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tv   Americas Newsroom  FOX News  October 24, 2013 6:00am-8:01am PDT

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>> you're sticking around for it, am i right? >> am i? >> yeah, why not? >> i am. mr. dove man. >> go on twitter. should john mcenroe fill in for us when we're sick? >> one week. we are only seconds away from a hearing on the botched rollout of obama-care. several democrats are breaking ranks, calling for a delay in the individual mandate. if that happens, that could be significant. i'm bill hemmer and welcome to america's newsroom. martha: i'm martha maccallum. you have got the head of the company tapped with creating the web site called to the carpet
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for what was universally called a train wreck. but who is not at the table? this woman, the health and human services secretary, kathleen sebelius. she decided it was a good day to visit the obama-care call center in fiend texas, arizona. bill: then phoenix and atlanta before back to washington next week. but first mike emanuel on the hill. what are these contractors expected to say? >> reporter: cheryl campbell is expected to say it's not uncommon for bugs or glitches to occur with rolling out a web site of this nature. critics would say it's bench more than that. campbell would say this is true regardless of the formal end to end testing. no amount of testing can
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replicate a live environment of this nature. what we are seeing is a lot more than bugs and glitches. bill: lawmakers wants to hear from kathleen sebelius. she was in boston last night, she was in phoenix today. when will they get their chance. >> they wanted to see her today, but she'll be here next week. they will take the testimony they get from the federal contractors today to use pointed questions against kathleen sebelius next wednesday to talk about how this expensive rollout of this federal government balk care web site has gone so wrong. bill: thank you, mike emanuel *. march are we have a slew of democrats who have begun to
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breaking range. does that sound familiar? remember that idea was floated by the gop? other people are calling for an tension of the enrollment period to give the system some more ease as we get this system up and running and take them on. national digital politics editor and host of power play. good to have you here. yesterday afternoon it felt like the ground was kind of rumbling. and you shared joe nangs came out. tell us about what these folks are proposing, these democrats and why it's such a big deal. what the democrat from new hampshire is proposing is what they say they would like. which is to leave the gates open on subsidized health insurance for six more weeks because
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before fines kick in. the way that it works is either you are covered by the end of march or you are going to pay a find out of your 2016 tax refund you get in 2016. it's not a lot of money but it's the law. that tax penalty is real. this would bump out for another six weeks. let's leave the gates open. liberals would like that because their goal is to get as many people as possible onboard obama-care before they start pen eyeing people. what joe manchin is pro -- what joe manchin is proceeding is delaying the whole shooting match by a year. republicans may have an opportunity to come in and say what most americans agree with, let's delay the whole thing a year because you guys aren't ready for prime time. martha: if you look at these
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dead lines, he believes the white house is saying they are hard and fast and march 31. there is a couple of reasons why that might be. is that what you are hearing? they are not budging on march 31? >> there is a lot they can do semanticallith terms much how the mandate works. originally we were talking about february in terms of when you had to be enrolled versus when you had to have coverage. they will do a lot of verbal gymnastics over the days and weeks to come to talk about why maybe it's really going to end up being may, really before the penalties kick in. they want more time for this thing to be open. i think what you are seeing here is a rope a dope game with republicans cans where they will talk about how people want this delay but they don't want a delay, they just want an extension of the enrollment period. they have got to hold the fire wall against not rat democrats who about delaying
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the mandate for a year because that would hurt what the president is trying to do. martha: people have short memories. just a couple weeks ago republicans were say together president. what we want to talk about with this shutdown is just the possibility of delaying obama-care for one year. that was considered to be a radical absolutely not shut the door will not discuss it idea. now it seems on something different. >> you are exactly right. this was the closing argument, a desperate plea from republicans to the eve of the government shutdown. delay the individual mandate for a year, get everybody out of jail on this thing and we'll walk away. it was called absolutely absurd, the democrats wouldn't even do it. presidential veto threat. now we are talking not about whether there will be a delay but how long the delay will be.
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martha: it raises a ton of questions. we are waiting for this hearing to get underway on capitol hill. bill, we thought we would be here just two short weeks ago. >> one of the lead witnesses is a woman named cheryl campbell. she is the senior vice president that we believe set up the software for the program. there is the "new york times" story out today that quotes cheryl campbell as saying the following, that all of its work has been done quote under the direction and supervision of the federal centers for medicare and medicaid services. that comes under hhs and kathleen sebelius, suggesting these contractors will say it wasn't our fault. talk to your government if you want answers on that. this is fred upton the chairman. let's listen. >> to our florida col teasing who are unable to be with us this morning. sadly they are attending the
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funeral of our late colleague former appropriations chair bill young. he was a friend to all here and a mentor. on both side of the siel he will be deeply missed particularly in his legacy in the establishment of the bone marrow registry, something that will literally save tens of thousands if not more lives. today the energy and commerce committee continues our ongoing oversight of the healthcare law as we examine the many problems, crashes, glitches, system failures that have defined open enrollment. over the past several months leading up to the october 1 launch top administration official and lead contractors appeared before this committee, looked us in the eye and assured us repeatedly everything was on track, except that it wasn't as we now know too well. so why did they assure us that the web site would work? did they not know or did they
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not disclose. that's what we are looking to find out with the contractors today and secretary sebelius next week. companies here today testified september step about their work, building the federal exchanges and and these companies represented the exchanges would be ready for open enrollment october 1. they also explained their testing on the system had not identified any significant problems. this is not about blame, it's about accountability. transparency and fairness for the american public. the broken promises are many. the president promised americans they could keep their health plans if they liked them. people are receiving cancellation notices.
