KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Politics, Implementation Pressures May Have Worked Against Website’s Technical Needs

News outlets take a long look at the moving parts that were in play as the problem-plagued federal health exchange website was under construction.

The Washington Post: HealthCare.gov: How Political Fear Was Pitted Against Technical Needs
In May 2010, two months after the Affordable Care Act squeaked through Congress, President Obama’s top economic aides were getting worried. Larry Summers, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, and Peter Orzag, head of the Office of Management and Budget, had just received a pointed four-page memo from a trusted outside health adviser. It warned that no one in the administration was "up to the task" of overseeing the construction of an insurance exchange and other intricacies of translating the 2,000-page statute into reality. ... For weeks that spring, a tug of war played out inside the White House, according to five people familiar with the episode (Goldstein and Eilperin, 11/2).

Bloomberg: Obamacare Expedited Bidding Limited Who Could Build Site
The race to construct an online insurance exchange by Oct. 1 spurred the Obama administration to use an expedited bidding system that limited its choice of a builder to just four companies, including CGI Group Inc. Eighteen months elapsed after passage of the 2010 health-care overhaul before CGI was selected to begin work, government documents show (Wayne and Miller, 11/3).

Los Angeles Times: President Was Told Healthcare Website Would Work, Official Says
President Obama was assured that the healthcare insurance website was ready to launch on Oct. 1, even as private contractors and some administration officials knew the site had failed in early testing, a senior White House advisor said Sunday (Hennessey, 11/3).

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