CBS reveals: Contrary to chief’s testimony, CMS knew ObamaCare website had major problems before launch

posted at 11:21 am on October 31, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via John Hayward, a scoop from Sharyl Attkisson. Alternate headline: “Blogger can’t believe we’re actually debating whether the government knew that it had a nonfunctioning website on its hands.”

How did CMS know? Simple: The employees there tested the site themselves and ended up in the same circle of 404 hell that the rest of the country landed in on October 1. And so, yet again, we return to the great unanswered question of the past month. How much of this was epic incompetence by HHS and how much of it was bad faith? When Marilyn Tavenner claimed she didn’t expect a meltdown on day one, was that a shameless lie or proof that HHS is so dysfunctional that her deputies withheld the results of the testing from her? If the latter, how many people are getting fired for this?

I can think of one person.

An agitated President Obama has expressed frustration to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the faulty ObamaCare enrollment website.

A visibly annoyed Obama behind closed doors has made clear to Sebelius that it’s her responsibility to fix what has become an unwanted second-term blunder, according to senior administration officials.

White House officials say the strong words from Obama don’t mean Sebelius is necessarily in the doghouse but that she’s responsible for fixing the problem.

In the words of one senior administration official, “She’s in a tough spot. She’s on the hook.”

She’s got three weeks, realistically. If the “tech surge” team pulls a rabbit out of its hat and has the site functioning reasonably well in time for the expected post-Thanksgiving crush of enrollments, Obama will declare victory and that’ll be that. If it doesn’t — and I haven’t seen one credible outsider assessment this month suggesting that it will — then insurers will be screaming at him over adverse selection and Democrats will be screaming at him over a midterm apocalypse. The millions of people who’ve had their plans canceled will be screaming at him even louder than they are now because if they’re unable to sign up on the exchanges by December 15, they risk being without coverage of any kind on January 1. Someone will have to pay. There’s only one obvious candidate.

The latest “glitch,” by the way, isn’t so much a flaw in the website as it is a flaw in record-keeping by insurance companies that’s being made worse by the federal and state ObamaCare sites. Which doctors are included in the network for your new exchange-bought health coverage? It’s … not always clear:

Many new health exchanges don’t yet let shoppers see which doctors accept which insurance plans. Where exchanges do post the so-called provider lists, they often contain inaccurate or misleading information, some doctors say, including wrong specialties, addresses and language skills, and no indication whether providers are accepting new patients…

The new health exchanges are supposed to offer a transparent shopping experience, including clear information on participating doctors. But in addition to providing wrong information, the lists may give consumers a false impression of how big the networks are, some physicians say. Several exchanges warn shoppers to ask doctors directly if they accept the new plans.

So, on top of rate shock and the giant question mark of whether a seemingly successful online application has been received by the insurance company due to the website’s back-end problems, consumers may be misled into buying coverage whose network of providers is much less conveniently accessible than they thought. And that’s on top of the fact that many of the new, supposedly superior post-ObamaCare plans being offered by insurers aren’t being accepted by some well-known providers, including certain hospitals in New York, Atlanta, and L.A. Second look at single-payer?

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