The PJ Tatler

Sebelius Was Warned of's Issues Months Before Its Disastrous Launch

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius may have lied to Congress. Fox News reports that she was briefed on major problems plaguing months before its launch, but went on to tell Congress that everything was on track for its October 1, 2013 launch.

Key administration officials at the White House and Department of Health and Human Services received briefings this past spring from McKinsey & Co., a private consulting firm that reviewed more than 200 documents and conducted interviews with HHS staff to identify potential problems before the Oct. 1 rollout.

A report prepared by McKinsey in late March discussed several issues that could hamper the implementation of ObamaCare, including insufficient testing and evolving requirements. The report also warned that the program relied too heavily on outside contractors.

In one page of the presentation, the company specifically warned about a “failure to resolve post-launch issues rapidly” — a scenario that ended up playing out last month. The company cautioned that a “compressed testing window and volume uncertainty,” coupled with the fact that response teams were not yet in place, would drag out the process of fixing problems after launch.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Medicare Chief Marilyn Tavenner, and Gary Cohen, a Medicare and Medicaid oversight official, attended a briefing on the firm’s analysis on April 4, a Capitol Hill source said. Sebelius then testified at an oversight committee hearing two weeks after being briefed on the McKinsey report that the implementation of ObamaCare was on track, according to the Hill source.

Obama administration officials have repeatedly testified that they did not know of the website’s problems until it launched. President Obama told the nation last week that he was not told “directly” of its problems in the weeks leading up to launch, and that he is not “stupid enough” to brag on a website that doesn’t work.

So, clearly, we and I did not have enough awareness about the problems in the website. Even a week into it, the thinking was that these were some glitches that would be fixed with patches, as opposed to some broader systemic problems that took much longer to fix and we’re still working on them.

So you know, that doesn’t excuse the fact that they just don’t work, but I think it’s fair to say, no, Major, we — we would not have rolled out something knowing very well that it wasn’t going to work the way it was supposed to, given all the scrutiny that we knew was going to be on — on the website.

Maybe that was a lie too.

Update: What is it with this administration and crashing websites?