Obama Administration: Website Won’t be Perfect on Nov. 30
WASHINGTON (CNN) — With a little more than two weeks to go before the Obama administration’s deadline for repairing the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov, a close parsing of White House officials’ words shows a completely functioning website isn’t likely to materialize.
Instead, the White House and other agencies are predicting the website will work for a “vast majority” of Americans – while admitting the repair job is uncovering even more problems with the failed digital property than were previously known.
The administration’s technology chief, Todd Park, was set to be peppered with questions about those problems Wednesday during an appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform panel.
On Friday, the man tasked with the digital fixes said the site “remains a long way from where it needs to be” as more and more problems emerge.
“As we put new fixes in, volume is increasing, exposing new storage capacity and software application issues,” Jeff Zients told reporters on a conference call.
And at Tuesday’s White House Press Briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney again said there was “more work to be done” on repairing HealthCare.gov.
Carney, along with Zients and other administration officials, have repeatedly said the November 30 deadline is to get the health care website working for a “vast majority” of Americans looking to enroll in the Obamacare exchanges.
On October 25, when Zients first mentioned the end-of-the-month deadline, he said the “vast majority” of Americans would be able to use all elements of the website by November 30.
President Obama, speaking in Dallas last week, said his technology team was “working overtime to get this fixed,” and again spelled out the end-of-the-month deadline.
“The website is already better than it was at the beginning of October, and by the end of this month, we anticipate that it is going to be working the way it is supposed to,” he said in Texas. But note the use of the word “anticipate.”
Speaking to NBC last week, Obama appeared to hedge his bets, saying he was “confident that (HealthCare.gov) will be even better by November 30th and that the majority of people are going to be able to get on there.”
The November 30 deadline allows just 15 days for enrollees to sign up for a health plan that kicks in January 1. In order to avoid a penalty for not having insurance, Americans must enroll by March 31.
HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said “the challenges we are addressing today are a snapshot of November 12, not November 30.”
“We are working 24/7 to make improvements so that by the end of the month so that the site is working smoothly for the vast majority of users,” Peters continued. “We are making progress, including fixes to reduce error rates and get the site moving faster.”
By Jim Acosta and Kevin Liptak, CNN