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Sebelius Claims Obama Didn’t Know About Site Problems, But Aug. 2 IG Report Called Out Insufficient Testing

Could the president not have known about the missed deadlines and benchmarks when the Senate minority leader used the findings to call for a delay?

by
Bridget Johnson

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October 22, 2013 - 9:42 pm
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In an exclusive interview with CNN aired Tuesday night, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said President Obama only learned about the issues with the healthcare exchange website in “the first couple of days” after the Oct. 1 launch.

“No one could be more frustrated than I am and the president,” Sebelius told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. “We’re not at all satisfied with the workings of the website. We want it to be smooth and easy and let consumers compare plans.”

When Gupta pressed the secretary on whether Obama knew about the site issues before Oct. 1, Sebelius responded, “No.”

But the inspector general for HHS issued a report at the beginning of August noting that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services missed multiple deadlines for testing and reporting data security risks in connection with signing up on the healthcare exchanges as they barreled toward the launch date.

“Several critical tasks remain to be completed in a short period of time, such as the final independent testing of the Hub’s security controls, remediating security vulnerabilities identified during testing, and obtaining the security authorization decision for the Hub before opening the exchanges,” said the report from Deputy Inspector General for Audit Services Gloria L. Jarmon to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and Chief Information Officer Tony Trenkle.

Tavenner was confirmed to her post in May. She succeeded Donald Berwick, a controversial recess appointment who eventually had to step down before he faced a losing Senate vote. Tavenner is set to appear before the House Ways & Means Committee next Tuesday to explain the Obamacare site failings.

The inspector general’s review approached “the adequacy of the development and testing of the Hub from a security perspective.” This included interviewing the contractors and CMS employees involved and reviewing the security testing data from March to May.

At the time of the review, “CMS and its contractors were continuing to develop the Hub and work with its Federal and State partners in testing the Hub to ensure its readiness in time for the initial open enrollment to begin.”

The report noticed that deadlines had been bumped and new “very tight deadlines” established to rush to finish security testing and certification of the site with the security authorization decision slated for Sept. 30, the day before launch.

This Aug. 2 report was hardly a secret confined to HHS. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) used the report to call on the administration to not force people onto healthcare exchanges when the government was missing testing deadlines and benchmarks on the security of personal and financial data.

McConnell sent a letter to Tavenner stating “Americans should not be forced to enter into exchanges when CMS is so ill-prepared to guarantee the protection of personal data and taxpayer resources from hackers and cyber criminals who would use this sensitive data for personal gain.”

“As you know, I oppose Obamacare and support its full repeal. Yet in recent months, even some of the Administration’s closest allies have raised alarms about the potential implementation ‘train wreck’ to come. While I believe we ought to repeal this law and replace it with commonsense reforms that lower cost, Americans ought to be assured, at an absolute minimum, that their personal and financial data will be safe from data thieves,” he added.

McConnell noted that the final report from an independent testing organization assessing the system’s security was not even expected by HHS until 10 days before launch — “hardly enough time to fix any problems that may be identified.”

“Adding to these concerns are reports that CMS has signed a $1.2 billion contract with a company to receive, sort, and evaluate applications for financial assistance in the exchanges that include personal, sensitive data. According to published reports, this particular company ‘has little experience with the Department of Health Human Services or the insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, where individuals and small businesses are supposed to be able to shop for insurance,’” the senator continued. “And just last year, it was disclosed that more than 120,000 enrollees in the federal Thrift Savings Plan had their personal information, including Social Security numbers, stolen from your contractor’s computers in 2011.”

He requested that CMS not rush forward with any sloppy security certification just to meet an Obamacare timeline.

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Top Rated Comments   
So, obama is either a liar, or a totally incompetent executive...I'm going with both.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
BOTH
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (30)
All Comments   (30)
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my friend's mother makes $79 an hour on the internet. She has been fired from work for five months but last month her check was $15468 just working on the internet for a few hours. over here....www.Bay95.ℂom
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Google is paying 80$ per hour! Just work for few hours & spend more time with friends and family. Yesterday I bought a top of the range Lancia after having made $9458 this month. Its the most-financialy rewarding I've had. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it out WWW.Pow6.com
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Anyone out there remember or read about an earlier time when "We Didn't Know" became reason du jour to escape moral responsibility.

"We didn't know" about government policy. Legal because the Constitution of he Nation had been CHANGED by the"Congress" and Supreme Court of the nation. To make legal what was until the CHANGES not legal.

Yesterday's news. Not important to people for whom history begins with me.

"We didn't know" about government policy that was unveiling itself every single day in every locality in the land. In one of the most cultured, cirvilised and richest nations on the planet.

Policy which profitted Citizens obedient to government laws. For those for whom the government policies were "a crisis not to be wasted" in application for the goods and chattels of their once amicable neighbours.

The lucky ones escaped the government policy to other lands. Many to do to others what had been done to them.

They called themselve socialists, even national socialists. Some even fessed up, outed themselves, as card carrying communists.

Now they call themselves democrats and friends.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Obama was a CEO and Sebelius was a Vice-President and they so mangled a major project or claimed ignorance, the board would be demand they resign. Incompetents, liars, or both, it is inexcusable.

But I'm enjoying watching the uncomfortable squirming.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is being reported that the software firm -- CGI in Montreal -- has a history of cost overruns and failures. CGI was supposed to provide a database for Ontario Health (for diabetics). After delays the Ontario govt canceled the CGI contract. If the Obama administration actually vetted the tech firm, I doubt CGI would have been awarded the contract for Obamacare. But I suppose, with Obama, hiring a non-American firm takes precedence....Heaven forfend that Obama would award a multi-million dollar contract to Americans!
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Only if they promise "green energy" and are on the edge of bankruptcy.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
obama assures us he know all about obamacare and it is a good product, yet when something goes wrong with it he knows nothing.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama is clueless, on purpose. "Good news only" for our child president, so he doesn't get sad.

And they called George Bush "incurious."
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sebelius the next official UMB (Under My Bus) sacrifice? thanks Zo!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfL-Oj1rQ-c
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not with obama, she will get a promotion.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Come On! Everyone knows he heard about it while he was watching the News.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is the same old story---nobody tells Obama anything. He doesn't even get a 'heads-up' about a potential scandal. Nobody told him about the IRS, nobody told him about Solyndra, Benghazi, nothing. Are his people so scared to give him bad news for fear he'll have them shot or sent to the Gulag? Any CEO worth a hoot would have fired everyone involved in keeping him uninformed about a major foul-up . But, Obama likes sycophants. He lets them stay in office after they have screwed him over. Absolute foolery. None of these people have any shame or regard for their principal. Sebelius should have at least resigned in disgrace.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
He never seems to have time to read security briefings, he probably has no time for HHS reports, either. Golf? That is a priority.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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