CEO: This enrollment period is going to be even more complicated

Things are running far from smoothly at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ headquarters.

According to The Hill,’s newly appointed CEO admitted concern when talking about the many challenges the agency will have to face once the enrollment period rolls in.

The former head of Connecticut’s state exchange Kevin Counihan believes the shorter sign-up period, among other issues, will certainly add more anxiety to the enrollment process, creating headaches for government officials and distress to consumers.

It’s not enough to know technical flaws have been linked to one of the most disastrous government-run program launches in history. It’s also not enough to know that the failure is undoubtedly associated with the Obama administration’s faulty managerial skills; now, we are faced with yet another uncomfortable reality, government officials never learn the lesson.

While reporting the exchange website has indeed gone under extensive repairs since the last botched attempt to provide a health care plan marketplace for consumers, The Hill also highlighted Counihan’s remarks regarding his concerns:

“In some respects, it’s going to be more complicated. Part of me thinks that this year is going to make last year look like the good old days.” — Obama can’t build that

For anyone that remembers the Kevin Kline movie Dave, these days call the scenes of the accountant going over the national budget like a normal business person would. When it comes to getting working, it’s probably reaching the point where Murray the accountant would be tearing out what hair he had left.

The latest news is that the initial estimates for fixing the site were grossly underestimated. That’s no surprise, but that doesn’t make it any better. Accenture is claiming that it will need $121 million to make it through January 10, 2015.

To place that in perspective, just the latest figure exceeds at least one set of estimates for 10 highly popular web start-ups. That is exceeding the cost to start all of them, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber, Pinterest and Vine. You can even throw in a healthy dose of green pigs and egg wielding Angry Birds in that much smaller figure of approximately $7.25 million. That was adding up the high-end estimates and rounding up a bit.

Yes, the cost to just fix one website for the government apparently costs close to 17 times what it probably cost to start ten of the most popular websites out there. Just makes you yearn for the good old days when the biggest ticket items people would complain about in government budgets were $200 hammers, and $500 toilet seats, doesn’t it?

Obama defends handling of Benghazi, other scandals

Barack Obama

In an occasionally contentious interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, President Barack Obama defended his administration’s handling of the Benghazi terrorist attacks and the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting of conservative groups. He also addressed the Obamacare canceled health plan controversy.

Obamacare rollout and Sebelius

O’Reilly began the interview by asking President Obama why HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius still has a job in his administration after the initial, disastrous rollout of the federal Obamacare exchange,

President Obama repeated the line that no one in his administration “anticipated the degree of problems” on the federal Obamacare exchange website, which isn’t necessarily true, given the warnings from some officials that the website wasn’t ready for launch. Instead, he acknowledge the problems and focused on the fixes applied to the website. gets relaunched but bugs still not fixed, experts say

CNN tests

In spite of U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ promise that the website’s relaunch on November 30th would offer a much better experience to users, tech-security experts have claimed that some of the exchange website’s bugs haven’t been properly tackled yet.

According to Reuters, experts who testified before Congress during a hearing by the House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee said that still poses threats to the personal data of Americans who sign up.

According to Morgan Wright, one of the tech-security experts that testified before Congress, the risks the website pose to citizens’ financial and Social Security data continue to be limitless. He also pointed out that a memorandum issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services was signed off on a finding that Americans’ personal data would be at risk of falling into the hands of hackers.

Despite the experts’ testimonials, White House Press Secretary stated that consumers can “trust that the information that they are providing is protected by stringent security standards” after the hearing.

A report provided by David Kennedy, a former U.S. Marine Corps cyber-intelligence analyst, highlighted the many issues with the website and that they would require the administration a minimum of seven to 12 months to make sure they are actually fixed.

House committee grills Sebelius on Obamacare implementation, website problems

Kathleen Sebelius

Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee got their chance to ask embattled Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the disastrous rollout of the federal Obamacare exchange website,, and other issues that have arisen in recent days with the law.

“The Energy and Commerce Committee welcomes the President’s point person on healthcare, Secretary Sebelius, as part of our continuing oversight of the healthcare law and we look forward to a thoughtful conversation on a number of issues, including transparency and fairness,” said Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) in his prepared opening remarks.

Beware the Obamacare concern trolls

Ezra Klein

While it was a coincidence that the Obamacare insurance exchange website launched on October 1, the same day the partial federal government shutdown began, there have been few coincidences since. It is thus no twist of fate that many prominent liberals seem to be worried that the GOP is wasting an opportunity to criticize the failure of the exchange roll-out. This is concern trolling at its transparent worst.

