KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Report Issued Early Warnings About Healthcare.gov Risks

An analysis done in late March by McKinsey & Co. called attention to a number of trouble spots. Meanwhile, Politico details a "Red Team" report done by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that also sounded alarms.   

The New York Times: Officials Were Warned About Health Site Woes
Senior Obama administration officials, including several in the White House, were warned by an outside management consultant early this year that the effort to build the HealthCare.gov site was falling behind and at risk of failure unless immediate steps were taken to correct the problems, according to documents released by House investigators. The report, by McKinsey & Company, which was prepared in late March at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services, said that management indecision and a "lack of transparency and alignment on critical issues" were threatening progress, despite the tight deadline (LaFraniere and Lipton, 11/18).

The Washington Post: Private Consultants Warned Of Risks Before Healthcare.gov's Oct. 1 Launch
The Obama administration brought in a private consulting team to independently assess how the federal online health insurance enrollment system was developing, according to a newly disclosed document, and in late March received a clear warning that its Oct. 1 launch was fraught with risks. The analysis by McKinsey & Co. foreshadowed many of the problems that have dogged HealthCare.gov since its rollout, including the facts that the call-in centers would not work properly if the online system was malfunctioning and that insufficient testing would make it difficult to fix problems after the launch (Eilperin and Somashekhar, 11/18).

Politico: Report Warned Of Healthcare.gov Flaws Last Spring
The administration was warned last spring that its website didn’t meet key requirements for a successful rollout, including relying too heavily on outside contractors, according to a copy of a "Red Team" report prepared for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and obtained by Politico. The report, which was delivered at the end of March, identified six tests that the developing healthcare.gov website didn’t meet: Its needs were evolving, rather than clearly articulated; there was no clear definition of success; the program relied too heavily contractors and other outside parties; the design, build and test phases were stacked on top of each other rather than sequential, there wasn’t enough time allotted or a side enough scope for valid end-to-end testing of the system; and the site was expected to launch at full volume rather than phasing in over time (Allen, 11/19).

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