter building in Baltimore, Md.

At least one lawmaker is shocked at the new information.

"Despite assurances from Secretary Sebelius, Marilyn Tavenner and Gary Cohen that 'all was well' and 'on track' with the launch of the Affordable Care Act, we now have documents dating back to April that call into question what they told us," said Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Tim Murphy, a Republican from Pennsylvania, in CNN.

The committee is set to hold a hearing on the government's Obamacare website on Tuesday.

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