(Bloomberg) -- Consultants hired by the Obama administration told top officials at the White House and U.S. health department as early as March that construction of the government’s health insurance website was at risk of failure, according to a document released by congressional Republicans.
McKinsey & Co. consultants recommended in a slide presentation prepared for administration officials that the government “streamline decision-making” for the site and “name a single implementation leader.” The New York-based consultants also said the administration should “lock down” technical requirements for the site by April 30. It’s not clear how many of the recommendations were followed.
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who obtained and released the document last night, say it shows that public promises the project was on schedule from top administration officials were incorrect.
“Despite assurances from Secretary Sebelius, Marilyn Tavenner and Gary Cohen that ‘all was well’ and ‘on track’ with the launch of the Affordable Care Act, we now have documents dating back to April that call into question what they told us,” Rep. Tim Murphy, a Pennsylvania Republican, says.
Murphy chairs the committee’s Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, which will hold a hearing on the site’s development problems this morning.
The McKinsey review of the insurance exchange website, healthcare.gov, was “a standard process to identify potential risks and develop mitigating strategies,” the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say in an e-mail from a spokeswoman for the agency, Patti Unruh. “The review was completed six months before the beginning of open enrollment, was in line with industry best practices, and was followed by concrete action to address potential risks.”
McKinsey made its presentation to a succession of officials at CMS, the Health and Human Services Department and the White House in meetings in late March and early April, according to the congressional committee.
Officials who received the report included the U.S. health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius; the White House chief technology officer, Todd Park; the CMS administrator, Tavenner; director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, Cohen; and Jeanne Lambrew, director of the White House office of health reform.
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