Despite public claims of surprise at the difficult roll-out of HealthCare.gov, President Barack Obama was briefed earlier this year and warned of potential issues with the site, according to the White House.
Documents released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee noted that Obama was warned as early as March about potential risks with the introduction of HealthCare.gov. Officials from the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services were briefed by a private consulting firm who reviewed over 200 documents and met with HHS staff to identify problems prior to the site opening.
The firm prepared a report stating insufficient testing, evolving requirements, and relying too much on outside contractors could hamper the implementation of the online marketplace.
At a hearing today, lawmakers used this report to contradict claims made previously by Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the site was on track. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Obama was aware of the report and kept track of the web site’s progress, but hadn’t expected as poor of a site launch as occurred.
Issues with Healthcare.gov have dropped Obama’s approval ratings to the lowest point they’ve ever been during his presidency. A Washington Post/ABC News poll released yesterday has his approval rating at just 42%. Most Americans — 63% — disapprove of how he’s handled implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and 57% of Americans said they opposed the bill itself, a new polling record.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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