WH Health Adviser Warned About Rollout Years Ago

As tech team takes down website each night, paper applications face delays, too
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2013 12:15 PM CST
WH Health Adviser Warned About Rollout Years Ago
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Memos obtained by CBS News and ABC News are offering an inside look at the White House's struggle to get ObamaCare systems up and running:

  • In 2010, a health adviser to the Obama administration wrote a warning letter to economic adviser Larry Summers, saying, "I do not believe the relevant members of the administration understand the president's vision or have the capability to carry it out." In the memo revealed by CBS News, David Cutler worried that the rollout team lacked business start-up experience, and feared both technological and organizational glitches. But the White House didn't heed the warning.

  • It's not just HealthCare.gov that's having trouble: Those trying to enroll for ObamaCare on paper or by phone are likely to face headaches, ABC News reports. "The same portal is used to determine eligibility no matter how the application is submitted," says a memo from the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. "At the end of the day, we are all stuck in the same queue." Kathleen Sebelius acknowledged delays for paper and phone applications during her congressional testimony; an administration official says the phone option spares people from having to deal with the website.
  • As the administration hurries to fix the site, its online application section will be down each night from 1am to 5am Eastern, CNN reports based on a banner at the site: "Additional down times may be possible as we work to make things better." Meanwhile, "the rest of the site and the Marketplace call center remain available during these hours."
(Read more ObamaCare stories.)

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