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this is a troubling fact but we don't know the real picture as the administration appears to be allergic to transparency and continues to with hold enrollment figures. the web site should have been the easy part. i'm also concerned about what happens next? will enrollment glitches become provider payment glitches. will patients show up at hospitals or doctors to be told they are not covered? families are going face penalties over the individual mandate. how canned administration force americans to buy from a system that does not work ban whose rollout has been nothing short of a disaster? the american public deserves answers. now i yield two minutes to vice
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chair of the committee. >> i want to thank our witnesses for being here. we are looking forward to getting your perspective of what went wrong and how it went wrong with this rollout. we were repeatedly told by members of the administration that evening would be working properly and it would be done on time. but these false administration assurances seem to sway some people on the other side of the aisle. and they believed fully that things were going to be done on time. well, yesterday mr. waxman and i were agreeing on some things in the hearing. but last month we were disagreeing. he said nothing could be found from our committee's investigation and exchange implementation and readiness. but we were quite concerned that definition of nothing has turned out to be design choices in the exchanges that hide unaffordable premiums, massive glitches,
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error messages, system breakdowns and americans spending countsless hours trying to navigate exchanges not ready for prime time. i hope our colleagues are going to work together a and join the efforts to do proper oversight of the healthcare law. this is taxpayer money on the line. we need to be judicious and the last three weeks demonstrated no one can be a blind cheerleader for the affordable care act when they see these problems right before their very eyes. i yield to the gentleman from texas, mr. barton. i will yield back to the chairman. >> the chair will recognize for an opening statement in waxman from california. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. the affordable care act is an enormous success with one obvious exception.
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it has a poorly designed web site. law has already accomplished a lot. millions of americans, especially seniors, have saved hundreds of dollars on prescription drugs. young people have gotten health insurance coverage. millions of families received rebates from their insurance companies that is more than 20 per for their overhead costs. preventative care is now a free benefit in medicare and private insurance. every day we hear more stories of people saving thousands of dollars and finally getting the security of quality health insurance. what hasn't happened and what has not been successful is the earlier form answer of the web site and that has caused understandable frustration and
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anxiety as americans have tried to sign up for the coverage. the heart of the law is getting insurance coverage. private insurance coverage that others have that work for large employers like the federal government. democrats want to work. we want to know what is wrong with the web site and how we can help fix it. we want to learn what the contractors can tell us about the problem and how they can be addressed. that's what all my colleagues should wants including my republican colleague. but that has not been their agenda so far. they have already documented a record of republicans attempting to sabotage the affordable care act. which they know would result in denying coverage to millions of uninsured americans who cannot find insurance up the market
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system that excludes them if they had preexisting medical conditions or if they can't afford their coverage. from voting more than 40 times to repeal the law from intimidating organizations that have tried to help the law succeed, republicans have encouraged their governorrer ins to obstruct implementation, deny medicaid coverage, even though 100% is being paid for by the federal government, and even by shutting down the government to repeal this law. republicans are not showing us they have tried to make this law work so far. you we all want answers because we want families to have affordable health insurance. we have already seen extraordinary demand for this coverage being offered through the exchanges.
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one of the reasons we were given that the web site didn't work is that it crashed when so many people were trying to access it. we know that people want to shop. and have a choice between different health insurance plans that are being offered to them and that have already been lined up to offer them private health insurance. we are encouraging our constituents to use other means of signing up in the meantime like call centers and written applications while the web site problems are being fixed. we are pressing the administration to give people more time to sign up for health insurance. everybody has a responsibilities to get health insurance. we expect people to observe that responsibility. i can't see anyone is going to
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be penalized under the law if they have not been able to buy health insurance during this time where they have not had access to the exchanges. we need to start listening to our people who sent to us congress. they don't want the government shut down. they don't want congress to drive the country to the brink of default. they want this law to work. but they do want us to make sure that we hold everybody accountable, and insist that the law and the promise of affordable healthcare become a reality for all mayor karnes, and that means we have got to get this web site fixed. that's why we'll hear from the four contractor contractors today and from the secretary. if we want this law to work we have got to make it right and we have got to fix it. not what the republicans have been trying to do. ific it and repeal it.
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>> the chair would open the chairman of the oversight committee dr. murphy. >> as chairman of the oversight investigations committee i heard promises that all was well with the healthcare law, not true. either these officials were shockingly unaware of what was happening inside their own agencies or deliberately misleading our committee and the public hoping this would all suddenly turn around. 2 weeks before enrollment began hhs told us consumers could go online and shop october 1. not true. we were promised a web site where people could easily compare plans and costs. 500 million dollars later we find the american public has been dumped with the ultimate cash for clunkers except they
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had to pay the cash and still got the clunker. secretary sebelius admitted hhs didn't do enough testing. but her agency warned this was an issue. testimony today said the slate decision requiring consumers to register. they could browse was a major decision that caused consumers. now they are talk about an undisclosed plan spearhead by an individual without technology experience to fix that problem. but if 5,500 different contractors couldn't build and test a web site how do we expect anyone else to do this. congress should press pause on
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the web site. we want an explanation on how this system will be fixed, what it will cost, how long it will take. after footing the bill, the american people deserve something that works or start over. take responsibility, tell us what's wrong, fix it or try something else. i yield back. >> thank you, there chairman. hhs officials repeatedly assured this committee the administration would be ready for october 1, 2013. this past july the secretary stated hhs would flip on the switch october 1 and say to the people come on and sign up. we were told cms would finish all end-to-end testing by the end of august.
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september 10 the committee held a hearing at which represents from cgi federal, equifax, each contractor assured us its components of the exchange would be ready on time, and yet when the exchanges opened for business october 1, it was nothing less than an unmitigate disaster. we are now hearing reports that the administration was repeatedly warned that the site was not ready for an october 1 launch. "the washington post" reported tuesday that quote as late as september 26 there have been no tests to determine whether a consumer could complete the process from beginning to end end quote. secretary sebelius said just this week almost no testing occurred. these past few weeks of exchange dysfunction along with stories of hundreds of thousands of
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americans losing their existing health plans help underscore why washington should not be running our private health insurance system. the botched rollout is all the more reason the individual mandate penalty should be delayed. average americans deserve a waiver from obama-care, too. it's only fair when the exchanges are such a mess. the companies represented here were in charge of building the federal exchange. but cms was responsible for insuring everything worked together properly. so the question we have to ask ourselves is in light of all the administrations assurances is this -- are they simply incompetent or were they just lying to the american people. i yield back. i yield back. >> i have slide one i would like to put up. like all of obama-care wait appears on the surface is not
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what it is. this is the terms and conditions that you accept at some point in early in the process. and that looks pretty explain jane. i put up slide number 2. what you don't see is this slide which says you have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communicationer to data transiting or stored on this information system at any time and for any lawful government purpose the government may monitor, intercept and seize any communication or data stored on this information system. any information may be disclosed or used for any lawful government purpose. that's obama-care in a nutshell. says one thing on the surface and does something totally different behind the scenes. i'm going to ask the contractors about this total lack of privacy and what they knew about it.
