New Senate Finance minority report accuses WH of politicizing and sinking ObamaCare rollout
posted at 2:41 pm on June 19, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
Stunning, right? I mean, no one ever thought that a computer system that hadn’t been tested for a massively unpopular imposition of a command economy in health insurance would be tainted by political ambition. No, no, no no no.
Under pressure from the White House, Healthcare.gov was launched despite a wave of previously unknown warnings from consultants that the Obamacare website was insecure, untested, and prone to crashing after just 500 people got on, according to a damaging new Senate report.
“The White House continually meddled in technical decisions and put pressure on [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] officials to launch the website on time, regardless of operability and security concerns. As a result, officials ignored countless red flags to launch a website with thousands of defects. In the end, the launch failed miserably, crashing on takeoff,” said the report from Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, ranking member of the panel, with panel member Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and their staff have spent months interviewing key officials, reviewing emails and collecting reports in their probe of the website and concluded that top officials, feeling the heat to burnish President Obama’s health care legacy, ignored several warnings and flipped the switch October 1.
Paul Bedard has the whole PDF available for perusal at the Washington Examiner, but the only surprise here is the scale of the interference. We’ve largely assumed that the insane, Rube Goldberg-esque complexity of the ObamaCare system added to the usual incompetencies of bureaucracy ended up producing a sales portal than can’t even confirm payment on the sales. Now we find, through this report’s conclusions, that the incompetence was a great deal more active than first thought.
By the way, just how clear was it that the Healthcare.gov website rollout should have been delayed? An outside auditor issued warnings that have not been made public until now that the site had 677 “serious defects” and 21,000 lines of defective code. Instead of heeding the internal calls to delay the rollout, now-booted CMS chief Marilyn Tavenner caved in to White House pressure and launched the site anyway. She did that even though:
— Just 23 percent of the site’s coding had been tested.
— Only 40 percent of security controls were tested and the administration didn’t know if they could protect the personal medical and financial information of Obamacare applicants.
— The White House continually piled on new demands, delaying the project, and meddled with the launch with pestering requests and questions.
Basically, the report accuses the White House of deliberately putting taxpayers at risk of identity theft in order to score a few political points. Again, this isn’t exactly news, but it is confirmation. Perhaps it’s time to get Tavenner back up to the Hill and ask her on the record who pressured her into that decision, and what they knew of these flaws when they did.