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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

634.3 million dollars (just to build) Obamacare website crashes prior to Sibelius testimony

Does anyone else find it incredible that the Obamacare website costs $634,320,919 to build? It’s a website, not a skyscraper or a domed super bowl sporting complex.

How on earth is it possible to spend that much on a website? And if they did spend that much on it how on earth can it not work? Did they use gold for the on and silver for the off bits in the code?

In the article it says that Microsoft and Amazon had offered to help fix it but were turned down. Why? Are there things in the code they don’t want seen?

Maybe the Obamacare website is to be the infamous ‘beast’ of Revelation or a component of it!

LOOK WHO SEBELIUS JUST THREW UNDER THE BUS ...

Places blame for Obamacare-website failure

 GARTH KANT

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Oct. 30, 2013

WASHINGTON — Committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. got right to the point, declaring the Obamacare website is “still not working” as of this morning.

 

“It is the Verizon server that failed — not healthcare.gov” declared Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in testimony Wednesday morning before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

She was referring to outages this weekend and again Tuesday, but was compelled to say “I apologize” for the disastrous performance of the Obamcare website since it’s debut on Oct. 1.

Sebelius also made sure to note, “I was not involved in the design of the website.”

She claimed to be “as frustrated and angry as anyone” over the problem-plagued website, saying “I am accountable to you,” the American people.

“The system isn’t functioning”

She expressed that frustration by actually joining the chorus of critics condemning the website she oversees.

“They [insurers] are not getting reliable data all the way through the systems,” testified the secretary.

“The system isn’t functioning so we are not getting that reliable data. Insurers who I met with said that is the case.”

The secretary tried to excuse the disaster by saying, “No one would have imagined all the problems we’ve had.”

But, she said, an “extensive assessment” showed the website is “fixable” and that it “now has fewer error messages and timeouts.”

Who is responsible?

Sebelius backtracked under grilling by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., claiming, “I’m not pointing fingers at Verizon,” and “[W]e own the website.”

“Who was running the website?” asked Blackburn.

When Sebelius replied with the name of a subordinate, Blackburn asked if that person was responsible for the failure of the website.

Sebelius replied: “No, hold me accountable for the debacle. I’m responsible.”

Turned down help?

In fact, evidence has now emerged indicating the Obama administration turned down offers from Amazon and Microsoft to help fix the botched website.

Documents released Tuesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee show two senior officials at HHS turned down an offer of help from Amazon Web Services, Inc.

Microsoft also offered “technical expertise and assistance.” The company did not say whether the administration responded to the offer, but it did say it has not provided any such assistance.

Committee chariman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said he wrote last week to eight technology companies asking whether they have participated in the “tech surge” the administration promised would employ the “best and brightest” minds in the tech world to fix the website.

Losing health care because of Obamacare

Blackburn also zeroed in on a problem with the potential to dwarf the website woes, the millions of Americans losing their health care coverage because of Obamacare.

She referred to a report by NBC news that the administration has known for three years that millions of Americans would not be able to keep their health plans under Obamacare, despite repeated assurances by the president to the contrary.

Sebelius responded by citing a provision that if a plan was in place in 2010 and did not impose additional burdens, a consumer could keep it.

Chairman Upton responded, “Why not let consumers decide?”

The secretary dodged the question, instead observing, “If someone is buying a policy today, they will have consumer protections for the first time.”

Expensive mandates

However, those protections may be causing the problem.

Last week, the Weekly Standard reported that roughly 16 million Americans will lose their health insurance polices because of Obamacare because insurance companies have to add benefits mandated by the health care law. Most of the customers who re-enroll will have to pay much more for their insurance.

Sebelius was asked if she had asked how many people have enrolled in Obamacare and how many had tried to enroll.

She did not answer the question, but said, “Insurance companies are eager to get that data” and that “we do not have it yet.”

Sebelius later said that information will be available in November.

‘Why aren’t you losing your insurance?”

One congressman who lost his health care insurance confronted Sibelius in a fiery exchange.

Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., showed the letter cancelling the insurance policy covering him and his family, then pointedly asked Sebelius, “Why aren’t you using your insurance?”

She replied she already had insurance.

“Why aren’t you losing your insurance?” Gardner demanded of Sebelius.

“Why won’t you go into this exchange?”

Sebelius responded that she is not eligible, because people who get “affordable” coverage through their employer can not apply through the marketplace.

“I would urge you to be like the American people,” Gardner said.

A loud round of applause broke out and continued until the hearing was gaveled back to order.

Security risks?

Rep. Mike Rogers, R- Mich, asked Sebelius if there had been “end-to-end” testing of the website?

When Sebelius did not answer the question directly, Rogers asserted that if the website is not functiong, it is not secure. That, he said, put at risk the financial and personal information of those who had used the website.

“You have exposed millions of Americans” to the possibility of having their information misused because, “according to your memo it was an ‘acceptable risk.’”

Sebelius said, “Daily and weekly monitoring and testing is underway,” but never fully responded.

That was partly because ranking member Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., interrupted a number of times to complain that Rogers was badgering Sebelius.

Indeed, Democrats often accused Republicans of harping on Obamacare’s problems, with Rep. G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., complaining that they were ”exaggerating every little glitch and hiccup.”

From the Daily Show to Congress

The secretary is taking the heat for the catastrophic rollout of Obamacare, including a nearly $700 million website that has never worked properly and is in serious need of extensive, expensive repair.

Sebelius finally relented after refusing to testify, appearing Wednesday before the  committee in a hearing on the Obamacare website disaster.

