A Congressional committee will hold a hearing at 9 a.m. today to question four of the contractors who worked on healthcare.gov — the virtual marketplace where residents in 36 states have been struggling to shop for health insurance.
Connecticut has set up its own exchange call Access Health CT and has not experienced the same problems.
The problems with the healthcare.gov website were well-publicized after the Oct. 1 launch and today is the first of many hearings on the topic. The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s hearing is titled: “PPACA Implementation Failures: Didn’t Know or Didn’t Disclose?”
President Barack Obama even acknowledged the problems this week saying that it “is not working the way it should for everybody — there’s no sugar-coating it.”
The problems, according to experts, go well-beyond the large volume of people logging in all at the same time to compare plans.
The hearing notice says the problems may be “caused by inadequate server capacity, poor software coding, and system architecture.”
Insurers have stated that the federal exchange is “generating flawed data,” including “duplicate enrollments, spouses reported as children, missing data fields, and suspect eligibility determinations.”
Cheryl Campbell, senior vice president of CGI Federal; Andrew Slavitt, executive vice president of Optum/QQSI; Lynn Spellecy, corporate counsel for Equifax Workforce Solutions; and John Lau, program director for Serco, are expected to testify today. The hearing will be streamed live at the bottom of this story or on the Energy and Commerce Committee website.
According to their written testimony none of the contractors seem to be accepting the blame for the problems.
Campbell, whose company is considered one of the lead contractors, is expected to tell the committee that “no amount of testing within reasonable time limits can adequately replicate a live environment of this nature.”
In her written testimony, Campbell says “Unfortunately, in systems this complex with so many concurrent users, it is not unusual to discover problems that need to be addressed once the software goes into a live production environment.”
Slavitt will testify that a last-minute decision to require users to create an account before shopping for insurance contributed to some of the problems.
“It appears that one of the reasons for the high concurrent volume at the registration system was a late decision requiring consumers to register for an account before they could browse for insurance products,” Slavitt says in his written testimony. “This may have driven higher simultaneous usage of the registration system that wouldn’t have occurred if consumers could ‘window shop’ anonymously.”
The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee will hold another hearing on Oct. 30 to hear from officials at the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.
The U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee has scheduled an October 29 hearing to review problems the administration is having implementing the new law.
CTTechJunkie’s Lon Seidman spoke with WTIC 1080 AM today about the problems with the federal government’s website.
Feel free to chat about the hearing in our Nowtalk chat box at the bottom right of the screen. You will need to use a social media account to register.