Democrats Call For Firings, Changes To ACA
|By Tony Pugh and David Lightman, McClatchy Washington Bureau|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
''I absolutely believe that somebody should be held accountable,'' said Rep.
As lawmakers prepare to grill federal contractors Thursday about the performance of the Healthcare.gov website at a
Wednesday was the first full day the
Even the chairwoman of the
But House Minority Leader
''I don't support that,'' Pelosi said, adding that the state-run
But he said those problems ''pale in comparison'' to the uncertainty facing sick people who would be unable to get health insurance without the law.
While support for Obamacare among Democrats has never been unanimous, Wednesday's developments show a growing unease among the president's supporters with the law's implementation.
Since the launch of the 2014 open enrollment period on
Even a longtime family friend from across the aisle, Sen.
Her decision to travel to
Republicans are scheduled to meet with
Federal health officials ''and staff have conducted numerous in-person briefings on the Hill, and we are happy to hold additional ones as requests come in,'' said HHS spokeswoman
There have been no calls on the Democratic side for Sebelius to step down. But Sen.
''They should wait and get the thing up and running and then determine and let somebody be held accountable,'' Nelson said in an interview with a
The House hearing Thursday offers the first chance to do so. It will feature representatives from four software contractors, including
''As a former computer programmer, I have a lot of serious questions about how the program could be such a dismal failure,'' said Rep.
Many now question whether contractors were pressured by HHS officials to move ahead with the
''There's no question that testing was done and testing should have been more thorough, and therefore we would have been more prepared for this _ this kind of challenge,'' Carney said.
At first, the Obama administration blamed the website's delays, malfunctions and crashes on an unexpected deluge of users. Recent reports suggest the problems are much deeper and could take months to resolve. Experts now say much of the system's software coding must be rewritten and that interfaces with various government databases aren't working properly.
Insurers report getting duplicate enrollments and misinformation about new enrollees. They also have received faulty determinations on the ability of applicants to get government subsidies to help pay for marketplace coverage.
Carney reiterated that the administration was working ''24-7'' to fix the computer problems. Beginning Thursday, he said the administration would begin holding daily briefings for reporters to update them on the progress of the web fixes.
Many of the website's problems are par for the course for a project this large and complex, said
''It's not shocking that this didn't work,'' Johnson said. ''To me it would be very shocking if it did work.''
An analysis by Standish of more than 3,500 large IT projects of
He said the marketplace's ''big bang theory'' rollout _ with a well-publicized launch date that was guaranteed to draw large numbers of users _ only increased the likelihood of failure. He said the rollout should have occurred incrementally, in stages, possibly in several states at a time instead of all at once.
''They needed to take baby steps,'' Johnson said. ''Test it out. See that it works. Go to the next step. Do a little more testing, Go to the next step. That's the way successful projects work.''
Johnson said he told HHS officials the same thing at a presentation at the
''I don't think this thing is fatally flawed,'' he said.'' I think there are problems, but these are normal problems you have with the big bang theory.''
Carney wouldn't comment on estimates by Johnson and other computer experts who suggest the problems could take even up to six months to fix.
''Our approach is to look head-on at the problems and try to fix the everyday, knowing that this is going to be a constant effort and that each day we're going to make some progress,'' he said, ''and that each day there'll be an improvement to the user experience.''
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