New documents obtained by the Energy and Commerce Committee reveal that the Obama Administration was warned in April that the Obamacare website was not ready for rollout.
This revelation contradicts statements by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and raises new questions about assurances President Barack Obama gave last week that he was “not informed directly that the website would not be working.”
The document, a 15-page slide show from the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., was presented on April 4, 2013 to a group that included Sebelius and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, according to NBC News. The document said the ideal situation for the Obamacare website would include “end-to-end integrated operations and IT testing” but that there was “insufficient time and scope of end-to-end testing.”
However, during her April 18 committee testimony, Sebelius assured lawmakers that everything was on pace. “I can tell you we are on track,” said Sebelius.
Committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) says he received numerous assurances from Sebelius that the Obamacare website was proceeding as planned.
“[Sebelius] appeared before our committee, looked us in the eye, and repeatedly testified everything was ‘on track and on time,'” said Upton.
It is currently less clear what Obama knew and when he knew it. Last Thursday the president offered the following curiously phrased statement during his press conference:
OK. On the website, I was not informed directly that the website would not be working as — the way it was supposed to. Has I been informed, I wouldn’t be going out saying, boy, this is going to be great. You know, I’m accused of a lot of things, but I don’t think I’m stupid enough to go around saying, this is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity, a week before the website opens, if I thought that it wasn’t going to work.
So, clearly, we and I did not have enough awareness about the problems in the website.
What Obama meant by “informed directly” is presently unclear. However, according to the White House’s official calendar for April 4, 2013–the day Sebelius received the briefing warning of “insufficient time” for proper testing–Obama was in San Francisco attending two private Democratic National Committee fundraisers. At that time, he praised Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as being a “visionary” leader who “never lets ideology cloud her judgment.”
President Barack Obama signed Obamacare into law on March 23, 2010.