Revealed: HHS was given “stark warnings” about ObamaCare website problems a month before launch

posted at 7:21 pm on October 29, 2013 by Allahpundit

Looky what landed in CNN’s lap just 14 hours or so before Sebelius is scheduled to testify before the House. I assume the source is some staffer on Issa’s Oversight Committee, which received a copy of the report from CGI while investigating the ObamaCare rollout. But you never know: Given Sebelius’s determination to scapegoat the contractors, could be that CGI decided to launch its own preemptive strike on her credibility.

Fourteen hours. Tick tock.

On Capitol Hill on Monday, Medicaid Chief Marilyn Tavenner, whose job it was to oversee the October 1 rollout of the website, said she did not foresee its problems.

“No, we had tested the website and we were comfortable with its performance,” she said. “Now, like I said, we knew all along there would be as with any new website, some individual glitches we would have to work out. But, the volume issue and the creation of account issues was not anticipated and obviously took us by surprise. And did not show up in testing.”

But the CGI document, which describes “outstanding issues currently being mitigated” says the testing timeframes are “not adequate to complete full functional, system, and integration testing activities” and lists the impact of the problems as “significant.”…

It is not clear if a later report detailed that the issues were resolved. But the warnings run counter to Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ stated optimism to CNN’s Sanjay Gupta that when she woke up October 1, things would go smoothly.

Here’s the key bit, from page 11 of the report. It was sent to CMS on September 6; note that the first open issue below, foreseeing “severe” impact if CGI wasn’t granted access to the tools it requested, had been outstanding for more than three months at that point.

oi

Interesting that the lack of performance testing is listed as having only “moderate” impact. One of the big complaints by the contractors when they testified last week was that they would have liked to have had months to test. Being given inadequate time three weeks out from launch would therefore seem like more than a “moderate” problem. Here’s another thing that’s curious, which an administration source pointed to in its defense when queried about this by CNN:

mm

If alarm bells were ringing internally about the site not being ready, why is there no mention of it in the upcoming “milestones” report? On the other hand, don’t miss the forest for the trees here: Of course people inside HHS knew that the site was in trouble in September, for the simple reason that expert observers had been warning about it for months and months. This train began to wreck long before September 6:

By early this year, people inside and outside the federal bureaucracy were raising red flags. “We foresee a train wreck,” an insurance executive working on information technology said in a February interview. “We don’t have the I.T. specifications. The level of angst in health plans is growing by leaps and bounds. The political people in the administration do not understand how far behind they are.”

The Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, warned in June that many challenges had to be overcome before the Oct. 1 rollout.

“So much testing of the new system was so far behind schedule, I was not confident it would work well,” Richard S. Foster, who retired in January as chief actuary of the Medicare program, said in an interview last week.

Did CGI lie to Sebelius down the stretch, convincing her that the site was more ready than it was, or did Sebelius press them to roll it out knowing that it wasn’t ready? That’s one source of suspense tomorrow — although it’s not all that suspenseful given that CGI really had no reason to lie to its client. Sebelius had a strong political motive in launching the site on time but CGI obviously had a strong business reason to favor delay, lest its name be attached to a notoriously inferior product. Which brings us to the other source of suspense: What’s Sebelius going to say when she’s asked why the White House didn’t delay the launch? Issa’s committee doubtless has all sorts of evidence marshaled to show that HHS knew for a good long while that the site was in no condition to handle mass public usage. They could have delayed (no matter what Sebelius) tells you and they had pragmatic reasons to do so. Is there any good reason why they shouldn’t have, apart from pure politics?

Here’s Sebelius talking to Sanjay Gupta last week. Note the part at 2:15 when she says she was “optimistic” that things would go smoothly on launch day.


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Given Sebelius’s determination to scapegoat the contractors, could be that CGI decided to launch a preemptive strike on her credibility.

This is like the Iran-Iraq war. To paraphrase Kissinger, “It’s a shame they both all can’t lose be jailed.”