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i yield back. >> the chair will recognize mr. pelon terks from new jersey. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i just heard my chairman of the health subject very committee say once again he wants to delight affordable care act and i have great respect for the gentleman from pennsylvania. but here we go again. another cynical effort by the republicans to delay, defund or ultimately repeal the affordable care act. i would like to think that somehow this hearing is above board and legitimate but it's not. the republicans don't have clean hand coming here. their effort obviously isn't to make this better but to use the web site and the glitches as an excuse to defund or repeal obama-care. and i just think it's very unfortunate because there are
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millions of people out there who have been trying to go on this web site like 20 million. and they deserve an opportunity once this is fixed. i knowed the administration is trying hard to fix fit. they deserve an opportunity to have healthcare and not be among those 30 or 40 million who are uninsured or even more so who don't have a good benefit package. i would just ask my republicans. let the goal here be to effect it, not knicks it. and if that were your goal, i would feel good about this hearing. but i don't see that happening. one of the things want to bring attention is how democrats take a different approach to things. when medicare part d started up there were problems with the web site. it went on for months. these are some of the headlines that appeared in the newspapers about the problem. but did the democrats get up and say medicare part d is terrible, let's defund it or repeal it?
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no. we said let's work hard to make it work. and the glitches disappeared and the program became a good program. that's what i would like to see my republican colleagues do today. time and time again the gop has tried to slow the process. they tried to shut down the government. they did shut down the government for three weeks and the reason was because they wanted us to defind or make changes or delay the affordable care act. i hear my republican colleagues talking about they care about money whether it's federal dollars or individual dollars. the information is coming out saying the gross national product lost $24 billion during the 3-week shutdown. 10 per of the gross national product for the last quarter. you are talking about money. you don't care. what about all the money you lost in the three weeks?
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that didn't matter just was you wanted to delight affordable care act? there is no clean hand here. do you really care? i don't think so. i just wish that you would stop this obstruction, work with us on trying to make this a better system. and as my colleague, mr. waxman said, this can be fixed if you will work with us. i yield to the gentle woman from colorado. >> we are here today to find out what the problem is with the web site and how we can fix these multiple technical problems. last month we heard from cgiwwcirco and equifax. the same contractors who are here today.
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they told us the web site would work. they told us hhs was doing and excellent job of testing the product. they said there was nothing wrong and they expressed nothing but optimism. three weeks later we are still hearing reports of significant problems. i appreciate all the contractors coming today. i give them the benefit of the doubt when they say things are improving. but i want to stress for the affordable care act to work, these problems need to be fixed. and these problems need to be fixed fast. we need to hear today exactly what they are doing to fix these issues. and we need to see clear examples of improvement and be provided with a time line for how it will be fully optional. mr. chairman, this is not our first experience with introductions of new healthcare programs. i was on this committee in 2006.
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when medicare part d was implemented during the bush administration. let's not forget what a mess it was. and the significant problem seniors had with registering for the new benefits. but i also want to remind my colleague on both side of the aisle that the difficulties pass and we are soon forgotten amid the success of part d. i take the gestures on the other side of the isle seriously. and i hope we can say we work together to insure the success of there is something else i remember from the introduction of the part d benefit, mr. chairman. of sing many one of us, whether we voted yea or nay for the law working to for our success. i found the newsletter i sent out to my constituents after medicare part d. i said i oppose the law that created this program but people need to armed with the information requested.
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i would urge everybody on both side of the aisle to do that. my hope is today marks the beginning of an effort on majority's part to make sure the healthcare law works and it's successful and americans can enjoy the benefits. i think that it's important to make that happen. and i'm so happy, i'm so happy and touched really today to hear the majority expressing concerns about making the aca work better. and i hope they are legitimate because this is what's going to give insurance to millions of americans who have gone without healthcare for many many years because they couldn't afford the program. with that i yield to the chairman e merks ritus of the committee. mr. dingell. >> this is a wonderful opportunity to make the affordable care act work. i remind my colleagues the last
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perfect law came off the top of mount sinai written on a stone tablet by the end of god. nothing so good has happened since. up urge us to use our best efforts to see this new law goes into effect and we carry out our responsibilities to the american people to see to it we do everything we can to support it and defend the laws and the constitution of the united states. i heard some unfortunate things from the other side. they said we have to do neferg our problem to prevent obama-care. get rid of it. i hope they will continue to forget it because we had a chance to see to it that the american people get healthcare as matter of right, not as a matter of financial privilege. i am frustrated as least as frustrated as anybody else in this room about the problems facing this is unacceptable.
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it need to be fixed. we can if we are willing to work together can see to it that it is fixed and it helps all of the american people. now, slow web site is better than the alternative and where healthcare is a privilege only for the few, it doesn't seem to matter. but if it's for everybody, we have to address that question. we'll see to it that we take care of all of our people. i look forward to exploring how the web site can be fixed in this hearing today. i look forward to working with my republican and democratic colleagues to see that we do a constructive job of make this news law work. i remind all that when we are dealing with medicare part d which is not something that was originated on this side of the aisle, we worked together to see to it that in fact it worked. now it is an acceptable conclusion to significant problem which i the way its improved by affordable care act.
