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. NYNJCT

    In a nutshell, impeach Obama and repeal Obamacare.

    November 19, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  2. Kevin Sedlak

    They knew all along. It was another lie to get elected. Does anybody still believe this president would not stoopp to any level to stay in power. First lie about Benghazi, IRS attacking thier enemies, EPA attacking, noew lying about the unemployment numbers. How much more needs to go on before the Media the people who are supposed to protect the people from corruption at the highest levels actuall start doing thier jobs. This is pathetic.

    November 19, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  3. BILL

    yet another thing that Obama will say he had no knowledge of. he is surly a clueless leader

    November 19, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  4. Rob

    Libs will give their messiah and his band of goons a pass on this, since there was an election to win. Clearly that is the most important thing.

    November 19, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  5. Dub

    Wow! Why didn't Obama just give in to Republicans during the debt standoff and delay the individual mandate? He knew this was a disaster and didn't care. Now every Dem up for reelection is in trouble. He doesn't care about anyone but himself!

    November 19, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  6. Sanityrules

    The hope and change, improve transparency in government President lies again. This guy is so full of himself he's lost site right and wrong. I never thought he was very competent, but I at least thought he was genuine in his desire to make things better. Now I'm not so sure.

    November 19, 2013 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  7. gee

    A 'review' without actually using the proposed site?

    November 19, 2013 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  8. Scott Trent

    Obama lies...

    November 19, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  9. Perry

    Don't tell me they got caught LYING to the American people and Congress once again. Really, all these LIARS should be fired and the president impeached.

    November 19, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  10. ITPM

    Typical IT project... warning signs evident and transparent – yet the upstream approach is always a 'Go'...until it crashes.... then you blame the very people who had warned you it was going to crash and not the stakeholders who were warned...

    November 19, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  11. Wade

    I really dislike that CNN places this story in this section, This is about the president lying and placing it here CNN makes it sound like politics IT IS NOT except that Obama LIED to get re0elected.

    November 19, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  12. Moderately Amused

    And the lib spin and excuses begin in 5-4-3-2-1....GO!

    November 19, 2013 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  13. yntgl

    Does he tell the truth about anything?

    November 19, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  14. John Clampton

    but but Obama has been stating he did not know.

    i dont know who to believe anymore

    November 19, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  15. rs1201

    so, what else is new? the administration and President Obama lied to the American People. It's no longer news these days...what would be news is if we were told that we got the truth from this administration. I'm not upset about all this. I didn't vote for a single democrat in the last several elections.

    November 19, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  16. AmericaSuckeredAgain

    It seems pretty much every day we see again where the Obama Administration is busted for another lie. Their credibility is gone.

    November 19, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  17. Steve- Illinois

    The only president in history that always manages to be the last to know.

    November 19, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  18. JJ236

    Gross incompetence from the community organizer administration.

    November 19, 2013 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  19. eddieb

    Sick of Cnn and fox news witch hunt on this matter can we hear about the good things that are going on with the obamacare and what are you all doing to help with this. OH nothing just hurting it is all you got to offer must be part of the tea party.

    November 19, 2013 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  20. Superman

    The truth will really hurt the Obama administration. It is going to be very difficult for this administration to win back many peoples trust.

    November 19, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  21. reggie53

    We all knew that Obama and his cronies knew that this website and also his healthcare plan was and still is a terrible plan which will make a whole lot of people left without coverage. But too many of you people drank the Obama Kool-Aid so you cannot see how this man is destroying our great country.

    Also, will CNN please report on the fudging of the unemployment numbers just before the elections in 2012. I think we, the people, need to know more about this very important information. I do not need to know about Zimmerman.....we need to know what our real unemployment numbers are seeing that we have been lied to for the past 12 months. Our country is experiencing a lot more unemployment problems than this fraudulent WH administration is letting us believe. Shame on Obama and his cronies...........anything to win an election!!!!!!!!!!

    November 19, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  22. Name. G

    Pathetic. First, it's shoved down our throats and then the usual government incompetence takes over and we, the people, are left paying for it.

    November 19, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  23. Sceptic Extraordinaire

    Is anyone seriously surprised by this revelation? Where's the end of the lies and cover-ups by this pathetic and incompetent administration?

    November 19, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  24. Disappointed

    If we made lying by politician a felony, the US would have about 2 Congressman and 2 senators in DC and nobody in the White house. Honest and Trust are something Americans deserve, even more so than fiscal courage. The majority of our leaders are sorely lacking. I long for the day when we have Term Limits, and no cushy lifetime pension and health care benefits for ALL politicians

    November 19, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  25. Greg

    Last week Obama said he would be "stupid" to roll out the site if he knew there were systemic problems. The report by the Washington Post proves that the "White House" had full knowledge of the problems prior to launch. At this point we, the public would be stupid to believe that not one of the president's team did not inform him of the website problems. My Dad always told me to tell the truth no matter what the consequences. I guess Obama did not get this valuable advise.

    November 19, 2013 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
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