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Website contractors point fingers at Obama admin.

October 24, 2013 • National News


Rep. Kim Hammer, R-Benton, looks through Medicaid-related material during a joint meeting of the House and Senate Committees on Public Health, Welfare and Labor at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Contractors who built the web portal for the Obama administration’s health insurance marketplace said Thursday the site’s crippling problems trace back to insufficient testing and changes that government officials made just prior to going live.

Who’s to blame? The first congressional hearing into what went wrong dug into issues of website architecture and testing protocols — but also re-stoked the partisan battle over President Barack Obama’s signature expansion of health coverage for millions of uninsured Americans. Republicans who’ve been trying to kill the program the past three years sounded outraged that it is being poorly carried out, while Democrats jeered them as political hypocrites.

What was clear after more than four hours of testimony was that the contractors had only partial answers, and only the Obama administration can eventually put the entire picture together to explain the botched rollout.

Better times are coming, said executives from CGI Federal, which built the HealthCare.gov website serving 36 states, and from QSSI, which created a component that helps verify applicants’ incomes and other personal details. They said problems are being fixed daily and expressed optimism that anybody who wants coverage will able to get it by Jan. 1.

“The system is working, people are enrolling,” said CGI vice president Cheryl Campbell. “But people will be able to enroll at a faster pace.”

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