Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, October 24, 2013
While many Democrats have been steadfastly defending the president’s Affordable Care Act and its so-far rocky implementation, one Democrat went on the attack Thursday, calling out the developers of the Healthcare.gov website for blaming the site’s problems on “unexpected volumes” of traffic.
“This is the 21st century — it’s 2013,” California Rep. Anna Eshoo said during Thursday’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the glitches plaguing the federal exchange’s website.
“There are thousands of websites that handle concurrent volumes far larger than what Healthcare.gov was faced with,” she added.
She then went on to say that blaming the problems on the excessive traffic – something the White House has also done repeatedly – “really sticks in my craw,” and went on to list numerous examples of websites that deal with more traffic but have yet to fail the way Healthcare.gov did.
“Amazon and eBay don’t crash the week before Christmas,” she said. “And ProFlowers doesn’t crash on Valentine’s Day.”
Eshoo also lambasted those testifying before the committee Thursday morning for lying to and taking advantage of American taxpayers.
“Well, I’m now over my time but I think that what we’d like to hear from you is when you’re gonna fulfill your contracts to the taxpayers of the country so we can go on and have people insured,” Eshoo said during her closing remarks. “Taxpayers have paid you a lot of money and you’re essentially saying to us everything is all right when it’s not.”
Her final comments were specifically directed at Optum/QSSI Group Executive Vice President Andrew Slavitt, whose company helped build the Healthcare.gov website. Other witnesses testifying before the committee included Cheryl Campbell, the senior vice president of CGI Federal and officials from Equifax Workforce Solutions and Serco.
The emergency hearing was held to assess why the website, which was designed to help uninsured Americans enroll in the health care exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act, has been largely dysfunctional. In the three weeks since the website went live, only a small fraction of the Americans the Obama administration had anticipated would enroll in the exchanges has successfully done so – many of whom are failing to do so because of the website issues.
The administration even had to post the supposed “success stories” of two Americans signing up for Obamacare to allay concerns over the site’s functionality.
Watch Eshoo’s comments below.