As the Obamacare website woes intensify, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is on the run. No, she’s sprinting towards the bomb shelter. Republicans are demanding she testify before Congress to answer for the fiasco related to the website. In fact, House Republicans want her resignation. With the president admitting that the rollout was maligned by technical problems, there’s little political cover for Sebelius. Granted, she’s agreed to come before Congress on October 30 to face the music. Nevertheless, here are eight reasons why Obama should fire his HHS Secretary.
1. It Cost More Than $500 Million
The HealthCare.gov site cost more than $500 million in taxpayer dollars to build. One analysis found this is four times as much as the cost of Apple’s original iPhone. Kathleen Sebelius needs to explain why she spent half a billion of taxpayer money to develop an error-filled site that doesn’t even work.
2. Insurers Are Getting the Wrong Data
Insurance companies report they are receiving “flawed data” from the government which is “straining their ability to handle even the trickle of enrollees who have gotten through so far.” Not only are the website’s glitches preventing consumers from signing up, but those that do manage to get through the error-maze are having false data sent to the insurance companies? Are you serious?
3. It’s Full of Glitches
This one is obvious. ObamaCare is full of glitches, and three weeks in, it’s still producing technical error after error after errorafter error after error after error after error after error after error after error.
4. An Unproven Canadian Company Built It
Nothing against our neighbors to the north, but why did the government contract with a Canadian company – CGI Federal, which had little experience in federal contracting – to orchestrate most of the HealthCare.gov site? CGI stands for “Conseillers en Gestion et Informatique” in French, which roughly translates to “Information Systems and Management Consultants.” Apparently, this company’s record is so flawed that the province of Ontario, Canada fired CGI in September 2012. So why did we hire them? And why is the IT with HealthCare.gov such a train wreck?
5. It Wasn’t Tested Until A Week Before Launch
According to a new report, ObamaCare officials didn’t even allow testing on HealthCare.gov until one week before the site launched on October 1! “Normally, a system this size would need 4-6 months of testing and performance tuning, not 4-6 days,” one individual involved in the project said. Why did the government think less than a week of testing was appropriate for a massive website that they expected – by their own words – to receive overwhelming traffic in the first few days?
6. Few People Are Signing Up
According to the Washington Post, HealthCare.gov received more than 9 million unique visitors in the first week of its launch. Yet only less than half of one percent of that number – 36,000 – successfully completed enrollment for ObamaCare. The administration projected 500,000 sign ups this month, so by the White House’s own goal posts, ObamaCare is failing. What happened?
7. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Took Control of the Project, Instead of the Contractor
Instead of placing contractors in charge of systems integration, the government took control, placing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as the central coordinator of the entire program. This is a highly unusual move – why did the government decide to place itself in a role usually reserved for contractors?
8. The White House Delayed Construction of the Site So They Could Win in the 2012 Elections
According to the New York Times, the Obama Administration delayed several major rules vital for constructing the website until after the 2012 elections, “to avoid giving ammunition to Republicans opposed to the project.” That’s not an excuse – why did the White House decide to play politics and hide what was going on from the American people in order to win an election?
House Republicans will continue to investigate this colossal train wreck and demand answers from Kathleen Sebelius and the White House. In the meantime, the GOP continues to fight to delay ObamaCare and protect America’s families from its glitch-filled mandates, while Democrats remain uninterested and turn the other cheek at the mounting problems.
It’s impossible to say if Sebelius will be shown the door, but there are more than enough reasons to ask for her resignation. At the same time, Dave Weigel at Slate thinks she’ll remain at her post.
Those [Republican] crusades against high-level members of the administration have largely failed—Eric Holder has a job, Chuck Hagel has a job, and Susan Rise became national security adviser after Republicans thought they’d scalped her. Focusing on Sebelius gets the administration’s back up, because it has no fear whatsoever of congressional inquisitors. It creates the impression that one firing could right the program, like swapping out generals in Iraq kind-of-sort-of-won that war.
Regardless, former White House Press Secretary Bob Gibbs explicitly called for firings over this website’s glitches – and there’s been discussions about delaying the individual mandate if these issues aren’t resolved in a timely manner. This is an embarrassment for the administration. And it won’t surprise me if someone is given a pink slip.