According to the Heritage Foundation’s Web page, The Daily Signal (online, Sept. 15) Judicial Watch President John Fitton is weighing in hard against the storied Obamacare Website. The source for his contentious and negative feelings are documents (some 94 pages long) allegedly detailing an imposing picture of the website’s purported security lapses. Fitton is quoted in the Daily Signal piece as saying, “These documents show that this administration was concerned about the political problems of the security flaws but couldn’t care less about the threat to privacy of millions of Americans.”
The Judicial Watch-obtained documents specifically point out a breach in HealthCare.gov, which renders it susceptible to a “malicious code” – which can then be loaded on to the site.
According to an article by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn in The Washington Times (online 9/8) the Obamacare Web site, HealthCare.gov, still needs revamping. Blackburn recounts that between the years 2009 to 2014 the White House granted some 60 contracts to those who would construct the notoriously botched federal healthcare Web site. The payouts for such agreements? $500 million. On top of those, an additional $300 million.
Blackburn Washington Times article also contends that the promised healthcare under the Affordable Care Act has not materialized. Blackburn adds, constituents are telling politicians that healthcare actually now costs more – even in spite of the federal ACA subsidies. Coinsurance has gone up also.
All of this has made Obamacare advocates less sure of themselves – about Obamacare. Initially, supporters of the Affordable Care Act promised annual health insurance premium decreases of $2,500, which have not occurred.
According to an article in Nextgov.com (online, Aug. 11) the White House is getting ready to roll-out a fix for the troubled Healthcare.gov Web site. Its name is “U.S. Digital Service.” Back in October of 2013 Healthcare.gov was unveiled as part of the Administration’s Obamacare launch. Disaster soon followed, in the form of a massive online meltdown – while annoying millions of those attempting to access the site; a bright spotlight was soon cast on the federal government’s lack of ability in launching an internet-oriented federal health program.
Also, according to the Nextgov report, a recent White House blog post claims, “The Digital service will work to find solutions to management challenges that can prevent progress in IT delivery.” . . . “To do this, we will build a team of more than just a group of tech experts – Digital Services hires will have talent and expertise in a variety of disciplines, including procurement, human resources and finance. The Digital Services team will take private and public-sector best practices and help scale them across agencies – always with a focus on the customer experience in mind.”
The specific date of U.S. Digital Service’s actual debut has not been specified.
The Hawaii Health Connector, has been unable to produce a fully functional website since it launched in October, 2013, even though the CGI Group got $53 million for its creation and another $20 million for operation and maintenance.
A separate $100 million web portal operated by the state Department of Human Services and designed by KPMG to connect Hawaii residents with Medicaid services, a requirement under Obamacare, has also been problematic, House lawmakers said Tuesday, July 22, 2014.
A report in the Wall Street Journal online, June 5, says the Obama administration is restructuring its troubled Healthcare.gov Obamacare website. The White House is also planning on discontinuing key components of the federal health-insurance marketplace as part of an initiative ”to avoid the problems that plagued the site’s launch last fall.”
Also, according to the WSJ report, because the proposed restructuring is under a tight deadline, concerns are emerging “that consumers could face another rocky rollout this fall when they return to the site to choose plans.” Functions, such as an automated payment system to insurers are experiencing delays. Healthcare.gov is still attempting to move over to new federal government vendors who will manage the system.
“We’re all going to be nervous until November 15,” said Shaun Greene, chief operating officer of Utah-based Arches Health Plan. “There is no wiggle room. They’re on a very tight time frame.”
Greene added, “The re-enrollment process is what scares me.”
A Human Events’ blog, written by Bre Paxton and Andrew Collins, notes that as Obamacare marketplace defaults rack up, conservative “pundits and politicos” continue their railings against wasteful government spending for the online insurance portals.
The May 27 Human Events report, which was reprinted from WatchDog.org, cites “five bright spots surrounding the Obamacare exchange failures.” These include the fact that Oregon’s state exchange failed miserably, causing the Beaver State to scrap it in favor of the Healthcare.gov site, though it also was glitch-ridden.
