The Conversation

Did Obama Know? President Warned of Website 'Glitches' in August

According to Sec. Sebelius, President Obama did not know about warnings within HHS that Healthcare.gov was not ready for launch. And yet in the two months prior to the go live date the White House, including the President himself, was engaged in lowering expectations for the roll out.

On September 14th Politico published a story titled "Obamacare D-Day becomes a soft launch." A soft launch is a limited launch to a select few. Obviously that's not at all what happened on October 1st. Not only did Healthcare.gov get a launch to the entire county all at once, it had hundreds of million in advertising driving people to it on that date. Here's what Politico reported the White House was doing prior to the launch:

as that day approaches, many people working on the nuts and bolts of the health law are tamping down any expectations of a sign-up stampede.

[...]

Democrats -from President Barack Obama on down - say that hiccups are to be expected when the switch is flipped on the new state exchanges. It’s an intricate system that requires several complex government technology systems to successfully talk to each other — and to the consumer. A modest start to enrollment may reduce any start-up strain.

There are going to be some glitches. No doubt about it,” Obama said at a news conference last month. “There are going to be things where we say, you know what? We should have thought of that earlier, or this would work a little bit better or this needs an adjustment.”

Since this report was dated September that means the President warned of glitches in August (the link to the previous Politico story may be down).

From the outside this certainly looks as if the White House was aware that the launch was not going to be a smooth one. And that is difficult to square with Sec. Sebelius flat "no" when asked if the President was aware of the problems.


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