You would think that it couldn’t get much worse for the Obamacare rollout, but a few new bombs dropped this week.
Payment System for Obamacare Not Built Yet
In a House hearing yesterday, when asked what remains to be done in work on the federal marketplace (HealthCare.gov), Henry Chao, Obamacare’s top dog on IT, admitted that “we still have to build the payment systems to make payments to insurers in January.”
They can’t process payments for insurance that 500,000 were supposed to have purchased by now?
Imagine on opening day, Jet Blue tells customers, “Make your reservation. It might take multiple tries. And, if you make it through, we don’t yet have the capability to receive your payment.”
Unfortunately, Chao had more “not readies” besides payment problems.
Accounting System Is Still Being Figured Out
In addition to the payment systems not being up and running, Chao also said that “the back office systems” and the “accounting systems” still “need to be done.”
So not only is the “front office” site not working, now we learn that the back office isn’t any better.
The Entire System Is 60–70 Percent Away from Being Complete
In the most far-reaching law of the last 50 years, one that will touch every American in some fashion, the Administration opened for business with 30–40 percent completion. Later in his testimony, Chao said he might have reversed his percentages; it could be 60 to 70 percent complete. Thank you; now we are reassured.
Administration Warned of Multiple Risks in April
In a memo released by the Energy and Commerce Committee on Monday, officials were warned six months before launch that going live on October 1 was, as The Washington Post characterized it, “fraught with risks.” McKinsey and Company showed 14 slides to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Marilyn Tavenner, White House health policy advisor Jeanne Lambrew, and other senior officials that proved prescient.
Their report, the result of interviews with 40 members of the Obamacare team and a review of 400 documents, contrasted the ideal situation for this massive of an undertaking with the status at HHS:
Ideal: “clear articulation of requirements and success metrics”
HHS: “evolving requirements and multiple definitions of success”
Ideal: “sequential requirements, design, build, and testing”
HHS: ““parallel ‘stacking’ of all phases”
Ideal: “end-to-end integrated operations and IT testing”
HHS: “insufficient time and scope of end-to-end testing”
Ideal: “limited initial launch”
HHS: “launch at full volume.”
The translation: You are going about this all wrong.
As a result of the chaotic approach to Healthcare.gov, the memo identifies the “most critical risks” if launched on October 1:
- “Marketplaces unavailable with system failure”
- “Long manual processing times”
- Failure to resolve post-launch issues rapidly
- “Inaccurate or incomplete financial management systems”
- “No call center enrollment or long waits”
Regrettably, no one wins in this massive incompetence, and Americans are daily facing the consequences of the President’s grand vision for remaking health care through a centralized system.
There is a better way. Congress needs to spare Americans from any more negative fallout from this law and move to patient-centered solutions.