White House tech chief ‘making progress’ to fix HealthCare.gov

A busy screen is shown on the laptop of a Certified Application Counselor as he attempted to enroll an interested person for Affordable Care Act insurance, known as Obamacare, at the Borinquen Medical Center in Miami, Florida. Credit: Reuters
A busy screen is shown on the laptop of a Certified Application Counselor as he attempted to enroll an interested person for Affordable Care Act insurance at the Borinquen Medical Center in Miami.
Credit: Reuters

Top government information technology officials were set to testify before Congress on Wednesday that they were making headway on fixing HealthCare.gov, the troubled website used to sign up for President Barack Obama’s signature health insurance program.

Obama has pledged that the website will work smoothly for most people by the end of the month — a critical deadline for Americans who need to sign up for insurance benefits that would start on Jan. 1.

He has come under fire after millions of Americans discovered they would lose their current health plans in spite of his oft-repeated promise that those who were happy with their insurance would not need to switch.

“We have much work still to do, but are making progress at a growing rate,” Todd Park, chief technology officer at the White House, said in written testimony to the Republican-led House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee.

Darrell Issa, the chairman of the committee, said the administration should have known the website did not work before it was launched.

“This wasn’t a small mistake,” Issa said as the hearing opened. “This was a monumental mistake to go live and effectively explode on the launch pad.”

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or ACA, aims to provide health benefits to millions of uninsured Americans. It mandates that most Americans be enrolled for health coverage by March 31 or pay a fine.

The White House had pleaded with the committee to postpone Park’s appearance, saying he needed to devote all his time to fixing the website. But the committee subpoenaed him.

Also slated to testify are Steven VanRoekel, the chief information officer at the White House budget office, and Henry Chao, the deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In his written testimony, Chao sought to address concerns about privacy and security of personal information used to sign up for insurance, and said the website meets “stringent privacy and security controls.”

Chao also said the administration failed to test HealthCare.gov for the Web traffic volumes seen on Oct. 1, when it launched, accounting for technical problems.

“We now know that we underestimated the volume of users who would attempt to log onto the system at the same time, and therefore our testing did not include performance testing at the volume we experienced at launch,” Chao said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Ebola toll tops 1,550, outbreak accelerates: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) - The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,552 people out of 3,069 known cases in four countries and "continues…

Local

City Council to discuss officer re-training

The New York City Council has set a Sept. 8 oversight hearing to learn more about the NYPD's review of police officer training in the…

Local

Brooklyn lawmakers: Let riders know sooner about bedbugs…

Two Brooklyn lawmakers are calling for more transparency when it comes to bedbugs and mass transit. Council Member Mark Treyger and Assembly Member Bill Colton…

Local

Jasper Johns aide admits stealing, selling artwork for…

A former assistant to renowned American contemporary artist Jasper Johns pleaded guilty on Wednesday to selling nearly two dozen of his works without Johns' knowledge.

The Word

The Word: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie finally…

Well, everybody, it finally happened. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie went and got themselves hitched — according to noted scandal sheet the Associated Press —…

Television

TV watch list, Thursday, Aug. 28: 'Welcome to…

"Welcome to Sweden" wraps up its first season with a two episode run tonight, featuring a special appearance from the star's sister, Ms. Amy Poehler.

Movies

Interview: 'Life of Crime' star John Hawkes likes…

John Hawkes talks about playing a bumbling crook in "Life of Crime" and how he wanted his "Martha Marcy May Marlene" villain to be "bland."

Gossip

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got married

The couple tied the knot in Chateau Miraval, France.

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

NFL

Giants vs. Patriots: 3 things to watch

The Giants wrap up their extended preseason campaign Thursday night by playing host to the Patriots.

NFL

Fantasy football: What to take away from preseason

The third set of exhibition games, which went down last weekend, is the dress rehearsal week.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…