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mr. chairman, i thank you for your courtesy and i that gentle lady for yielding to me and i hope we can work constructively on this matter today it's a great opportunity. >> at this point i would like to introduce the witnesses for today's hearing. our first witness is cheryl campbell. she is the senior vp for cgi's federal health and compliance program and defense agency programs. she was appointed to this position in 2009 and in this capacity she is the driver of strategy and execution for the practice to serve the need of providers, government and public. our second witness is andrew slavik. the group executive vp for, si, and in this capacity he is responsible for business strategy, public policy, corporate investment, research
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and development, aquestion sitions of corporate governments. prior to this role he serve at united health group and was foirntd and scrrks eo of health allies which was acquired by united health group in 2003. our third witness is lynn s perks elsey. she serves as the corporate council for equifax work solutions. products, regulatory issue and clients relationships. she works with sales leaders and internal contract staff and the broader legal department to manage workforce solutions issues related to litigation, human resources, government affairs and regulatory matters. our last with itness is john lau. he's responsible for overseeing eligibility and enrollment
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support systems special eyeing in the implementation of large scale human resources programs in the i.s., including medicaid and chip. risk identification and issue resolution using a government system, security and privacy and the design implementation and management of multi million transaction healthcare documents and transaction processing systems including california's s-chip and texas' eligibility for medicaid chip and cannis. you are aware the committee is holding an investigative hearing. when doing so it has the practice of taking testimony under oath. do any of you have objection to testifying under oath? seeing none, the chair advises you that under the rules of the house, and the rules of the committee, you are entitled to to be advised by counsel.
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do you desire to be advised by counsel during your testimony today? seeing no, in that case if you would please rise and raise your right hand i will swear you in. do you swear that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? you are now under oath and subject to the penalties under 2001 of the u.s. code. welcome. >> thank you for the opportunity to appear today. my name is cheryl campbell and i'm senior vice president and cgi federal. i have responsibility for all of cgi's projts at the departments
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of health and human services and other agencies. i'm here to reinforce cgi's ongoing commitsment to the evenings change on we are fully committed'. our priority is for americans to have a positive experience on applying, shopping and enrolling on the federal exchange. to this end we dedicate the best experts to optimize our portion of the federal exchange. let me first describe our roll in the federal exchange. the exchange is come prides of six complex systems that involve 55 contractors including cgi federal. five fast agencies, 3 states and 3r -- 36 states and 500 insurers all coming together in a software application called
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the federally facilitated marketplace. the fsm provides functionality for eligibility and enrollment and plan management. cms serves as the system's integrator having ultimate spent from end to end performance of the federal exchange. it's important to understand the complexity of cgi federal's work on the exchange. it's a so tonight kateed software application that's combines a web portal, a transaction processor and system analytics to help americans determine their eligibility for insurance, apply for subsidies, shop for health plans and enroll in qualified plans. it works in realtime with systems developed by other contractors, large scale data repositories and health plans
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for 300 insurers. in short the federal exchange including the fsm is not a standard consumer web site. but a sophisticated technology platform that for the first time in history combines the process of select and enrolling in insurance and terming eligibility for government subjects does all in one place and in realtime. since september 20, 2011, cgi federal has worked diligently to develop the fsm by developing a process for this project. while cgi federal delivered the functionality required and some consumers were able to roll on october 1, we acknowledge that issues arising in the federal exchange made the enrollment process difficult for too many americans.
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consequently. cgi federal's focus shifted to solving consumer access and navigation processes on the exchange. the first set of issues on the exchange concerned another. it allows consumers to create secure accounts. consumers must pass through this front door in order to enter the fsm application. unfortunately it created a bottleneck prevents can the vast majority of consumers from accessing the fsm. since then contractors have worked closely together to troubleshoot and solve this front door problem. as more consumers are gaining access to the fsm the increased number of transactions caused performance problems such as slow response times and data issue. cgi federal is addressing these
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problems through tuning, application and optimization. we have steadily improved. we dedicated the resources necessary to shorten wait and transaction times and improve data quality. we have confident in our ability to deliver successfully because the company i represent here today has successfully delivered some of the most complex i.t. i am plem takes for the u.s. government including federal we partnered with cms on transformative projects like which enabled beneficiaries to compile drug plans annually. we are recognized or our i.t. system in software and we have demonstrated our commitment to software processes.
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as one of five of the biggest i.t. companies in the world we have a global works force. i will end this testimony where i begin by reinforcing cgi federal's unwavering commitment to working collaboratively to improve the consumer experience. thank you. >> chairmanpton, good morning. ' my name is andy slavik andup a vice president at optimum. we are one of the contractors work on the healthcare market places. we understand the frustration. weep remain accountable for our tools and work product. while start by discussion our work on the data services hub.
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a large and complex product that was the subject of much interest in qqsi's work prior to the launch. the data services hub is a pipeline. it transferred data between a given market place and various trusted data sources. a consumer interested in purchasing health insurance goes to the marketplace's web portal to fill out enrollment forms and select a plan. they are provided with information such as citizenship which must be verified. the data services shub directs yearies from the marketplace to various sources such as government databases that can verify that information and send the information back to the marketplace. as a technology pipeline the today santa services hub does not determine the accuracy of the information it transports nor does it store any data.
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the data services hub has performed well since the today $services hub was launched. it processes 178,000 transactions and has processed millions more since. when occasional bugs in the hub were identified we promptly corrected them. in addition to the data services hub, qssi developed the eidm, a registration and access management tool used as one part of the federal marketplace's registration system. the eidm tool helps the marketplace create user account.and is being successfully currently in two other cms applications. its relevant to note that while the eidm tool is important. it is only one piece of the federal marketplace's federal registration system. registration components
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developed about it other vendors handle other critical functions such as user interface. the link that users click on to activate their accounts, and the webpage users hand on. all of these tools must work together seamlessly to assure smooth registration. after the launch. was inundated by many more consumers than anticipated. many come own wentier were overwhelmed, cluck the virtual data center environment, the software within the database system and the hardware and our idm tool. it appears the high volume was the late decision requiring consumers to remember sister for an account before necessity could browse for insurance product. this may have driven higher simultaneous usage of the regional straition that wouldn't have occurred if consumers could
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have shopped anonymously. as i understand it, this has largely succeeded. by october 8, even at high levels of registration, the eidm tool was processing atterror late close to 0 -- processing atteror rates close to -- processing at error rates close to zero. our testing role, we you arified errors in code that was provided to us by others. in this function we reported back the results to cms and the relevant contractor to in turn was responsible forificking coding errors or making any necessary changes. to conclude, the data services hub has performed well. and after initial scalability
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challenges, the eidm tool is keeping up with demand. we are committed to helping resolve any new challenges that may arise in any way we can. thank you for the opportunity to discuss qsi's work. i'm happy to answer any questions you have. >> good morning, chairman upton, ranking member wax manage and distinguished members of the committee. my name is lynn selsey and up serve with equifax solutions. i'm the primary attorney responsible pore the day-to-day operations. i appreciate the opportunity to provide an update to the income verification services we are providing to assist in the benefit eligibility determination requiremented
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under the affordable care act. the equifax workforce solutions income verification solution is works as defind. since the exchanges went live on october 1, 2013 we have not experienced any interruptions in the process of data. we received and respond to verification requests from the federally facilitated marketplace as well as state-based agencies':' equifax workforce solutions tested our verification solutions before the october 1, 2013 open enrollment start date to insure we could transmit data between our servers and the federal data hub. we performed considerable internal stress and volume testing to guarantee we would be repaired for current and future applicant volumes. now that the marketplace is open we are monitoring the flow of
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verification requests from the hub of our service and back. equifax solutions role is limited. equifax workforce solutions receives an income verification request only after an applicant successfully gains across tes to the web site. creates a user name and established a security authentication profile and enters an online application process. equifax does not play a role in any of these steps nor does equifax play a role in identify proofing or identification. we are not even rolled in the eligibility processor downstream display and processing of benefit elects. though the majority of verification requests have come through the federally facilitated marketplace, they are we are also verifying income
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for state medicaid agencies. the continuing appropriations act for 2014 included new requirements for the department of health and human services to insure the federally facilitated and state-based services applying for coverage and seeking premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions are eligible for these subsidies. equifax workforce solutions looks forward to sharing our vairpification service as they provide workforce solutions for the federal and state evenings chaiks. since the october 1, 2013 start date. equifax has exceeded its service for those seeking financial assistance under the affordable care act.