The most blatant example comes from a usual source of concern trolling, Ezra Klein at the Washington Post. In a “Wonkblog” piece titled “Five thoughts on the Obamacare disaster” (bait deployed), the first three of those “thoughts” are overt criticisms of the law and its implementation so far (bait taken). Then Klein gets to the GOP’s “missed opportunity” (reeling in):

Their decision to shut down the government on the exact day the health-care law launched was a miracle for the White House. If Republicans had simply passed a clean-CR on Oct. 1 these last few weeks would’ve been nothing — nothing at all — save for coverage of the health-care law’s disaster. Instead the law has been knocked off the front page by coverage of the Republican Party’s disaster.

Obama can’t say he wasn’t warned: Oh, look, the federal Obamacare exchange website was hacked in July

It may not be as headline grabbing as nude photos of celebrities that were lifted from Apple’s iCloud service, but a breach of, the federal Obamacare exchange, brings serious concerns about the security of the system as the Obama administration approaches the next open enrollment period.

The New York Times reports that, in July, hackers uploaded malware to a test server, one connected to, though they didn’t steal any information belonging to consumers:

The administration informed Congress of the violation, which it described as “an intrusion on a test server” supporting the website.

“Our review indicates that the server did not contain consumer personal information, data was not transmitted outside the agency and the website was not specifically targeted,” said Aaron Albright, a spokesman at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the website. “We have taken measures to further strengthen security.”

Mr. Albright said the hacking was made possible by several security weaknesses. The test server should not have been connected to the Internet, he said, and it came from the manufacturer with a default password that had not been changed.

In addition, he said, the server was not subject to regular security scans as it should have been.

In case you didn’t already know: Report finds that failed because of the Obama administration’s incompetence

The headaches consumers experienced when, the federal Obamacare Exchange, launched last year were because of the management failures of the federal agency tasked with implementing the system. And this incompetence cost the federal government millions more than expected. This, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office:

Investigators found that the administration kept changing the contractors’ marching orders for the website, creating widespread confusion and adding tens of millions of dollars in costs. Changes were ordered seemingly willy-nilly, including 40 times when government officials did not have the initial authority to incur additional costs.

The report faults the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service for ineffective oversight. Known as CMS, the agency is part of the Department of Health and Human Services and was designated to administer Obama’s health care law.
Investigators found that the administration kept changing the contractors’ marching orders for the website, creating widespread confusion and adding tens of millions of dollars in costs. Changes were ordered seemingly willy-nilly, including 40 times when government officials did not have the initial authority to incur additional costs.

The report faults the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service for ineffective oversight. Known as CMS, the agency is part of the Department of Health and Human Services and was designated to administer Obama’s health care law.

Today in Liberty: GOP Senator’s Obamacare lawsuit dismissed by a federal judge, Kevin McCarthy smears Rand Paul in Kentucky

“I used to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I thought being ‘patriotic’ and loving my country meant never questioning foreign wars. I was all rah rah America! show ‘em who is boss!…Boy…things change. I saw too many men in their early 20s who lost limbs in war. Their entire lives destroyed. Young 22 year olds dealing with post traumatic stress. Unable to live a normal life. Too many mothers crying over caskets. They will never be able to cope with losing their son or daughter at such a young age.”Julie Borowski is so difficult to use even “highly educated” millennials can’t figure it out

The epically disastrous rollout of, ongoing backend problems and 2.6 million data inconsistencies are just a few parts of the story about the federal Obamacare exchange. Another problem, one that hasn’t received enough attention, is that the website is so damn difficult to maneuver that even millennials, young people who’ve grown up in the digital age, can’t figure it out:

A team of doctors, lawyers, health economists and health policy experts from the University of Pennsylvania recruited 33 volunteers and observed them as they struggled to sign up for health insurance on the highly touted website. These volunteers should have been in pretty good shape: With ages ranging from 19 to 30, they were all members of a Web-savvy generation. In addition, the study described the young adults as “highly educated.”

But when they got to, they ran into problems. Some of them had anticipated that they could type in their preferences – what services they wanted to have covered, how much they wanted to spend on premiums, how much flexibility they want in picking their doctors – and get a list of options that met their criteria. (It could have been the health insurance equivalent of using Yelp to find a sushi bar near Santa Monica that has outdoor seating and takes reservations.)

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