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on October 29, 2013 at 7:26 PM

glad that cgi has no plans to go under the bus for kathleen…

tell this administration to pound sand

cmsinaz on October 29, 2013 at 7:27 PM

As the worm turns…

I hope the spooks drop one on Dear Leader…

d1carter on October 29, 2013 at 7:28 PM

The insurance companies better get locked and loaded…oops is that not pc?

d1carter on October 29, 2013 at 7:28 PM

I see her doing the same routine Lois Lerner introduced in her epic performance before the house.

DanMan on October 29, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Don’t be surprised to hear, “The problem is with all these different insurance companies, offering so many different plans. We (gubmint) just need to take over insurance and things will all be better.”

#BAMSinglePayer

rightside on October 29, 2013 at 7:31 PM

They didn’t care, so, as we can see, the problems just went away.

The Nerve on October 29, 2013 at 7:32 PM

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on October 29, 2013 at 7:26 PM

good point

cmsinaz on October 29, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Thieves, liars….

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 29, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Here there is a trail of lies, and a trail of liars, and the msm enabler liars, lying about the lies to other liars.

Made for a trip to hell for all of them, hell on earth some say.

dear trolls,

lie for the liars please, do your dirty work, for you live for this ongoing sin,,,,

sin for U.S. now for all time so all will get to see the lies you live and die by…..

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 29, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Sort of sounds like the Titanic. Given stark warnings about upcoming icebergs, the captain shrugged the warnings off. Now Obamacare has hit an iceberg, and is going down.

anotherJoe on October 29, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Obama never cared and he doesn’t care now. He is a misanthrope.

VorDaj on October 29, 2013 at 7:33 PM

d1carter on October 29, 2013 at 7:28 PM

yepper, with jay jay touting the wh line of its the insurance fault and not obamacare…

audacity of it….

cmsinaz on October 29, 2013 at 7:33 PM

the hits just keep on coming
but no worries…the lsm has this adminstrations back

cmsinaz on October 29, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Auschwitz Katie will claim national security on 99% of the questions and refuse to answer, then blame the other 1% on someone else.

Bishop on October 29, 2013 at 7:35 PM

forget these problems…this is going to be an awesome thing down the road
-bill burton on cnn right now

keep towing that line billy

comparing the apple phone to obamacare…

holy cripe

cmsinaz on October 29, 2013 at 7:36 PM

….shouldn’t we be asking Mooch?…it’s her classmate that was making all the money in a no-bid 57 times what it should cost…website!

KOOLAID2 on October 29, 2013 at 7:37 PM

Hussein or the Mooch couldn’t find annnnybody in the
Silly Con valley to start their patient dumping website ?

burrata on October 29, 2013 at 7:39 PM

Bill Burton is a meathead…if he is out doing the press they must be down to their last meathead.

d1carter on October 29, 2013 at 7:40 PM

I see the Isue tracker is up around aartifact 51000. Would like to see the artifacts back around 100000 or earlier. The issue tracker is what will exculpate the contractors as they noted their issues over time. Then again, the way that artifact is id’d makes me wonder if softwareforge.mil is the platform for their issue tracker, if so it might not be locked down so anyone with access can drive by and take a peek. That system hosts a bunch of trackers and sequentially issues a number across the entire user base. So I might have a number assigned to my project but the next number might belong to another project totally unrelated and unknown to me. Hmmm.

Bottomline , the burden is on CMS as systems integrator to compile all the artifacts and develop the work arounds and solutions based on priorities and BOEs etc. Hard to blame cgi if they covered their butts with timely flags.

AH_C on October 29, 2013 at 7:40 PM

This is kind of like iceberg Warnings the Titanic Received before pressing full speed to New York.

portlandon on October 29, 2013 at 7:42 PM

But….. they meant well…./

ted c on October 29, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Looky what landed in CNN’s lap just 14 hours or so before Sebelius is scheduled to testify before the House.