Other bright spots listed include $474 million in healthcare exchange stimulus money, which went to Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland, although the funds did create high-paying temporary jobs.
Only four of the 24 states who operate their own exchanges or those who partnered with the ACA, have experienced significant problems. The article also says Massachusetts, the original model for Obamacare, may fail within a year after an infusion of $500 million, followed by an additional $170 million in federal funds.
Tom Fitton outlines in the May 27 Breitbart.com, a 106-page document obtained from Judicial Watch. It originates from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and reveals alarming information regarding the disastrous rollout of the program last fall.
Fitton said following the launch of the registration for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act, the government tried to cover up the truth. On the first day of the rollout, only one person enrolled.
The account goes on to outline numerous key failures occurring last October, including: On the first full day of enrollments, October 1, 2013, although 43,208 accounts were created, one enrollment was made.
● October 2, 2013, the second day of the rollout, “the Obamacare website had 70 million page views but only 5 million were unique visitors, and 48 percent of registrations failed. The large number of page views have been the result of visitors repeatedly hitting the “refresh” button due to long waiting times.”
● Estimates say approximately 33 percent of the 834 forms for enrollees in Healthcare.gov may have been incorrect, not complete, or not found.
A May 20 story by Jeff Manning and Nick Budnick on the Oregonian’s ‘Oregon Live’ page, says the federal investigation into Oregon’s faulty health insurance exchange is becoming increasingly public, as the U.S. Attorney’s Office has issued broad subpoenas to both cover Oregon and the Oregon Health Authority. Federal prosecutors and the FBI are, “seeking documents, memos, and e-mails between the two state entities that oversaw the botched health exchange with U.S. authorities in charge of dispensing federal money for the project,” according Manning and Budnick.
In three years the state spent $250 million on a challenging technology initiative – one falling short, giving Oregon a glitch-filled, incomplete marketplace. The Oregonian account also relates that the FBI also wants to know if state officials intentionally, “misled their federal counterparts about progress on the exchange in order to get more federal funding.”
The Cover Oregon exchange remains a weighty political liability for Gov. John Kitzhaber. A federal investigation is not helping matters. In a recent poll, nearly 50 percent of registered voters surveyed said Kitzhaber should not win re-election.
The Fiscal Times on May 13, online discusses how state run healthcare exchanges have cost nearly half a billion dollars to construct. Just over six months later they are still not at acceptable performance levels.
“Largely inoperable state exchange websites in Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and Nevada have racked up $474 million federal tax dollars so far,” as reported initially by Politico.com. “The costs will continue to climb as states scramble to salvage the flailing websites or transition onto the federal exchange.”
“The Obama administration had intended for states using the federal portals to gradually transition away from HealthCare.gov and onto their own exchanges,” said The Times. But because of state website issues, the contrary is occurring. Minnesota, Nevada and Rhode Island are each mulling over following Oregon and going over to HealthCare.gov.
The Fiscal Times also said policy experts cite cost as an unintended benefit of more states using the federal portal as it averages out being less expensive per enrollee. A report by Jay Angoff, a former Missouri Insurance Commissioner, outlines those costs to the federal government at an average of $647 to sign up each enrollee on the federal portal, versus $1,503 per enrollee on the state-based exchanges.
Four states that spent nearly a half-billion dollars in federal money to build their own state Obamacare exchanges are facing a tough decision – collect even more federal dollars to salvage their websites or transition over to the federal exchange, scrapping the sites and throwing away the money that has already been spent.
Currently, the federal system serves 36 states, more than the federal health care reform plan had expected, reports Politico. But the sites for the states of Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland are all considered failures, and the government must either write them checks to give them a second chance, or for less money include them with other states that use the federal website to service Obamacare plans. The four states alone have used some $474 million in attempts to build their own healthcare exchanges.