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the extensive experience we have gained from providing income verification for eligibility reviews has prepared equifax workforce solutions to successfully serve cms in this new capacity. we'll continue to monitor and test our interface with the data hub. thank you for the opportunity to testify and i welcome your questions. >> will lau. >> good morning, mr. chairman, congressman waxman and other distinguished members of the committee. my name is john lau and up represent serco. i'm the program direct already for our contract with the ahda.
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for the next several minutes what i would like to do is provide a quick review of serco's role in the program then the current status of our work. our contract is to provide eligibility support services in support of the paper application processing as well as error and issue resolution and applications regardless of the mode in which the consumer submitted them. it's important i think to clarify that we have no role in a development of the web site. we have no role in the determination of eligibility and we have no role in health plan selection. i think there has been some confusion about that. i would like to make sure that's clear. our primary role in the early case this implementation is to key enter paper applications into the eligibility system. as time goes on more our work
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will entail inconsistency resolution in ortder to clear previously submitted the applications to the eligibility determination process. inconsistency resolution entailed data verification and validation of the self-tested data from applicants. these are problems identified through the use of the data hub in the main system and communicated to us. the date serco successfully opened two of its four processing centers in kentucky and arkansas. a third will open in missouri and in four or five weeks the final site in oklahoma. we mad no trouble recruiting and hiring competent staff in of any our areas and have received a number of compliments from local official and community dpriewms about the professional -- community groups about the
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professionalism. we instilled a sense of pride in what they are doing and our staff is highly motivated and represent an eager workforce. since the lawn' of the program october 1, we built upon our starting capacity with both staff numbers and processing efficiency. the volume of paper documents received since program launch has been steadily increasing and even in a short period clearly is trending upward. this buildup has given us the opportunity to make adjustments and improve our processes as the nature of the inbound documents and the workload has become clearer. to date we received 18,000 documents. half of those are consumer applications. and we succeeded in key entering about half those. the remaining half are generally applications missing important data and those cannot be entered directly until those problems are resolved. we expect to be able to complete
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processing and entering those applications in the near future. our challenges have $included coping with ther. foam answer of the portal as that's our means of entering data just as it is for the consumer . with the relatively low volumes of applications we received thus far fit' not presented a challenge. as i testified on september 10, serco was ready to process on 10-1 and we are processing today. and i look forward to your questions. thank you. >> we'll thank an every and every one of you. at this point we'll move to questions from members and alternate between republicans and democrats. i just want to say, as we have seen the taxpayers spend half a billion dollars, i guess the constituents across the country really expected a user friendly program. system. and whether it's like ordering a
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pizza, an airline flight, rental car, hotel, it's standard that's were expecting to see and i think most at this point would say sit am not ready for prime time. rinsing to your testimony each of you heard words like your goal was to perform well, you want a positive experience. work or design to try to do that. and that's not what we heard from folks at home. so my first question is was it ever an option to delay going live on october 1? did any of you come forth to the administration and say this thing may not ready october 1? we night want a delay until we can get it right? any hand up? no. prior to october 1, did you know that the web site was going to have crippling problems or did you not know
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about these problems and chose not to disclose them to the administration when you figured out that it wasn't working the way that perhaps it was designed to work, and maybe i'll get comments from each of you as it relates to those two questions and start with miss campbell. >> sure. >> you all testified in september. so i mean either you didn't know about these problems or you knew about them and chose not to disclose them. which one is it? >> mr. chairman, from a cgi perspective our portion of the application worked as designed. people were able to enroll. the end to end testing was the responsibilities of cms. our portion of the system is what we testified in terms of what was ready to go live.
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but it was not our decision to go live. >> it was not your decision to go live. >> it was cms' decision. it wasn't our decision one way or the other. >> did you ever recommend to delay the date. >> it was not our position to do so. you chose not to share those thoughts with them. >> cms had the ultimate decision for a live or no-go decision. not cgi. we were not in a position we are there to support our clients. it's not our position to tell our client whether they should go live or not go live. >> who at cms were you sharing that information with or those decisions? >> once again, chairman, i did not have nor did cgi have an opinion on a decision for cms to make on a live or no-go
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decision. >> do you know who at cma made the decision to go live? >> it's a body of individual sat cms. >> mr. slavitt? >> we had a limited view of the entirety of the project. but what i can speak is to we were confident in the ability of the data services hub which was a complex component where we spent the bulk of our 70s. weep were confident it would o october 1 and it has. other than that we had all the concerns we are had was mostly related to testing and the inability to get as much testing as we would have liked. we expressed all those concerns and risks to cms throughout the project. >> so you shared there were real difficulties in the testing with them? >> all the risks we saw and the
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concerns with testing were shared with cms. >> what was their response when you shared the pitfalls? >> my understanding is they were working on them but i don't know further. depiction from them but we did fully talk about the risks that we saw and we passed those along, all along the way. >> miss spellecy? >> our solution was ready to go. we successfully end to end testing between equifax workforce solutions and cms data hub prior to that date so we did not anticipate any sort of problems with our connections and have not experienced any. >> mr. lau?
