“Everybody seemed to just have an understanding that this thing would not work at launch,” said an insurance industry insider. “Surely that was conveyed to the White House. The idea that anyone could have been surprised or not understand this was way off track would be hard to fathom.”

Insurance industry representatives spoke frequently with administration officials and relayed their concerns with the website, particularly about the transmission of enrollment data to insurers.

“They were told, ‘It’s not a big deal, they’re fixing it,’” one industry source said.

This was the same response health policy experts would receive when they raised any number of issues with administration officials, sources said.

“There was such an environment of don’t do anything that can get bad press,” the insurance industry source said. “That is why nothing was being shared out of CMS. We would share stuff with them. The general viewpoint was — don’t do anything to get any bad press whatsoever. They didn’t create an environment where that would be OK.”