Private consulting firm warned of glitches before healthcare.gov launch
November 19th, 2013
12:27 AM ET
1 year ago

Private consulting firm warned of glitches before healthcare.gov launch

(CNN) - A newly disclosed report indicates that officials in the Obama administration and the Department of Health and Human Services received warnings from a private consultant group that the federal online healthcare enrollment site could potentially fail to function properly for the October 1 launch date.

The analysis by McKinsey & Company was requested by the White House. It identified various problems with the exchange, including limited testing time and resources before the launch, and found that call-in centers wouldn't function properly if the website malfunctioned.

The Obama administration has come under fire for the botched October 1 launch of healthcare.gov. The site has been plagued with technical issues barring many enrollees from signing up for the federal exchange though the site. This report suggests problems were brought to the attention of key officials as early as March.

The administration has said the President didn't know of problems with the Affordable Care Act's website until after its fumbled rollout - even though insurance companies had been complaining and the site crashed during a pre-launch test run.

CNN received the report from the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The committee said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius received a briefing at the HHS headquarters with these concerns on April 4, along with acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Marilyn Tavenner and White House chief technology officer Todd Park. Park was also present at a briefing on March 28 at the CMS headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland.

“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 (R-Pennsylvania).

On Tuesday, a House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee holds a hearing on the security of the federal healthcare website.

McKinsey's report says the group reviewed 200 documents and sources, interviewed about 40 people across a variety of federal agencies and participated in some meetings and work sessions. But the analysis did not include outside interviews with insurers or access computer code or programs.

The report also points to potential areas of risk that never became a significant issue - like the data hubs used by the state sites and the federal site, to verify applicants' income, citizenship and eligibility. Or prolonged call times, which have been brought down in the weeks following the launch.

The story was first reported by the Washington Post.

CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.


Filed under: Healthcare • HHS • Kathleen Sebelius • Obama administration
soundoff (539 Responses)
  1. Chuck

    Your kidding me ? They told them before hand of problems and they did nothing ? Wasn't that the same thing that happened in Benghazi ?

    November 19, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  2. Latonia Jackson

    Finally some Investigative real Journalism from CNN who has been bowing to the Obama king for the past 5 years. Good Job CNN !

    November 19, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  3. Awake42

    Incompetence? No. Intentional. With a lot of acting after the fact. Rolled out securely in the second term with little or no consequences just like half of the other scandals.

    November 19, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  4. CYA

    It's all going to work out. Just CHILL, people.

    November 19, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  5. jim

    I'm shocked–shocked!–that this administration would ignore bad news.

    November 19, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  6. loveACAlol

    I love how these people on here are saying no one lost their healthcare. I guess I'm no one. I guess My kids and I are nobody who lost their healthcare. Now I cannot get healthcare becuase the website won't allow me to sign up.

    November 19, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  7. destroyerofeconomies

    I love that this law will be the death of American liberalism.and that it was written entirerly by liberals themselves.so fitting

    November 19, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  8. You Can Keep Your Plan If You Want

    @Sammy
    "I support Obama and the AHC, but I cannot understand Obama not delaying the program if it didn't work. I still wonder if he knew what was going on. He should be firing a lot of his support staff if they knew and didn't tell him. This AHC was to important to fail. Obama needs to review his staff and administration and fired them."
    ------------
    At this point I can only conclude that Obama and his administration are way in over their head. He will never admit that they really don't know what they are doing. Obama is trapped.

    November 19, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  9. CLT

    Republican using this issue to derail healthcare for all Americans and so they won't have to deal with the real issues.

    November 19, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  10. Trudi

    When the Republicans gain a super majority next year will Obamacare or Obama be gone first?

    November 19, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  11. geno marcello

    If President Obama really cares about America and the people who elected him, he will do the right thing and resign. Barack Obama is a wonderful speaker and he seems to have genuine empathy for others. But as President, his policies have failed. He should step aside and let others repair the problems the policies of his Administration have caused for the people of the United States.