Oh boy. Kathleen is going to up late tonight, memorizing her new version of Truth for tomorrows testimony.

portlandon on October 29, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Is it constitutional?

Schadenfreude on October 29, 2013 at 7:44 PM

The political people in the administration do not understand how far behind they are.”

Of course they didn’t. Everything is fine in ObamaLama Land. They just take a management track directly from Dear Leader.

A PROBLEM is only a PROBLEM if you recognize it as a PROBLEM.

Ignore it, and it ceases to be a PROBLEM.

Easy Pezzy!

GarandFan on October 29, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Being given inadequate time three weeks out from launch would therefore seem like more than a “moderate” problem.

No, it’s buried under severe. Note they are complaining about not having access to what they need to test, i.e., we can’t test [properly, or at all].

Axe on October 29, 2013 at 7:49 PM

The end of the Five Year Plan of ObaMao’s Great Leap Forward.

Don’t look at those insurance bills and computer screens.

Close your eyes and feel the LOVE of Big Brother!!! Mmm, mmm, mmm!

Steve Z on October 29, 2013 at 7:50 PM

John Nolte ‏@NolteNC 20m

JOURNOLIST is humming tonight. Juice boxes, flop sweat, & spin, oh my!

d1carter on October 29, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Is it constitutional?

Schadenfreude on October 29, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Sure it is. Slimebucket Chief Justice John Roberts said so.

May he suffer for this.

portlandon on October 29, 2013 at 7:53 PM

from a leftist point of view these are just the necessary eggs that have to be broken to make a single payer system. Pretty soon a single payer will look pretty good.

barry is campaigning in Va, which TM will probably win big….thus providing barry another cover. Glithes…yea…but the process is going forward. VA is proof that people love this program…and that the right wing extremists have no place in the new normal

now…about those pesky, greedy, insurance companies…..

r keller on October 29, 2013 at 7:54 PM

Much as I have enjoyed the delicious squirming of the POS and his administration I can’t fight the sinking feeling this is just more smoke and mirrors and nothing will cling to him, or the dimrats.

And that’s depressing.

wyntre9 on October 29, 2013 at 7:55 PM

If I didn’t know better I’d say its all intentional. That couldn’t be right?

Bmore on October 29, 2013 at 7:55 PM

Holy freaking crap, code freeze less than a month from go-live on a three year project?

That alone. That right there, should have given everyone a big heads up that the schedule was completely fubar.

WitchDoctor on October 29, 2013 at 7:56 PM

She’d be really stupid to point the finger at the insurers. I guarantee you they will come out swinging… All of ‘em. Then the proverbial .. will hit the fan.

I’m getting popcorn for tomorrow.

Key West Reader on October 29, 2013 at 7:59 PM

They could have delayed (no matter what Sebelius) tells you and they had pragmatic reasons to do so. Is there any good reason why they shouldn’t have, apart from pure politics?

Healthcare. gone is a Trojan horse for single payer ?
Beck was right !
Remember Apollo. Tides and Soros ?

burrata on October 29, 2013 at 8:00 PM

NPD would now allow Dear Leader to admit he had a problem with the website…much less the law.

d1carter on October 29, 2013 at 8:04 PM

Here’s Sebelius talking to Sanjay Gupta last week. Note the part at 2:15 when she says she was “optimistic” that things would go smoothly on launch day.

As optimistic, I’m sure, as was the violin player on the Titanic.

TXUS on October 29, 2013 at 8:12 PM

???

Schadenfreude on October 29, 2013 at 8:13 PM

I love how being unable to adequately test the performance of the system a month before launch is rate a “Level 3 – Moderate” risk.

Who the heck gets concerned about whether or not a system being presented to the nation and a prospective 7MM enrollees with a 75 day timeframe is tested for performance? Minor point.

