Investigation into the troubled launch of healthcare.gov has continued the last few days, so we’ve rounded up another sampling of recent updates you may have missed for your Friday night reading.
Just months before the launch of healthcare.gov, quality assurance issues frustrated a top IT official on the project, according to an exclusive Reuters report today:
Two series of internal emails in July between officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), including HealthCare.gov project manager Henry Chao, describe struggles with contractors, staff shortages and software problems long before the federal healthcare website crashed on its October 1 launch and threw the rollout of Obamacare into political turmoil.
In a July 16 email sent ahead of a meeting with then-prime contractor CGI Federal, Chao describes the agency’s low confidence level in the project work, from constant struggles with releases to changing delivery dates and poor quality assurance on software.
“I just need to feel more confident they are not going to crash the plane at take-off,” Chao says in the email, which was among several documents the Republican investigators released.
The Reuters report includes the following statement from CMS on the July 16th email:
CMS said in a statement about Chao’s July 16 email: “This email discusses one small piece of ongoing discussions about managing deliverables and communicating expectations that were on a short timeline to meet October 1st. Management concerns about meeting timelines are expected for any project of this size and scope.”
Among the top concerns with the healthcare.gov website in recent days have been security and the privacy of users’ personal information, as questions were posed to top IT officials as they testified before the House Oversight committee.
Other officials also testified before the Committee on Homeland Security about cybersecurity and healthcare.gov.
A top Homeland Security official told the House Homeland Security committee this week that hackers have attempted more than a dozen cyber attacks against the Obamacare website. Those attacks have thus far failed, according to the official. There were also reports of the discovery of a denial of service tool called “Destroy Obama Care” designed to bombard the site with traffic, though the tool doesn’t appear to have actually been utilized.
Another concern has been that of the potential for fraud involving both the federal health insurance website and the state exchanges. Various reports have surfaced about scams sprouting up with the rollout of Obamacare, as well as other misrepresentations.
In California, for example, the state’s Attorney General has “shut down 10 private health insurance websites that deceptively imitated the state’s official “Covered California” site.”
In fairness, some of the aforementioned challenges may come up with many website projects, but with the much publicized issues surrounding the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, the potential for abuse is likely to be one of the concerns for some time. As for the development issues regarding healthcare.gov, I think we can expect for questions to continue to be raised about what went wrong and what issues remain.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.