GOP lawmakers were infuriated she went on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show”  but had decided not to appear before Congress.

HHS was even refusing to make lower-level officials available.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called for Sebelius to resign, saying “the program she has implemented, Obamacare, is a disaster, it’s not working, it’s hurting people all across this country.”

Sebelius made clear in a Wall Street Journal profile last week that she had no plans to resign, but even some Democrats appear to be getting nervous.

“What has happened is unacceptable,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “There is much that needs to be done to correct the situation.”

Obamacare website on life support

Even President Obama has finally acknowledged that the Obamacare rollout is a disaster, although one would almost have to read between the lines to find the admission.

Obama held a pep rally of sorts in the Rose Garden a week ago in which he initially downplayed the situation by acknowledging just “some problems with the website.”

He also insisted the Obamcare website is “still working for a lot of people.”

But Consumer Reports apparently disagrees, claiming it’s not worth the effort to even try using the website, for the time being.

“We tried it several times today and never succeeded in getting through,” the magazine reported.

Consumer Reports has tested the Obamacare enrollment website for the three weeks it has been up since Oct. 1 and now advises customers to wait “at least month if you can” before trying it themselves.

“Hopefully that will be long enough for its software vendors to clean up the mess they’ve made,” the magazine stated.

‘No excuse’

After initially trying to minimize the problems that even supporters acknowledge have plagued the website since it launched, the president painted a more serious picture, acknowledging there was “no excuse” for the barely functioning portal.

He admitted there was “no sugarcoating” problems that were “unacceptable,” including the now legendary slowness of the process to enroll for Obamacare online.

Obama even claimed, “Nobody’s more frustrated than I am,” and, “No one’s madder than me,” because the website is “not working as it should.”

He promised improvement and tacitly admitted a crisis with the website, saying a “surge” of technicians had been deployed to fix its numerous deficiencies.

The website that critics call both the worst and the most expensive in history cost taxpayers a reported $634,320,919 to build.

There’s no word yet on what Obama’s surge to fix the website might cost, but the New York Times reports it may take two months.

“These are not glitches,” an insurance executive who has participated in many conference calls on the federal exchange told the paper. The Times said the executive spoke on the condition of anonymity, not wishing to alienate the federal officials with whom he works.

“The extent of the problems is pretty enormous. At the end of our calls, people say, ‘It’s awful, just awful.’”

Those fears appeared to come true when insurance companies reported the system was sending them incomplete and garbled applications, with either inaccurate or unusable information.

Fatal flaw?

However, Obamacare may be facing even more dire dilemmas than the website disaster.

Obama had promised Obamacare would lower the cost on insurance, no one would lose their current insurance coverage and people could keep their doctors. But evidence to the contrary is piling up, as the Weekly Standard report that shows 16 million will lose their health care insurance because of Obamacare attests.

“It’s ironic,” Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, told WND last week.

“They said that they passed this bill to cover 30 million uninsured Americans. And it did the exact opposite. It kicked 16 million off the rolls, 16 million. So right now this bill has caused more damage to health care and has done the exact opposite of what the president promised.”

Additionally, if the government does not get enough people to sign up, experts say it will never work, because there simply will not be enough enrollees to pay for government-subsidized health insurance.

After much prodding, the White House finally released numbers over the weekend showing approximately 19 million people have visited the website and 476,000 individuals have applied online for health insurance.

But, perhaps tellingly, the administration has refused to disclose how many people have actually bought policies.

According to the Times, “Even some supporters of the Affordable Care Act worry that the flaws in the system, if not quickly fixed, could threaten the fiscal health of the insurance initiative, which depends on throngs of customers to spread the risk and keep prices low.”

The administration wants 7 million people to enroll during the six-month sign-up period.

The Associated Press obtained an internal Health and Human Services Department memo listing the administration’s monthly enrollment targets, including 500,000 in October and 3.3 million by the end of the year.

HHS declined to tell AP if it was meeting it’s projections. The agency even issued a statement claiming the administration “has not set monthly enrollment targets,” despite the fact AP already had the numbers.

The ‘surge’

But to even have a chance to meet any sign-up goals, the public must be able to use the website, which may be why the administration suddenly has launched an all-out offensive.

The president said the “surge” ground troops are computer technicians, experts from the “top private” tech companies who were working “24/7.”

He did not explain why “private” experts were preferable when it comes to fixing a public debacle.

But they have their work cut out for them.

The New York Times cited a specialist who said that as many as 5 million lines of software code may need to be rewritten before the website will run properly.

The administration called them “the best and the brightest” tech experts in a 600-word blog post the Department of Health and Human Services posted Sunday night.

It presents this candid admission:

Unfortunately, the experience on HealthCare.gov has been frustrating for many Americans. Some have had trouble creating accounts and logging in to the site, while others have received confusing error messages, or had to wait for slow page loads or forms that failed to respond in a timely fashion. The initial consumer experience of HealthCare.gov has not lived up to the expectations of the American people. We are committed to doing better.

What caused the problems? Stress, apparently.

“The initial wave of interest stressed the account service, resulting in many consumers experiencing trouble signing up, while those that were able to sign up sometimes had problems logging in,” HHS wrote.

Sometimes a fix proved to be a problem.

“Initially, we implemented a virtual ‘waiting room,’ but many found this experience to be confusing,” HHS explained.

The agency pats itself on the back, saying it is “proud of these quick improvements” then describes how the surge has been deployed to clear up any remaining problems.

Follow Garth Kant on Twitter @DCgarth
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/10/look-who-sebelius-just-threw-under-the-bus/#7YxWf6hqZh2iMmOR.99

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