The information-technology officials testifying at a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing Wednesday were reserved in their confidence that the Obamacare federal exchange website would in fact be repaired by the end of November.
“The goal that has been laid out is for the site not to be perfect, but for the vast majority to be able to use it,” White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park said at the hearing. “It’s a goal we’re gunning for, and we’re working very hard get there.”
The administration had set the end of November as the goal to have HealthCare.gov running smoothly for the vast majority of users. Repairs are being made around the clock, but confidence may be dwindling for how fully functional the site will be.
An official told The Washington Post that persistent problems mean that the site is unlikely to be fully functional by Nov. 30, though the White House maintains the goal is still achievable.
Time is running short for both consumers and insurers to figure out their coverage options. The deadline to enroll for coverage that is effective Jan. 1 is Dec. 15.
Cancellation letters from insurance companies are adding extra strain to the situation. If individuals whose plans are canceled are not able to enroll in new coverage by mid-December, they will be uninsured until they are able to sign up.
Amid the growing pressure, even Democratic lawmakers are increasingly supporting legislation that would continue canceled policies at least another year.
At the House hearing, Reps. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., addressed the coverage gap that could occur if the website is not fixed soon.
“We’ve been fighting a long time in New Mexico to find ways to access affordable health care. I need, we need, our constituents need the website to work,” said Grisham, who noted that nearly 25 percent of people in her state are uninsured. “The end of November leaves very little room for error. I know it’s not easy, but I want to make sure for the record that there’s real urgency here.”
Asked whether he felt that same urgency, Park answered, “Absolutely.”
Yet when asked repeatedly by members of the committee whether he could be certain the site would be functioning by Nov. 30, Park avoided making any promises. “The team is working really hard to hit that goal, and that’s what I’m able to say right now,” he said.
“As a former Web developer that’s what I was telling clients when we were going to miss a deadline,” remarked Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas.
- 1 Clinton Wins Debate, But Did She Win Over Voters?
- 2 Jeb Bush Just Made a Big Move Against Hillary Clinton
- 3 Senate Progressives Look to Flex Muscles in 2017
- 4 The District Where Democrats Want a Gun-Control Debate
- 5 Smart Ideas: The Most Important Election of a 96-Year-Old’s Lifetime; Clinton’s Pitch to Millennials
What We're Following See More »
At the end of the debate, moderator Lester Holt asked Donald Trump if he stands by his statement that Hillary Clinton didn't have the look of a president. Trump responded by saying Holt misquoted him, instead saying that Clinton "doesn't have the stamina." Clinton responded by saying that when Trump visits 112 countries as secretary of state, he can talk to her about stamina.
Donald Trump, when pressed by Lester Holt on why he finally admitted that President Obama was born in America, repeated his widely debunked claim that it was started by Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton went point by point on how race can so often determine the treatment that people receive, mentioning recent shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte, calling for restored trust between communities and police, and demanding criminal justice reform. Trump responded by calling for law and order and touting his endorsements from police unions. He then said that “African Americans are living in hell,” saying they are just walking down the street and getting “shot ... being decimated by crime."
Just as Hillary Clinton was inviting debate viewers to visit her site for real-time fact checking, there appeared to be a problem with Donald Trump's own campaign website. For about a 15-minute period, a blank page or an error message appeared when we tried to load the Trump site.
Donald Trump has come out in the first segment of this debate raring to go. Trump has interrupted nearly every answer being given by Hillary Clinton, talking over her time and again. Clinton is sticking to her guns, smiling while Trump speaks and then calling on people to go to her website and see the fact checking being done.