As the White House inches closer to its self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline to fix HealthCare.gov, one federal official testified Tuesday that a large portion of the technology needed to help the law function has yet to be created.
During Tuesday's House Oversight Committee hearing, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) pressed Deputy Chief Information Officer for the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Henry Chao about what portion, if any, remained to be created when HealthCare.gov made its October 1 launch.
CHAO: “I don’t have an exact percentage. I think some of the previous conversations, when people ask about whether things were complete, I look at it in terms of overall marketplace systems."
GARDNER: "So you've never talked about what's complete, what's not complete, how much to go?"
CHAO: “I think there was a set of priority functions that needed to be in place. Like for example, you had to authenticate an individual. That's a key function."
GARDNER: “Well, how much do we have to build today still? What do we need to build? 50 percent? 40 percent? 30 percent?"
CHAO: “Just an approximation, we’re probably sitting somewhere between 60 and 70 percent because we still have to build the system."
GARDNER: “60 to 70 percent that needs to be built still?”
CHAO: “We still have to build the payment systems to make payments to issuers in January."
GARDNER: "So let me get this correct. Sixty to 70 percent of HealthCare.gov still needs to be built."
CHAO: "It's not really HealthCare.gov. It's the federally facilitated marketplace."
GARDNER: "But the entire system that the American people are being required to rely upon, 60 to 70 percent..."
CHO: "That part is there, HealthCare.gov. The online application, verification, determination, plan compare, getting enrolled, generating enrollment transaction – that’s 100 percent there."
GARDNER: "But the entire system is 60 to 70 percent away from being complete?"
CHAO: "There's the back office systems, the accounting systems, the payment systems. They still need to be built."
This is not the first instance of Gardner being at the forefront of a congressional committee hearing on Obamacare. Back on Oct. 30, the second-term rep told Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that he would like to submit a waiver for his district from the entire Affordable Care Act.