Typical Washington finger-pointing was on full display at a tense Capitol Hill hearing, where the contractors blames the botched ObamaCare website problems on the government failed, who failed to properly test the system before launch.
The hearing that took over 4 hours with The House Committee of Energy and Commerce was almost useless in its entirety. The one and only revelation from the hearing was that some or most of the blame belongs to CMS, due to last minute alterations made to the exchanges and the lack of testing.
The Democratic Party members on the committee shamelessly recited the few success stories they have received regarding ObamaCare and failed to ask pertinent questions. For the Democratic Party, wasting taxpayer money, hundreds of thousands of Americans tossed off of their health plans due to ObamaCare, left to find insurance from a broken government-run exchange, is unimportant.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party did retaliate with the cold hard facts and inconsistencies not only with HealthCare.gov, but with the law itself.
Democrats, accused Republicans of continuing a campaign to sabotage the health care reforms instead of working to fix problems in the system intended to help millions of uninsured Americans obtain affordable health coverage.
Although, in reality, people over the age of 26 that are not eligible for subsidies, are forced to sign up for the exchanges, and pay at least double of what they would normally.
The refusal to extend ObamaCare’s mandate, which will let loose the IRS to fine Americans who can not even purchase the product that they are being forced to buy, is an atrocity.
A talking point the Democrats reiterated was “fix it don’t nix it,” a catchy phrase that must have been poll-tested and created in the secret briefing they had behind the Republicans’ back.
The Democratic Party is predictable when it comes time for events such as these, instead of getting to the bottom of the problems, they decided to try and sell it.
Representative Peter Welch and many of his Democratic colleagues thought this would be a great opportunity for advertising ObamaCare .
He went on to say what this hearing is not about, “taking away the right of our kids up to 26 to be on healthcare” and a litany of ridiculous selling points to only end with: “can you fix it?”
The first problem with his question and comments is his use of “we,” since he is exempt from ObamaCare there is no “we.” Secondly, addressing 26 year-olds as kids, is absurd, but reflects the infantilizing of the American public so characterized by a nanny state. The grand finale, he ask “can you fix it?” Many would perceive this as a simple question, but he received answers that were not definitive, but a lot of “we believe it can” responses.
The only Democrat that actually asked any questions was Representative McNerney, who attempted to find out if it was inadequate specifications, a code issue or lack of time. CGI Federal’s VP Cheryl Campbell, was vague and said if given more time they would have been able to work out the errors.
The Republican Party members on the committee posed great questions in their attempt to get to the root of all the site’s problems, and even attempted to enroll while waiting their turn to question.
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), which oversees HealthCare.gov, claims almost 700,000 applications have been submitted online on either the federal or state websites.
Representative Michael Burgess(R-TX) asked how many actually signed up, because there are conflicting numbers in each report, but Campbell could not reply.
Rep. Michael Burgess (TX) said he tried to sign up on the exchange at 2 a.m and was met with an error message. He also attempted to enroll during the hearing to only give all of his information and receive an error message in return. This brought him to the question of, where does this information go?
Campbell quickly stating that it goes to the “EIDM side.” Rep. Burgess tried to figure out if the taxpayers were still footing the bill for these “fix its” and kept receiving vague answers that the CMS implemented a cost reimbursement, as they continue to do the “normal” their contract says that CGI is responsible for the development and then it moves into operations and maintenance, which is “continued bug fixes and things.”
The committee on the Republican side were only asking for transparency and all that they could get to the bottom of was that all problems stemmed from CMS. They seemed to want a last minute change to the exchanges requiring that all personal data from the enrollee must be collected first in order to “window-shop.”
However, it seems that CMS is the invisible man, they were the ones who gave the change orders two weeks before going live. QSSI’s Steve Slavitts nor CGI Federal’s Cheryl Campbell, when asked any question regarding who from CMS they would develop a case of amnesia. Both contractors did not even know who gave the orders to go live, make changes, or the details of testing the exchanges went through.