Private consulting firm warned of glitches before healthcare.gov launch
November 19th, 2013
12:27 AM ET
10 months 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. Freedom Storm

    "Trust me. I'll fix it. Period."

    Barack "The Truth" Obama

    November 19, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. Denise

    I hope their accident doesn't occur on a government paid road.

    November 19, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Denise

    Dang those socialist, herding folks into the ACA just for the heck of it. We are out to destroy America, I'm telling you!

    November 19, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. s~

    You shall know that you're a liar when you lie even during "apologizing" for your lie and during offering a "fix" for you lies.

    November 19, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. Refuse2giveup

    Lawyerprof: "FACT: the policies which insurance companies cancelled were junk policies and did not cover anything worthwhile." Really? What gives you or any other person the right to decide this for someone else? So what if the government decides that the place you are living in is too large for your family size and that you MUST sell at a loss and buy a cheaper, smaller home so your extra money could be taken to pay for housing for less fortunate people? What if the government decides that the clothes you're wearing are unnecessarily expensive and you MUST wear cheaper clothes so your money could be collected and spent on clothing poor people? Would you also be on board for that, too?
    If not, you're a hypocrite; if you do agree, we all can see where progressives want to take this country.

    November 19, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. tom l

    @the ever more angry Rudy,

    "supporting "health care shoplifters" like yourself"

    That is such a classic line. I love it. So, let's see, someone that might need insurance and doesn't have it is a "shoplifter" yet someone who is on unemployment for 2 years, or the 15+ million more people who are now on food stamps since Obama took office are a-ok in Rudy's book! Since when did the left become so concerned about fiscal issues? Next thing you know, the left is going to start bragging about killing Osama Bin Laden and that thing only the rich affects (the stock market) being at an all time high!

    November 19, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Refuse2giveup

    To Unidentified responder to Lisa P: "...old people never have grandkids and childless people don't have any nieces and nephews."

    I'm so astounded by the utter stupidity of this comment, I am speechless.

    November 19, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. John Illinois

    You liberals done embarrassing yourselves trying to defend Obama the liar yet?

    November 19, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. john.deatherage

    you can patch bad code. You can't patch flawed design.

    November 19, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. Mary

    Maybe if Obama was IN the White House instead of on the golf course – he would have known

    November 19, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. mike

    Hey liberals how is your health care now? Haha

    November 19, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. nomad2003

    1 billion for a web site that does not work. 4.4 billion given to states for their web sites and roll out (major money given to blue states.. just a coincident of course, almost 1 million to california), all for garbage. There is another article on CNN where that gal from Washington state, used in one of Mr. Obama's speeches, will be unable to get insurance because of the cost.
    Yet we can send a exploration space craft to Mars for 600 million..

    November 19, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. NameFrank Deery

    Just ditch this fiasco and tie the uninsured, et
    al to Medicare, with a raise in that tax, and let the rest of US keep what we have. Let insurance companies compete beyond State lines, and they will lower rates for the rest.

    Socialized Medicine "bad medicine" for Democrats in 2014! Will not work here.

    November 19, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  14. Robert N. constant

    There is a mounting body of evidence that Non profits funded by the Koch Brothers have engaged in extensive sabotage of the roll out of the Affordable Care Act. THAT is the real story which, CNN has chosen to Ignore, while adopting and focussing on Tea Party Talking Points.

    November 19, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. Steve

    Ben Franklin: "Those who make excuses are seldom good at anything else". How can all of the Obama's puppets believe anything he has to say let alone covering for him?More excuses ...Junior senator from New york on Sunday trying to cover Obama's azz.Blame the GOP for a shutdown & Harry Reid won't even bring bills to the floor.How good does a one year extension to the ACA sound now?Obama = Excuses / Blame / Lie

    November 19, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. Fair is Fair

    Refuse2giveup

    To Unidentified responder to Lisa P: "...old people never have grandkids and childless people don't have any nieces and nephews."

    I'm so astounded by the utter stupidity of this comment, I am speechless.
    ----------
    You mean you didn't know that old people needed maternity care in case they had grandchildren??????

    November 19, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. pk

    Mind numbing incompetence...and to think THEY still have jobs and I'm going crazy looking for one..........

    November 19, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. pk

    I had a GREAT policy cancelled...all preventative covered; no co-pay for dr visits; major medical with low deductible; just had surgery on both eyes with a small co-pay....so this is a junk policy? Can't wait to pay twice as much for less than half........

    November 19, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. dnokc

    Liberals have no shame.

    November 19, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  20. Dean

    Web glitches are not the real problem, The real problem is increased costs for worse coverage. How can a person who needs tax credits to make the monthly payment afford a $2000.00 deductible and a 40% copay when they get medical care?

    Wonder if Pelosi has read it yet?

    November 19, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. Jose Jalopeno

    It's funny people are so in love with bama man that you don't care if you have been lied too. You are the same people that would have jumped in the gas chambers if Hitler told you too. I mean show some pride hold him accountable like you do with Republicans and everyone else. You are being lied to people please just wake up. I am not asking you to go out and vote for every republican, but just take a look at what is being done and what hasn't been done.

    November 19, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. DirtyHeat

    @Joe
    "Yawn,....CNN,...the "New" Fake News Network ! So much Drama,...not much real "News" ! Still trying to milk something for the $$$. The Web site failed,...so what,...it'll get fixed,...drama over."

    I love how every time Obama screws up, liberals like you are so quick to dismiss it as "fake news" or much ado about nothing. How about admitting the truth which is the current administration couldn't run a McDonalds if they had to. Everyone, including Obama, is in way over their heads.

    November 19, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. Bob

    An April report, in the IT wold, is out of date in MARCH! Don't try to blow things up out of proportion

    November 19, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. Eagle08432

    I guess this is the Rep fault too!

    "PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – With all the problems facing the rollout of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, nowhere is the situation worse or more surprising than in Oregon, a progressive state that has enthusiastically embraced the federal law but has so far failed to enroll a single person in coverage through the state's insurance exchange."

    November 19, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. MTATL67

    I'm so sick hearing/reading about a website. There is no budget, no immigration reform, millions had food stamps cut. It's 2012 all over again..the press out of step with the people.

    November 19, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22