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Obama administration blamed for millions of errors on HealthCare.gov

The Associated Press (AP) reported (July 30) that the official investigation into HealthCare.gov, the portal for millions of uninsured Americans, has determined the Obama administration's mis-management and inadequate planning were the main reasons for millions of errors, including major computer technology glitches and bad data for HealthCare.gov web site which was designed for Obama's health care law.

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The non-partisan investigative agency of Congress, GAO (Government Accountability Office) began investigating this past fall and found that inordinate amounts of mis-communication and incessant changing of contractors' orders for the HealthCare.gov web site resulted in tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in added costs.

Accordingly, a report is scheduled to release the details of the findings today (July 31) during congressional testimony. The Government Accountability Office has spent months investigating the rollout. GAO is the nonpartisan investigative agency of Congress.

According to an American Thinker blog posted July 31, GAO contracting expert, William Woods, testimony prepared for a hearing today by the House Energy and Commerce Committee stated that the government incurred "significant cost increases, schedule slips and delayed system functionality."

Consequently, Democratic and Republican Congressional aides informed the AP that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), part of the Department of Health and Human Services, were to blame for the ineffective oversight which included ineffective planning and overall mismanagement.

For instance, IT contractors were not provided with adequate logistics and instead were confronted by counter-productive requests from government administrators, ultimately contributing to existing infrastructural issues and resulting in hundreds of millions of additional dollars in contract costs.

Although President Obama had regular meetings with HHS Secretary Katherine Sebelius and CMS officials, the administration claims the president was mis-informed. Apparently, there were major issues and inconsistencies prior to the HealthCare.gov launch, and the stall was most likely due to things of political nature.

Additionally, the computerized sign-up system for consumers, which launched October 1, 2013, was riddled with glitches on day 1 and dysfunctional through the end of November. As a result, costs skyrocketed a massive 273% (from $56 million to more than $209 million, Sept. 2011 to Feb. 2014) and electronic back-office for verifying applicants' information jumped 183% (from $30 million to nearly $85 million). On top of all this, there was a tertiary contract for website fixes with Accenture, which nearly doubled originally budgeted costs (from $91 million in January to $175 million) as of June 2014 with costs still climbing.

Furthermore, according to a July 30 Wall Street Journal article, HealthCare.gov has reached $840 million in costs as of March 2014 (see article titled "Poorly Managed HealthCare.gov Construction Cost $840 Million, Watchdog Finds")

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a hearing today (Thursday, July 31st) on GAO's investigation. This article will be updated with meeting results.

UPDATE, JUST IN: The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing on “PPACA Implementation: Updates from CMS and GAO” began today (July 31) at 9:15am. Honorable Fred Upton’s opening statement mentions the cost for HealthCare.gov is near $1 billion.

“ Yesterday we learned that the price tag for HealthCare.gov is approaching $1 billion. We also learned that the administration’s poor management led to significant cost increases and an exchange that - now ten months after launch - is still not complete. We have held many hearings at this subcommittee and were told on numerous occasions by administration officials that implementation was on track, Americans could keep their health plans, premiums would not skyrocket, access to doctors would be secured, and employees would not suffer. These promises have fallen woefully short…” ~~ Frederick Stephen "Fred" Upton, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. Representative for Michigan's 6th congressional district , quote taken from the 1st paragraph from his opening statement Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing on “PPACA Implementation: Updates from CMS and GAO” July 31, 2014.

For Upton’s complete opening statement visit the Energy and Commerce Committee web site post at http://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/files/Hearings/OI/20140731/HHRG-113-IF02-MState-U000031-20140731.pdf

Do you agree with the GAO Report that the HealthCare.org site is dysfunctional and beyond repair?

Additional resources:

--Summary list of some of GAO conclusions visit -American Thinker blog , GAO report: Massive waste and incompetence in Obamacare rollout (July 31, 2014) http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/07/gao_report_massive_waste_and_incompetence_in_obamacare_rollout.html

--GAO report http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-694

--Fox Business, Investigation faults Obama administration’s oversight of healthcare http://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/2014/07/31/investigation-faults-obama-administration-oversight-healthcaregov/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxbusiness%2Ftechnology+(Internal+-+Technology+-+Mixed)

--American Thinker blog, GAO report: Massive waste and incompetence in Obamacare rollout http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/07/gao_report_massive_waste_and...

-- Wall Street Journal July 30 article "HealthCare.gov has reached $840 million as of March 2014"