TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Health care website in review, Sebelius tells House panel

About The Tribune-Review
The Tribune-Review can be reached via e-mail or at 412-321-6460.
Contact Us | Video | Photo Reprints

Daily Photo Galleries


By McClatchy Newspapers

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 7:57 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has asked her department's inspector general, Daniel Levinson, to review the contracting and project management problems that led to the bungled rollout of the HealthCare.gov website.

The move is one of three initiatives Sebelius announced on Wednesday in a blog post and in testimony before the health subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The directives were advanced on the heels of new figures that show HealthCare.gov enrollments, though still small, quadrupled from October to November. That enrollment boost gave Sebelius a rare piece of good news to share with Republicans who have criticized the website's performance since its disastrous debut on Oct. 1.

A colossal site repair effort by hundreds of federal and private-sector information technology experts is credited with sparking the November enrollment turnaround, which has helped bring more than 28.4 million visitors to HealthCare.gov since Oct. 1.

Calling the website's debut “flawed, frustrating and unacceptable,” Sebelius said it's time to review what went wrong.

“I believe strongly in accountability and our obligation as public servants to be good stewards of taxpayers' dollars,” she testified. “Now that the website is working more smoothly, I've determined it's the right time to begin a process to better understand the structural and managerial policies that led to the flawed launch so we can take action and avoid these problems in the future.”

Asked by Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., whether she would have delayed the site launch based on the information she now has, Sebelius said she's “not sure what the right answer is.”

“I would have probably done a slower launch, maybe with fewer people, and done some additional beta testing” to make sure the system was operational, she said.

The federal health secretary testified that HHS has paid $319 million of the $677 million in IT costs to set up the online insurance marketplace.

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill, challenged the accuracy of the latest figures showing 365,000 new marketplace enrollees.

Shimkus said the number was “fraudulent” because it wasn't clear how many of the enrollees had actually paid for coverage. Sebelius pointed out that payments aren't due until the end of December for coverage to begin on Jan. 1.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Health care law enrollee passwords at risk for Heartbleed Internet security flaw, feds warn
  2. Drug crime reclassification to help ex-cons get vote rights
  3. Ohio couple married for 70 years dies just 15 hours apart
  4. First date in New Jersey ends with him pilfering her TV and Yorkshire terrier
  5. Fox fires exec who used email to plan aid
  6. Automaker GM’s wait on Saturn Ion safety recall took years
  7. SpaceX supply ship makes Easter cargo delivery to space station
  8. Recovery expert believes wreckage of missing plane located
  9. Medicaid paid $12M for Illinois dead, audit finds
  10. Colorado deaths stoke marijuana worries
  11. Android systems running 4.1.1 softward carry Heartbleed bug
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.