Consultants hired for the website cautioned federal officials about the site’s weaknesses early in the year.
Documents that were recently released by congressional Republicans have revealed that the White House and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services received notification from the consultants hired by the federal government that the health insurance exchange website was at risk of failure.
These warning notices were received by the federal government as early as March, this year.
The warnings were made by McKinsey & Co., consultants that the federal government had hired. They prepared a slide presentation for officials of the Obama administration, in which they recommended that the decision making process for the health insurance exchange website be streamlined, and that they “name a single implementation leader”. It also recommended that they “lock down” the site’s technical requirements before April 30. That said, it is not known how much of the consultant company’s advice was actually put into practice.
Republicans who released the document said it shows that officials proceeded incorrectly with the health insurance site.
The document was obtained and released by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. They stated that it reveals that when the top officials from the administration promised that the project was moving ahead on schedule, this was false. According to Representative Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania), in a statement that he released, “Despite assurances from Secretary Sebelius, Marilyn Tavenner, and Gary Cohen that ‘all was well’ and ‘on track’ with the launch of the Affordable Care Act, we now have documents dating back to April that call into question what they told us.”
The Oversight and Investigations subcommittee of the committee is chaired by Murphy. That subcommittee has now held a hearing on the issues of the health insurance marketplace website’s development.
The review of the health insurance exchange website that was conducted by McKinsey was, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, through spokesperson Patty Unruh, “a standard process to identify potential risks and develop mitigating strategies.” The completion of the review occurred a complete half year before the start of the open enrollment and “was in line with industry best practices, and was followed by concrete action to address potential risks.”