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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
CARSON UP NEXT
Zinke Confirmed As Interior Secretary
1 hours ago
BREAKING
GOODLATTE SENDING LETTER TO SESSIONS THIS WEEK
House GOP Blocks Dems on Trump Ethics
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

On a party-line vote, "the House Judiciary Committee defeated a Democratic effort Tuesday to obtain any information the Justice Department has on possible conflicts, ethical violations or improper connections to Russia by President Donald Trump and his associates. The committee’s Republican chairman, Bob Goodlatte, opposed the resolution, even as he acknowledged the Justice Department hasn’t acted on his own request for a briefing on alleged Russian interference with the U.S. election and potential ties to the Trump campaign." He said he'll be sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting him to pursue "all legitimate investigative leads" into those matters.

Source:
WAITING FOR NEWS CYCLE TO REFRESH
Trump Holds Off on New Travel Ban
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump won’t sign a revised travel ban on Wednesday as had been anticipated, two senior administration officials confirmed. One of the officials indicated that the delay was due to the busy news cycle, and that when Trump does sign the revised order, he wanted it to get plenty of attention."

Source:
BUT THEY MUST PAY
Donald Trump Affirms Support For NATO
14 hours ago
UPDATE

Near the end of his speech Tuesday, Donald Trump made a firm proclamation affirming his support for NATO. "We strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two World Wars that dethroned fascism, and a Cold War that defeated communism," Trump said. However, he continued on, "our partners must meet their financial obligations."

UNITES GOP
Obamacare Repeal Portion Lacks Specifics
15 hours ago
UPDATE

In his address to a joint session of Congress, Donald Trump called on the two chambers "to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better Healthcare." The entire section of Republican members of Congress united in a standing ovation, while Democrats sat silently, with some even giving a thumbs down to the cameras. At one point, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was shown shaking her head in disapproval. While Trump called for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, he failed to give any specifics, though he did say those with preexisting conditions should have access to care and give flexibility back to the states.

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login