Jim Geraghty watched Henry Chao’s testimony to Congress today regarding Healthcare.gov’s catastrophic rollout. The IT chief delivered a jaw-dropper. Video at the link.
Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., asks Chao what percentage of the system remains to be built.
Chao says, “I think it’s, uh, just an approximation, we’re probably sitting somewhere between 60 and 70 percent, because we still have to build the systems–”
Gardner responds incredulously, “Sixty to seventy percent that needs to be built, still?”
Chao responds, “Because we still have to build the payment systems to make payments to issuers in January.”
“Let me get this correct,” Gardner says, ”60 to 70 percent of Healthcare.gov still needs to be built?”
Chao responds, “It’s not really Healthcare.gov, it’s the federally facilitated marketplace.”
Gardner: “But the entire system that the American people are being required to rely on…”
Chao: “That part is there. Healthcare.gov, the online application, verification, determination, plan compare, getting enrolled, generating enrollment transactions, that’s 100 percent there. What I’m talking about–”
Gardner: “But the entire system is 60 to 70 percent away from being complete?”
Chao: “There’s the back office systems, the accounting systems, the payment systems, they still need be built.”
That’s only the parts of the website that make the whole thing work. Without a payment system, you may as well not have a website.
Wow. How does Henry Chao still have a job?
In the past few weeks, both Barack Obama and John Kerry have offered a novel defense to their actions: “We’re not stupid.”
Kerry said it earlier in November, regarding the nuclear arms talks with Iran. Obama said it last week, when he said he isn’t stupid enough to launch a website that doesn’t work.
After today’s revelation, their best defense now is that they are stupid. What else explains launching a website that the majority of which still does not do the basic things it was supposed to do?
Whatever the answer is, just don’t call them stupid!