Two Months Ahead Of Sign-Up Start, Obamacare Website Still Doesn’t Work

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An official from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Thursday told a Congressional panel that Americans shouldn’t expect this year’s Obamacare enrollment period to go smoothly, despite months of bad publicity about Healthcare.gov’s infamous rollout problems and hundreds of millions of dollars spent to correct them.

“It’s a bumpy process at time. We have committed people, but there will clearly be bumps,” Andy Slavitt, CMS Principal Deputy Administrator told the House Energy and Commerce Oversight subcommittee on Thursday.

Under questioning from Congressman Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Slavitt admitted the underpinnings of the Federal Obamacare website still aren’t completed – and that insurance companies are being subsidized at estimated rates because the “back end” of the website is still not live and able to spit out rates that reflect real-time values.

The Washington Free Beacon provided a transcript of the relevant portion of Burgess’ exchange with Slavitt:

REP. MICHAEL BURGESS: When this thing went live the back end part of the system was not built. Is it now built, available and ready to use? The part that pays providers?

ANDY SLAVITT: The part that pays the issuers, the issuers are getting paid today.

BURGESS: How about the doctors and hospitals?

SLAVITT: The doctors and hospitals get paid by the health plans not by the marketplace.

BURGESS: So the back end part of the system is up and fully functional?

SLAVITT: No. No No. The back end part of the system is going through continuous releases. Today we are paying the issuers at an estimated basis that would be a coming release this year where by the end of this year they’ll begin to get paid at a policy level basis and next year continued automation will occur to tie everything to do with the back end of CMS’ systems.

Slavitt’s attempt at lowering expectations for Obamacare in its second year coincides with the released of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that places the cost of last year’s botched launch at $840 million. That report places much of the blame on CMS bungling, as well as changes to the law that moved the goalposts even as the rollout loomed.

“In summary, we found that CMS undertook the development of Healthcare.gov and its related systems without effective planning or oversight practices, despite facing a number of challenges that increased both the level of risk and the need for effective oversight,” the GAO stated in prepared testimony.

“…New and changing requirements drove cost increases during the first year of development, while the complexity of the system and rework resulting from changing CMS decisions added to FFM [Federally Facilitated Marketplace] costs in the second year.”

 

Note from the Editor: As you’ve just read, the Obamacare abomination doesn’t bode well for anyone. But if you know how to navigate the system you can still control your own healthcare—as every American should! My trusted friend and medical insider, Dr. Michael Cutler, and I have written a concise guide to help you do just that. I urge you… Click here for your free copy.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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