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>> we too were ready to process on 10/1. had done extensive internal testing of our processes and systems and our first awareness of difficulties with the hub was 10/1, the portal, i'm sorry, on 10/1 when we attempted to do key entry. >> so you didn't test it prior to october 1? >> no. no, sir. >> mr. waxman? >> thank you, mr. chairman. as we evaluate the problems with this website, i think it's important that we focus on the facts. my republican colleagues have been predicting that health care reform would be a disaster for three years now and every time they have been wrong. they said insurance rates would skyrocket. in fact they're lower than predicted. they said health care costs would soar. in fact they have grown at a record low rate. they said that medicare would be you know mined and in fact it is stronger than ever. and seniors are saving billions
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of dollars on prescription drugs. so what we need to do is separate the facts for us to reach a determination here. some have said fixing the website would take six months to a year. others have said that there are five million lines of code to rewrite. some have urged health and human services to pull down the entire system and start from scratch. miss campbell, i hope you can help us put these dire predictions in perspective. does cgi expect -- bill: we've been watching this the past 60 minutes. bring in chris stirewalt for bit of analysis. good morning there in washington cms is a division of hhs. they handle medicare and medicaid and it's clear from the outset this company is pointing a finger of blame at hhs. >> roe yeah.
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well, it is a delicate position for these folks. they are paved by the federal bought. they are contractors to the federal government and the department of health and human services but, but, but, they also do a lot of business outside of the federal bought. maybe tax dollars are their most important source of revenue but they don't want to create a reputation for themselves they're nincompoops. and the reason this website turned into a smoking crater in the face of the earth was they did it wrong. so they carefully, listen to artful, like jay carney, they're so artful construction of what they're saying, we're not saying anybody did anything wrong but we did everything right and then they leave a trail of bread crumbs that leads up to kathleen sebelius's door. martha: chris, it is interesting, the woman from equifax basically says we were able to do income verification. our system was working when we went in there and we have the other two individual, the woman from cgi, ceo of cgi and she is
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also saying, you know, we felt that our systems were ready to go but when asked, did you ever say that, that there might be issues, that you should delay, she just said, that wasn't our decision. cms made the decision to gone on october 1. we merely presented them with where we were at at that point. >> that's right. sort of, i believe the technical term, this is a lash-up. you have a situation where you're trying to tie together you all these things and all these pieces. the secretary said herself, secretary sebelius said herself they wanted two more years, they wanted to have five years instead of three years to get this website off the ground. and when you see how they were doing it, which is with all of these contractors tied together, and you have all of this fingerpointing, that people, well, it wasn't me, it was him, and other guy and went the other direction, you see how it could very logically end in such a disaster as this. bill: we'll drop back here in a
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moment. we want to let our viewers know in case they're just joining us what they missed over the past hour. one of the things they missed, this is the vice president of cgi speaking right now, chris. she is the lead witness the other thing she said we acknowledge the environment was difficult for logging on but she said their aspect of the website worked just fine. and then she shifted blame on another company, blaming that contract for password issues this right left, right left, back again. i would imagine when sebelius comes next wednesday a week from today, she will do a similar rope-a-dope? >> she will do a similar rope-a-dope. what she will try to do insulate the president from blame. she started it. went on with dr. sanjay gupta. she will be in arizona today. the thing that she will try to focus on, same thing democrats will focus on today, they have obvious buzz phrase they're trying to put out there, which is fix it, don't nix it.
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this can be repaired that will be sebelius's emphasis. the other emphasis sit is not barack obama's fault. the president of the united states didn't know this would stink on ice. it is my fault and really the contractor's fault. she will accept a little blame and mostly deflecting on these folks who are there today ho won't be around to refute her in a week. martha: chris, stand by. we all keep listening to this we'll go back in moment as we said. want to bring in chief white house correspondent ed henry who joins us live. ed, what is the white house, they're no doubt watching every second of that. they're watching contractors say, hey, cms, that government agency that hired us. we told them was ready, what wasn't ready. hey, we're the client in this case? >> reporter: well, and martha as chris is pointing out with secretary sebelius not there they can let the contractors today take the heat. certainly the question in the white house briefing, just for the white house in general days
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ahead where was oversight? say the contractors made a bunch of mistakes. say they're fighting over who is to blame here but at the end of the day this is the president's signature domestic achievement. why wasn't he and his top advisors, whether kathleen sebelius, others at health and human services making sure the contractors had their stuff together, frankly. i would also say there is drama boeing on in the hearing room but there is drama going on outside the hearing room on capitol hill, you had the wall of democratic unit on health care law. a lot of republican opposition, over 40 votes try to defund it, all the things we heard from the white house of the last 24 hours suddenly amid all the trouble with the website, we've seen increasing number of senate democrats in particular up for re-election in 2014, five of them in fact, who are saying they want changes to the law. to be clear, they're not saying defund it. they're not saying dismantle it, they're saying tweak it, make it
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better. they're saying things week or two ago. number one they see problems with the website. they're likely getting pressure back at home. these are senate democrats up for re-election next year. they have to defend the law november 2014. they're getting very nervous what they're seeing, martha. martha: absolutely, ed of the that is one of the big stories here, the other big thing that comes to my mind as you watch this, how was president obama left open to this? how was he left, if he is the ceo of the nation, right, and, you look at denis mcdonough for example, who was riding these folks and saying look, this is his signature legislation. do not let the president of the united states look back on this thing, folks? >> reporter: right. look at cnn interview a couple days ago where kathleen sebelius said the president was not aware with the problems with the website until at least october 1st. martha: someone should have made him aware, perhaps?
