Report: Contractor Warned Obamacare Site Not Ready a Month Before Rollout

Image: Report: Contractor Warned Obamacare Site Not Ready a Month Before Rollout Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee on Oct. 29.

Tuesday, 29 Oct 2013 10:12 PM

By Greg Richter

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The main contractor for the Obamacare website warned it wasn't ready to go online almost a full month before the disastrous Oct. 1 rollout, CNN reports.

According to a confidential document dated Sept. 6, CGI warned of "outstanding issues currently being mitigated" with the website, saying the impact was "significant."

The document says the time allotted for testing was "not adequate to complete full functional, system, and integration testing activities."

CNN notes that the document says of another element, "not enough time in schedule to conduct adequate performance testing."

One element says that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is in charge of Obamacare's implementation, allowed testing of only 10 predefined scenarios. Because that was too small a sampling,  it would increase the chance of "missing data issues and system defects." Because of that, the plan was to conduct testing beyond those 10 scenarios "to the extent possible" before Oct. 1.

Another issue noted that "CGI does not have access to necessary tools to manage envs in test, imp, and prod. Specifically (1) we don't have access to central log collection / view (2) we don't have access to monitoring tools. We have repeatedly asked CMS and URS but have not been granted this access."

CMS confirmed the document was legitimate, CNN reported.

"This was a document in a point in time that identified issues, and we worked to address those issues and all issues identified," CMS said in a written response. CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer noted that while the response says CMS "worked to address" the issues, it does not say whether it succeeded in fixing them before Oct. 1.

CMS spokesman Brian Cook told CNN the report was "not a dire warning" but a "list of things to do."

"What's been done, what needs to be done, what needs to be resolved. It is misleading to cherry-pick a few lines," Cook said.

CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner apologized Tuesday for the botched rollout as she testified before the House Ways and Means Committee. Her boss, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, is set to testify Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Ways and Means member Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., told Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto that despite the apology, Tavenner's answers "were a bunch of mumbo-jumbo."

"I'm convinced this is a White House used to things being true because they say they're true," Roskam said, "and it just doesn't work out like that."

Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., has joined Republicans in calling for a one-year delay of the individual mandate. A member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Barrow will question Sebelius on Wednesday.

"She's going to face an awful lot of frustrated members of Congress tomorrow because the folks we represent are frustrated as hell about this," Barrow told Cavuto. "Folks are sick and tired of folks who are over-promising and under-delivering."

The Obamacare website problems and sticker shock hitting people buying healthcare are just the latest in "a whole string of over-promises," Barrow said.

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