A top technology official in the development of the Obamacare enrollment website said Tuesday that 30 to 40 percent of the online marketplace remains to be built.
Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, testified at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing Tuesday, where he claimed responsibility for making sure the technology pieces of the site are in place.
According to Chao, repairs to HealthCare.gov are ongoing, and security testing of the site is being conducted daily and weekly. Yet a significant portion of the overall federal exchange system still needs to be built.
Asked by Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., what portion of the enrollment site had yet to be created when the site launched Oct. 1, Chao said he did not have an exact percentage but that all functions prioritized for the lauch were completed and tested. However, now in the second month of implementation, a significant amount remains undeveloped.
“HealthCare.gov, the online application, verification, determination, plan compare, getting enrolled, generating an enrollment transaction, that’s 100 percent there,” Chao said.
It’s some of the backend functions — the back office systems, the accounting systems, and the systems to make payments to issuers beginning in January — that still need to be built, according to Chao. These parts will be tested in the same way as the rest of the site.
Chao said developing and reviewing new parts of the site does not affect operation of the rest of the website. “It doesn’t involve the front part,” he explained. “When we’re trying to calculate a payment, derive a payment, do data matches on the back end, that doesn’t affect the HealthCare.gov operations.”
CMS did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
What We're Following See More »
President Obama has said he’ll nominate John King to fill out the last few months of Obama’s presidency as Secretary of Education. King has been in an acting secretary role since Arne Duncan stepped down in December. The White House is pressuring the Senate to act quickly on the nomination.
Bernie Sanders supporters aren’t taking this whole superdelegate thing lying down. Despite a tie a blowout win against Hillary Clinton, Sanders trails her by some 350 delegates in the overall count, thanks mostly to superdelegates pledging to support her. His backers have taken to creating a MoveOn.org petition to pressure the superdelegates to be flexible. It reads: “Commit to honoring the voters—let everyone know that you won’t allow your vote to defeat our votes. Announce that in the event of a close race, you’ll align yourself with regular voters—not party elites.” So far it’s attracted 162,000 signatures. Related: At FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver notes that in 2008, Clinton had a 154-50 superdelegate advantage over President Obama when New Hampshire voted. But “by the time Clinton ended her campaign on June 7, 2008, Obama had nearly a 2-to-1 superdelegate advantage over her,” owing in part to many pledged delegates who switched their support to Obama.
House Speaker Paul Ryan today is trying to convince his large but divided conference that they need to pass a budget under regular order. “Conservatives are revolting against higher top-line spending levels negotiated last fall by President Obama and Ryan’s predecessor, then-Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). GOP centrists are digging in on the other side, pledging to kill any budget that deviates from the two-year, bipartisan budget deal.” Ryan’s three options are to lower the budget numbers to appease the Freedom Caucus, “deem” a budget and move on to the appropriations process, or “preserve Obama-Boehner levels, but seek savings elsewhere.”
“A bill headed for President Barack Obama this week includes a provision that would ban U.S. imports of fish caught by slaves in Southeast Asia, gold mined by children in Africa and garments sewn by abused women in Bangladesh, closing a loophole in an 85-year-old tariff law.” The Senate approved the bill, which would also ban Internet taxes and overhaul trade laws, by a vote of 75-20. It now goes to President Obama.
Bernie Sanders has closed to within seven points of Hillary Clinton in a new Morning Consult survey. Clinton leads 46%-39%. Consistent with the New Hampshire voting results, Clinton does best with retirees, while Sanders leads by 20 percentage points among those under 30. On the Republican side, Donald Trump is far ahead with 44% support. Trailing by a huge margin are Ted Cruz (17%), Ben Carson (10%) and Marco Rubio (10%).