President Barack Obama told reporters Friday that he met as frequently as biweekly with employees responsible for the Obamacare website, Healthcare.gov, in the time leading up to its October 1st launch.
“There’s no doubt that when it came to the health care rollout, I was meeting every other week or every three weeks with folks and emphasizing how important it was that consumers had a good experience, an easy experience in getting the information they need and knowing what the choices and options were for them to be able to get high-quality, affordable health care,” Obama said during his final press conference of 2013.
The Obama Administration claimed soon after the website’s failure became widely reported that the President was not aware of any of the page’s technical failures before the launch–that it became apparent to him in “the first couple of days” after October 1st.
I was not informed directly that the website would not be working as–the way it was supposed to. Had 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.
However, according to a 15-page document dated April 4, 2013 from consulting firm McKinsey & Co. obtained by the Energy and Commerce Committee, Secretary Sebelius, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, and others are warned in a briefing that an ideal situation would be “end-to-end integrated operations and IT testing,” but that the situation at the time was one with “insufficient time and scope of end-to-end testing.” The document also cautions that a “limited initial launch” would be ideal, but that a “launch at full volume” was, instead, the plan, reported NBC News.
The President did not mention Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius by name in his Friday statement. A recent report by Government Accountability Institute (GAI) President and Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer revealed that, according to the White House calendar and Politico’s presidential calendar, Obama and Sebelius did not meet one-on-one between the passage of Obamacare and the launch of Healthcare.gov.
Secretary Sebelius said during congressional testimony that she met one-on-one with the President “a lot” before the Obamacare launch, prompting Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) to demand she produce a list of those meetings to prove her assertion.