KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Administration Opened Marketplaces Despite Technology Concerns, GOP Senators Say

In new report, Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, allege the White House's delayed decisions kept health officials from meeting development deadlines for the online exchanges, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, a GAO official tells a Senate panel that the government has a flawed strategy on tech projects.

Reuters: Republicans Accuse Obama Administration Over Healthcare.gov Crash
Two Republican senators on Thursday issued a report accusing the Obama administration of pushing ahead with last October's botched rollout of HealthCare.gov website despite internal concerns that the technology would not work. The 34-page document, issued jointly by Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, alleges that the White House prevented the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from meeting website development deadlines by delaying decisions on related regulations (6/19).

The New York Times: G.A.O. Tech Chief Says Washington Should Start Small On Big Projects
At a Senate hearing last week, David A. Powner, information technology director at the Government Accountability Office, said 183 of 759 federal technology contracts, worth about $10 billion, were in danger of failing before completion. In a separate interview, he laid much of the cause on an endemic need for government programs to think big. ... The most stunning example in recent memory, the HealthCare.gov insurance marketplace, speaks to that point. On Day 1, it was supposed to be both national and catering to anyone, using newer technologies with which many of the contractors did not have deep experience. "Was the project ever reviewed at an executive level while it was underway?" said Mr. Powner. "We didn’t see any evidence" (Hardy, 6/18).

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