    November 19, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  12. HenryMiller

    So Obama's claim that he didn't know there were problems was yet another lie. Surprise, surprise.

    November 19, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  13. PKK

    Coming soon to a liar near you;

    BENGHAZI – What Really Happened?

    November 19, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  14. Malory Archer

    Sammy

    I support Obama and the AHC, but I cannot understand Obama not delaying the program if it didn't work.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Why would you delay the implementation of healthcare exchanges based on a website not working? The ACA is working for those who have signed up, and "delaying" it would push them back onto the rolls of the uninsured. If anything he should EXTEND the enrollment period out to the end of the fiscal year – September 30. This will give anyone who wants that information a chance to pick up the phone if they can't get onto the website – or better yet, go to an ACA office. My daughter with a preexisting condition has an appointment to do just that next week!

    November 19, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  15. Maureenmom

    People! We are yet losing troops in the Middle East War- started over 10 yrs ago- under false pretenses...AND WE have this to complain about? Get REAL!

    November 19, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  16. Joe M.

    Obamacare scandal wiped off the top headline by a free diver who died, even though the story has been on CNN for over 24 hours.

    November 19, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  17. Malory Archer

    Maureenmom

    People! We are yet losing troops in the Middle East War- started over 10 yrs ago- under false pretenses...AND WE have this to complain about?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    When you consider that conglomo, inc. owns the "librul" media, and that the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was their messiah (anyone else remember all of the photos of him staged so the presidential (lower case intended) seal appeared to be a halo floating around his head?), then yes, this is what "we have to compalin about".

    November 19, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  18. bobma

    liberals - it's all bush's fault, no matter what

    November 19, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  19. Malory Archer

    Joe M.

    Obamacare scandal wiped off the top headline by a free diver who died....

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Maybe because your so-called "scandal" really isn't?.

    November 19, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  20. Hector Slagg

    Humm,
    This falls under the Bait and Switch thing. Smart Choice: Get rid of Obama Care. Stupid Choice: Continue to sell the people Snake Oil.

    November 19, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  21. 52pan

    Well I hope no one is surprised by this. This is just like liberals. They form an opinion, idea or plan based on some emotional goal. Then they act on it without any regard for actual conditions. When someone tries to show them facts or any information that doesn't fall into their plan or mindset, they ignore it. They adopt this plan of willful ignorance, where, if they don't actually see or hear the information then they aren't obligated to acknowledge it or accept it. Then they blame others for their mistakes.

    November 19, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  22. The other Rob

    @Rob posted at November 19, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am.... your view is interesting because I was saying that exact thing last night. I started with it seems like he is either being played or is doing a great job at acting like he is. I was on the brink of feeling for him but then remembered that no political figure is subject to any decree they invoke...

    November 19, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  23. American Worker

    The guile and fraud upon the American people seems to be endless.

    November 19, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  24. Can't trust any of them

    I keep reading people on here stating "Well, it's just a website so people dont get insurance get over it....Bush lied and we lost lives". Correct me if I'm wrong but if people lose insurance and aren't able to get the help needed don't they in turn lose their lives? Just a question for those out there who think that Politics is a sporting event where one team is better than the other. I couldn't stand Bush when he was in office and now I can't stand Obama in office because I beleive both are just narssisitic liars and feel like they can do no wrong. You want to state that Bush lied about the war, which I believe is the same war that Obama ran on stating over and over again that he would end, also Close down Gitmo. Everybody on here or any other site needs to stop drinking the kool-aid that msnbc or fox throws down our throats and wake up and realize it's not a you vs us (Dems vs. Repubs) it's more of a US vs Them (citizens vs politicians) because they are all the same and are getting their piece of the pie no matter what when we are left picking up the crumbs.

    November 19, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  25. Max Conrad

    Gee whiz! Lies, lies about lies, lies about how many lies were told, lies about where the lies were told, lies about who told the lies, lies about the what the lies were about....

    ...and Obama duzn't know 'nuthin 'bout any of it. The biggest lie of all

    November 19, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
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