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>> reporter: sure of the let's remember the washington post-report if you start connecting the dots, days best launch where there was stress test they got hundreds of people together to test it out and the site crashed even though they knew there would be thousands or as turned out a lot more millions of people logging on. why didn't someone along the chain, not just inform the president, and say, hey, folks we have to slow this thing down. >> these are some major headlines down. the contractors are already saying that u.s. officials were warned throughout the development of the system about the concerns that they had. also you've got to the contractor moment ago saying that the system will be fixed now, in time to allow people to enroll for their benefits on the 1st of january. and just to emphasize this yet again, contractors made no recommendation to u.s. officials whether or not should open for enrollment the first of october. they wered is for a show of hands moment ago whether or not they made that recommendation.
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based on fred upton's recommendation, no one raised a hand in the air. we're back to the room now. >> we were provided limited information, social security numbers, names, and date of birth which we used to match bense our system. >> okay. mr. lau, you mentioned that you all are working through the paper entry and then the data entry from the paper applications. >> that's correct, yes. >> okay. so where are you physically storing the data that is collected and given to you? >> when the paper cops in, it is scanned and converted to electronic images. then the paper is destroyed once the image has been verified. electronic image is put into a database and kept only until the information is key entered and then it is put in our archive and will be retained no more than 30 days. >> retain it no more than 30 days, okay.
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let me ask you, each of you, does your current system keep detailed error logs that can be referenced with the difficulties surrounding miss campbell, i will begin with you. >> yes, we have error logs. >> okay. >> yes, we do keep error logs for our products. >> okay. >> yes, we keep error logs. >> all righty. >> we keep track of success if you recall our unsuccessful application. >> okay. do you want to submit these error logs to us? >> i will have to confer back with cms as to what documents we can and can not provide. >> okay. you know it would be interesting to see those error logs because i think it would give us an idea of how many people are actually accessing this system and then the problems that you've had with scalability on this. i think we'd like to see what is
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causing these systems to crash and where the security flaws may be in this also and with that, i'm over time. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. dingell. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we are having some questions before us which are very important. [inaudible] okay. i note the problems are not surprising given the fact that there has been considerable obstruction to the program going forward. i received a letter from a constituent recently. she said i only make $12 an hour. i buy my own health insurance on the open market. i barely can afford it so i need to purchase through it for an exchange. and well be eligible -- martha: john dingell from michigan. we continue to watch the house energy subcommittee questioning
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the developers of the website. you saw marcia blackburn ask them, do you keep error logs how many types you test the systems and they failed? the big question is what the white house knew and understood and difficulties of system. why they didn't put the brakes on if it wasn't ready. we'll continue our coverage and take a quick break. we'll be right back. >> yes or no? >> yes, sir. the day we rescued riley, was a truly amazing day. without angie's list, i don't know if we could have found all the services we needed for our riley. for over 18 years we've helped people take care of the things that matter most. join today at
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martha: all right. we're back with this fox news alert. we'll get back to the hearings in just a moment. we wanted to bring you this breaking story that has been coming in as well. we just received word and have confirmation from the department of defense that pirates have kidnapped two u.s. sailors who were sailing a commercial vessel about 200 feet long off the coast of nye yearian, off the coast of nigeria i should say, gulf of guinea. it is sea retriever. it is over 200 feet. there is no u.s. navy involved in this. there is a dutch vessel or so in
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the vicinity. they have not been tasked to get involved. fbi and state are in the lead in this situation. there may be a ransom request. which is not at all unusual along the coast of africa in the piracy situation. that is the story. we'll bring developments as we get them. bill: close to home, capitol hill, hearings continue around obamacare website launch, we've been watching this hour and 15 minutes. when we last left off we saw congressman dingell from michigan, whether or not this company, cgi, bid on the contract to get it from the u.s. government. they answered, yes it did. yep gnaw goldberg, "national "nl review on-line", fox news contributor. wanted to pick your brain for a moment before we get back to the hearing. how do you think this is going or where do you see it going next? >> well it's funny.
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there is time honored thing to use a lot of jargon to hide what really happened. it reminds on that. they say crabs in a pot, if one tries to escape the other crabs will pull it down. you're seeing in the contractors where none of them did anything wrong, and, at least according to them, and it may be true. it may be true, individually each one of them did nothing wrong. i don't think that is the case but maybe it is but if you ever done work on a home you know that the plumber can be doing exactly what he thinks he should be doing and the carpetter could be doing, but if the general contractor isn't giving them the specific instructions how to reconcile all the parts into a coherent whole, you can get a nightmare what we have now with 500 million lines of code on ale worst i.t. disaster in american history. bill: yeah, it's also quite clear, jonah, just listening to
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this, this is one of two significant steps. you get this testimony today, what did you do, how did you do it, what was left to be done and when kathleen sebelius comes a week from now that's when you start to fill in rest of the remaining holes on this as to what happened. >> i think that's right and i think chris stirewalt was right earlier, these guys do not want to say outright what caused this was a failure of leadership from the client, which is the government, which is the obama administration, which is hhs. they don't want to say that because the client is the client but at the same time, they want to leave those facts out there for other people to put together. i don't know that kathleen sebelius cares nearly as much about throwing contractors under the bus and laying the blame on them. i suspect if that what she is trying to do whenever she can't lay the blame on republicans if somehow republicans are at fault for something they literally had nothing to do with. bill: thank you, jonah goldering is in dallas. two headlines for viewers if
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you're just joining us. the woman that runs the company, cgi, they shared information about the white house about any issues and shared concerns about health care. gov throughout the entire development process of the sieve. also one of the other contractors are saying we can work out the problems before the 1st of january. which would still allow people to enroll for their benefits come 2014. and the white house apparently earlier today, said all the reports about a delay on individual mandate or extending enrollment period, that is not going to happen. martha: let's go back in here. we've been watching heated exchange with joe barton of texas and his big thing is the concern about privacy. he says the small print when you go to log into this system of aca, basically says that you should expect absolutely no privacy on any of the medical information that you input into this system. let's watch some of this. >> who generically, generally made decisions at the policy level that your company
