House Energy & Commerce Committee: WH Knew Of Healthcare.gov Problems In July

Congress may have low approval ratings but I’m glad they can investigate and demand documents. Here are some results of their work:

In various emails dating between July 8 and July 20 of this year, administration officials write that they “under oath stated we are going to make October 1st,” but other emails express that, “We believe that our entire build is in jeopardy.” In one document, HealthCare.gov project manager Henry Chao writes, “I just need to feel more confident they are not going to crash the plane at take-off, regardless of price.” Nevertheless, the administration pressed forward, spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on a website that still does not work. On August 1, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner testified to the full committee, “CMS has already completed the majority of the development of the services required to support open enrollment beginning on October 1, 2013 for coverage beginning on January 1, 2014.”

“Administration officials looked us in the eye and told us everything was ‘on track’ but when we pull back the curtain now, the mess is disturbing. What reason do the American people have to believe that the administration is capable of meeting its November 30 goal for fixing HealthCare.gov or its January 1 promise to deliver health care to Americans across the country? The botched rollout has created a serious question of competence and trust in the administration that we will continue asking at our hearing next week,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “Rather than pushing forward with unachievable deadlines to ‘fix’ its failures outside of Congress, the administration needs to begin working with Congress on a real plan to protect the American people from this disastrous law.” 

The Obama Administration made the calculation that it was better to immerse the country in a disaster rather than admit they needed to change the time table. They figured they would come out ahead by putting us on an airplane without wings.

I want to hope for better things but, so far, nothing has happened to really prove that the Administration made the wrong choice. Will the nation let them get away with it? If so, then they have no regrets.