Your Obamacare Updates

First, Kathleen Sebelius reminds us all of why she’d have been a natural for “The Hunger Games”:

“I’ve created an account on the site, I have not tried signing up because I have insurance,” she told Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Meanwhile, one of the president’s water carriers is getting nervous about the whole thing:

 

On the other side, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire sent a letter to Obama asking that the open enrollment period be extended past March 31, 2014, and that he consider delaying assessment of a penalty to individuals who don’t sign up for any health insurance before the so-called “individual mandate” kicks in.

“As you continue to fix problems with the website and the enrollment process, it is critical that the administration be open to modifications that provide greater flexibility for the American people seeking to access health insurance,” Shaheen wrote.

So when is Shaheen due to face the voters? 2014, you say?

But wait, there’s more! From the same CNN interview with Sebelius, we get the following spin:

President Barack Obama didn’t know of problems with the Affordable Care Act’s website — despite insurance companies’ complaints and the site’s crashing during a test run — until after its now well-documented abysmal launch, the nation’s health chief told CNN on Tuesday.

In an exclusive interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked when the President first learned about the considerable issues with the Obamacare website. Sebelius responded that it was in “the first couple of days” after the site went live October 1.

“But not before that?” Gupta followed up.

To which Sebelius replied, “No, sir.”

So we’re led to believe that the Leader of the Free World was unaware of the issues? Seriously? Either Sebelius is lying through her teeth or the president has the worst staff in the world and no desire to find out the truth about the initiative that has his name on it.

Oh, and about that site crash:

Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health ­insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.

Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead.

And how:

There were ample warning signs that the system was not working properly, according to people familiar with the project.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency in charge of running the health insurance exchange in 36 states, invited about 10 insurers to give advice and help test the Web site.

About a month before the exchange opened, this testing group urged agency officials not to launch it nationwide because it was still riddled with problems, according to an insurance IT executive who was close to the rollout.

“We discussed . . . is there a way to do a pilot — by state, by geographic region?” the executive said.

It was clear at the time, the executive said, that the CMS was still dealing with the way the exchange handled enrollment, federal subsidies and the security of consumers’ personal information, such as income.

One key problem, according to a person close to the project, was that the agency assumed the role of managing the 55 contractors involved and had not ensured that all the pieces were working together.

Some key testing of the system did not take place until the week before launch, according to this person. As late as Sept. 26, there had been no tests to determine whether a consumer could complete the process from beginning to end: create an account, determine eligibility for federal subsidies and sign up for a health insurance plan, according to two sources familiar with the project.

Today is October 23; for the most part, we know that a consumer still can’t complete the process from end to end. Obviously, I blame Ted Cruz.

Cross-posted and comments welcome at Mr. Dilettante’s Neighborhood.