Kinda makes you wonder what they thought were all the MAJOR/SEVERE issues.

in_awe on October 29, 2013 at 8:16 PM

Demo For White House:9/23/13
Soft Launch: 9/23/13

These milestones better come up in tomorrow’s hearing

kcewa on October 29, 2013 at 8:26 PM

We don’t care about criticism: Just get it going and get more people hooked on welfare. Each new sign-up is a victorious step in our long march.

GaltBlvnAtty on October 29, 2013 at 8:29 PM

All of this is not necessarily the fault of incompetent liberals. Adding them to the mix certainly doesn’t help, but simple bureaucratic inefficiency, magnified by government sclerosis and dysfunctionality explains a lot. How many layers of management are there between the people who were certainly screaming bloody murder and Sebelius? I have worked for several network equipment manufacturing companies and if a field guy saw a switch/router/rack of modems burst into flames and throw itself into the garbage, by the time the report made it to senior management it would read “Implementation issues have been encountered”.

West on October 29, 2013 at 8:35 PM

cntractors are in a bind. they KNOW this is all admins fault. they cant SAY it. they need the future work. so they have to NOT look like idiots; we’re so dumb we screwed up. so they can get future work. and they cant say ‘those gov a-holes screwed this up so bad we COULDNT deliver’ that they wont get futurte gov cons. they tried to thread the needle as best they could last week. BUT…now….that they hear sebateous is hanging them out to dry they say ‘ok, fine, f$&k it, if she’s playing that card, we’re not looking like idiots to save her a$$. we can get all the commercial work we need; this is crap’. and they dropped this in someones lap as you said as a pre-emptive strike. this will get better once the contractors realize who they are dealing with. the truth will come out; yes. and he will get 51% for his 3rd term; yes, that too.

t8stlikchkn on October 29, 2013 at 8:42 PM

$10 says she doesn’t have any information, and she doesn’t recall anything, either.

BobMbx on October 29, 2013 at 9:02 PM

I know I’m kind of late to the thread and I havent’ been reading it, but is it possible the DID intend to delay this thing at the last minute and were forced to launch it so as not to give into or validate the Republicans?

chris999 on October 29, 2013 at 9:07 PM

I know I’m kind of late to the thread and I havent’ been reading it, but is it possible the DID intend to delay this thing at the last minute and were forced to launch it so as not to give into or validate the Republicans?

chris999 on October 29, 2013 at 9:07 PM

It could be that someone in the GOP, unknowingly, offered up a delay before the WH could say it first. This, of course, required the WH to say no.

Nah. Occams razor applies here. The system sucked, they knew it, and had no idea what to do about it.

“Well, lets hope it works. Now watch me hit this drive”

BobMbx on October 29, 2013 at 9:14 PM

Lies, lies, and more lies.

Philly on October 29, 2013 at 9:47 PM

Severe.

Hmm, that’s pretty clear.

Obama and his team have thrown so many people under so many buses, that these contractors and the NSA and world leaders have nothing to lose–they’re fighting back. Finally!

PattyJ on October 29, 2013 at 10:03 PM

Me thinks that Cruella De Ville is not having a good night, right about now…flop sweat…not much sleep..Heh!!

Xango Annie on October 29, 2013 at 10:32 PM

CGI has a history of incompetence, delays, and cost overruns, which brings up the question of how they won a no-bid contract for such a project. Some say the executive who is an old pal of Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett may be a factor.

But this is not the sort of screw-up which can easily be laid at the doorstep of the contractors. If an architect drew his blueprints, met the contractors at the site, and never returned until it was time to deliver the keys, he would be grossly negligent and liable. So is HHS – and to the extent they interfered (which reportedly was often and in major ways), the White House.

Adjoran on October 29, 2013 at 10:33 PM

Gee, maybe the Cruz filibuster kept the WH from delaying the rollout when they knew it was going to be messy. We all know how obstinate prezzy I won, “I’m not going to negotiate with terrorists holding the law hostage, can be. Sorta like lancing a boil to make it erupt and boy has it ever. Even CBS is calling prezzy I Don’t Know a liar.

Kissmygrits on October 30, 2013 at 9:23 AM