During a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing yesterday on Capitol Hill, Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, admitted 60 to 70 percent of Healthcare.gov still needs to be built – even though the Administration has promised the site would be fully functional by the end of the month.
“The lie is that Obamacare is right around the corner, and they are going to be able to have it fixed by the end of this month,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “They testified yesterday – and it was really shocking testimony – that the website’s 60 to 70 percent unfinished.”
Chao admitted the true state of the website during questions from Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO). Rep. Gardner first asked what portion of the website remained to be created when Obamacare launched on October 1, to which Chao said he could not provide a specific percentage. When pressed as to how much of the website still needs fixing today, Chao admitted the startling figure.
“Just an approximation, we’re probably sitting somewhere between 60 and 70 percent,” he said before adding: “We still have to build the payment systems to make payments to issuers in January. The online application, verification, determination, plan compare, getting enrolled, generating enrollment transaction – that’s 100 percent there.”
Watch the exchange between Rep. Gardner and Chao below:
“He does backpedal there. That’s weird. What does that mean? He’s very, very clear,” Glenn said. “Now the press is reporting that it’s only 30 to 40 percent. But he was very clear up until that point. So which is it?”
Regardless of what the percentage actually is, as Stu pointed out, the Administration had three years to produce a functioning website, and one month into the rollout, the site is still a disaster.
“I find it hard to really care,” Stu said. “30 to 40 percent is way too much.”
Glenn looked at the situation in two distinct ways. On one hand, there is the very real possibility the failed rollout was a way to collapse the system and move towards the single-payer system the President has said he wants. On the other hand, Glenn believes there is a very real chance these people simply do not know what they are doing.
“America, please, please, understand. This is your doctor… I truly believe there is a good shot that they intentionally want to collapse this system because then they will say it is such a mess we have to start all over. And they want to single payer healthcare system. So it works to their advantage,” Glenn said. “But there is an equal chance that none of these guys have business experience. None of them. They are taking one third of our economy and they are redesigning what took you know. And they are taking those doctors who are just, you know, down the street to these big huge hospitals. They have to have a system where everybody fits into it. Do you realize this?”
Ultimately, Glenn wondered whether this giant societal redesign is actually the most ambitious thing the government has ever undertaken.
“I’ll bet you that this is more complex than the idea that took a decade to put a man on the moon and return him home safely. I believe this is more complex and more difficult than when we wanted to put a man on the moon,” Glenn continued. “And people don’t understand that. And we’re doing it. At least at that time we did it with scientists. We did it with people who were actually experts in that field.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP