Darrell Issa Will Investigate Why Obamacare Window Shoppers Had to Register

The last-minute change to HealthCare.gov was requested by CMS and not fully tested, contractors said.

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) arrives for a House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, September 19, 2013.
National Journal
Clara Ritger
See more stories about...
Clara Ritger
Oct. 24, 2013, 9:10 a.m.

House Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee Chair­man Dar­rell Issa an­nounced earli­er this week that he would in­vest­ig­ate why CGI Fed­er­al was in­struc­ted at the last minute to dis­able the an­onym­ous shop­ping fea­ture on the Obama­care web­site  and re­quire con­sumers to cre­ate pro­files be­fore view­ing health in­sur­ance prices.

The design has been cri­ti­cized by web de­velopers, who note it could be one of the reas­ons Health­Care.gov crashed.

At Thursday’s House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee hear­ing on the faulty Obama­care web­site, Rep. G.K. But­ter­field, D-N.C., read por­tions of a let­ter from Issa, R-Cal­if., seek­ing a re­sponse from Cheryl Camp­bell, seni­or vice pres­id­ent at CGI Fed­er­al, the com­pany con­trac­ted to cre­ate the on­line fed­er­al-ex­change in­ter­face.

“Al­though CGI of­fi­cials were not able to identi­fy who with­in the ad­min­is­tra­tion made the de­cision to dis­able the an­onym­ous shop­ping fea­ture, evid­ence is mount­ing that polit­ic­al con­sid­er­a­tions mo­tiv­ated the de­cision,” the let­ter reads.

Issa’s of­fice con­firmed Thursday they were briefed last week by CGI of­fi­cials. Camp­bell cast doubt on Issa’s let­ter.

“I don’t be­lieve that mem­bers of CGI ac­tu­ally made those state­ments dir­ectly in that man­ner,” Camp­bell said. “I think they may have been taken out of con­text but I’d have to get back to you on that and no the White House has not giv­en us dir­ect in­struc­tions.”

A spokes­per­son from Issa’s of­fice said But­ter­field’s ques­tion wasn’t worded care­fully enough. The let­ter spe­cific­ally says the Cen­ters for Medi­care and Medi­caid Ser­vices was giv­ing in­struc­tions to CGI, and when pressed for jus­ti­fic­a­tion of the site changes, CMS would say it was what the White House wanted, the spokes­per­son said.

Later in the hear­ing, Camp­bell con­firmed that two weeks be­fore go­ing live, CMS in­struc­ted CGI to dis­able the fea­ture to al­low an­onym­ous shop­ping.

That last-minute change re­quired test­ing, said An­drew Slavitt, vice pres­id­ent at QSSI, the com­pany hired to work on the Data Hub and oth­er veri­fic­a­tion as­pects of Health­Care.gov.

“We in­formed CMS that more test­ing was ne­ces­sary; we in­formed CMS of the pieces of the sys­tem that had is­sues that we had tested,” Slavitt said.

Un­answered at Thursday’s hear­ing was who de­cided to move for­ward with the Oct. 1 launch and why, the ques­tions Issa is seek­ing to an­swer in his in­vest­ig­a­tion.

What We're Following See More »
TAKING A LONG VIEW TO SOUTHERN STATES
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Source:
‘PITTING PEOPLE AGAINST EACH OTHER’
Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Source:
THE TIME IS NOW, TED
Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Source:
CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Source:
7 REPUBLICANS ON STAGE
Carly Fiorina Will Not Be Allowed to Debate on Saturday
2 days ago
THE LATEST

ABC News has announced the criteria for Saturday’s Republican debate, and that means Carly Fiorina won’t be a part of it. The network is demanding candidates have “a top-three finish in Iowa, a top-six standing in an average of recent New Hampshire polls or a top-six placement in national polls in order for candidates to qualify.” And there will be no “happy hour” undercard debate this time. “So that means no Fiorina vs. Jim Gilmore showdown earlier in the evening for the most ardent of campaign 2016 junkies.

Source:
×