An Exhaustive Look at HealthCare.gov From Two Senate Republicans
Posted at 10:45 a.m. on June 20, 2014
In releasing a report on what went wrong with the rollout of HealthCare.gov, two GOP senators put out a rhetoric-heavy news release that criticized the 2010 health care law and scolded the Obama administration for implementing it. But as CQ HealthBeat’s Kerry Young notes, the purpose of the report itself is “at least partly to help the organization’s new chief” — Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell — “keep from repeating the same errors.”
The report issued by Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, and Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, “recaps much of what was known about the troubled launch of the website,” writes Young. “It also delves deeply into the reports from a contractor, TurningPoint Global Solutions.”
Although several pages are devoted to those details, the report’s “two key takeaways” focus on moving foward:
- First, centralized project management is key. CMS has the expertise to oversee the development of sophisticated websites; it manages Medicare.gov and other websites that serve millions of beneficiaries. Future disasters could be avoided by empowering selected leaders to make decisions across offices.
- Second, political concerns should not trump operational decisions. The Administration was unwilling to admit that it was not ready on October 1 despite dozens of reports — from TurningPoint, CGI, GAO, OIG, MITRE — telling the same story. Officials were neither asked nor volunteered to make a go/no-go decision on the final launch, or at any point beforehand. Everyone understood that launching on October 1 was the only option, and no one wanted to be the messenger who told the White House that its signature piece of legislation was going to crash at takeoff. The Administration prioritized political successover protecting taxpayer dollars.