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interfaced with? give me that person's name. >> there are many decisions made under this program over this last two, 2 1/2 years. >> so is this another example of things go into a cloud? i mean, all you are is the contractor that spent 3 or $400 million? >> no. >> it goes to some amorphous cloud and then it comes back from down on high? who wrote that? >> i am not clear as to who wrote that. >> do you, let me ask it this way. do you think that should be in, do you think that, do you think that should be a requirement to sign up for obamacare? that you give up any reasonable expectation of privacy? >> sir, that is not my jurisdiction. >> you're a u.s. citizen. >> my statement one way or the other. >> i'll answer. i don't think it should be. i don't think it should
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my time is about to expire. miss campbell, did you do any kind of pilot program on this before it was rolled out? >> no, there was no pilot program. >> you said it was complicateed and big, but it was meeting your expectation? do you think it's right that 99% of the people that tried to go through the system get rejected, can't even complete the application? is that a system that you're proud of? >> sir, this is a system that we are working every day to make improvements? >> well, in my, if we have a system that almost no one can successfully navigate, that we have to go to the paper system of this gentleman's company down here, that is a system that is failed. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you. mr. pallone. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i started out in my opening
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statement saying that there was no legitimacy to this hearing and, last line of questioning certainly confirms that. hipaa only applies when there's health information being provided. that is not in play here today. no health information is required in the application process and why is that? because preexisting conditions don't matter. so once again, here we have, my rub republican colleagues trying to -- >> will the gentleman yield? >> i will not yield to this monkey court. >> this is not monkey court. >> i am not yielding, i'm trying to tell you -- >> protecting american citizens -- >> no legitimate concern of this. >> preexisting conditions don't matter. hipaa doesn't apply. there is no health information about the process. you're asked about the address, date of birth. you're not asked health information, so why are we going down this path? because you're trying to scare people so they don't apply. and so therefore the, the
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legislation gets delayed or the affordable care act gets defunded, or repealed. that is all it is hoping people won't apply. fact the matter, millions of people, over 20 million going on the site. they are going to apply and they are ultimately going to be able to enroll. in fact many of them already have enrolled. i think my republican colleagues forget, that a lot of people are enrolling through state exchanges, rather than the federal exchange. if it wasn't for the fact that many republican governors including my own from new jersey had agreed to set up state exchanges we wouldn't put so much burden on the federal system. i want to give you some examples n new york and washington, over 30,000 people have enrolled in coverage. in oregon, over 50,000 people have enrolled. in california, over 100,000 have started out application. in kentucky nearly 16,000 people have enrolled. so, this website, federal website is not only way you
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apply. in fact you can go to the community health center. you can go to the 1-800 number. you can go, there are many ways for people to enroll. all we talk here is the website because you're trying to make a case that people should not enroll. now i want to ask two questions, miss campbell, am i correct that cgi is doing work in several states in addition to the work on would you comment on that please in these states? >> that is correct. we. are supporting a number of states and those states we're prime contractor in colorado. the prime contractor in hawaii. a prime contractor in massachusetts. a prime contractor in vermont. we're a subcontractor in california. a subcontractor in kentucky. and a subcontractor in new mexico. >> and you, and that appears to be going well. obviously a lot of people have enrolled as i set forth previously. i know that in, when mr. waxman
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asked a question you said you had confidence whatever props exist in the federal data system, or website, that they would be fixed by december 15th and you expect that millions of uninsured people and others who are trying to enroll would be able to buy then so that they could, their insurance would be effective january 1st is that my understanding? >> that's correct. >> i want to ask mr. slavitt, the data hub your company set up is working well to connect to the federal data when residents of those states apply. so what i'm trying, what i'm asking, mr. slavitt, if i go through new york or california or some of the other states that have responsible governors that have set up these state exchange, unlike mine in new jersey, that if you do that, or you go through, you know the 1-hundred number or go through the other means that you can to apply in person, that they can
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access the hub is that correct? >> that is correct. >> okay. so again, i'm just trying to point out to my colleagues the success of all the state exchanges. and again, a lot of people are being able to enroll. i think the figures show that when state governors work to expand medicaid and work to make sure their own citizens get coverage they can make a big difference. they also show these statistics how shortsighted of republican governors to refuse to expand the medicaid program in their states because that's another big factor to the aca that really isn't being discussed today. again, i never cease to be amazed how the gop uses tactics to try to scare people and that is what is again happening here today. i was hoping this hearing wouldn't end up accomplishing that goal. i would just ask the public, please, you know, try to find means to enroll. there are a lot of things other than the federal website and
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don't be scared by my gop colleagues into thinking that, you know, somehow you will lose your privacy. there is no health information provided as part of this exercise. thank you, gentlemen. >> mr. hall. >> mr. chairman, thank you. i, this hearing is entitled ppaca implementation failures. didn't know or didn't disclose. and i guess this hearing really is to set us in a little better shape to deal with miss sebelius. i think she will be here next week. president obama often attempts to paint republican as being out of order, down right crazy in their criticism of the health care law. i want to talk about that just a minute before i ask my questions. i hear from my district and from americans across the country the craziest part of the last few weeks is seeing the president's top health care official laughing on john stuart while americans are having to deal
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with the consequences, with the consequences with the president's flawed health care law. for example, i have a teacher there in my hometown where she has to face premiums that will consume nearly a quarter of her monthly income, or another constituent who tried to comply with the law but not yet received information about their coverage as promised and claims, quote, i'm very concerned our family will not be in compliance and face irs fines. calling for repeal of individual mandate and most of them are calling for that. yet another who has been advised that their current coverage will end december 31st, 2013. so much for keeping what you have. and concerned that the dysfunctional health care government will expose me to unwanted liability if i can't get coverage through the website. now, and, how verbose is this? the founding fathers in 1776 declared their independence.
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the next year they wrote a constitution that was 4500 words. this, this wording in here, the regulations, not voted on by congress, contains a massive 11,588,000,000 words. i don't know how anybody could everiance these things. i want to ask you in environment where people are already worried whether or not they have a job and there is no jobs now and if we go on like we're going on, there will be no employers a year from now, they now have to worry about navigateing a flawed law where their chances of finding affordable coverage are often less than before the law's existence. so my question to each of you is, cms has had three years and most of you have had over a year to insure that this law could work. now do you want me to tell americans who are terrified of really facing the irs fines for not being able to access coverage they actually can't
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afford? i guess we start with you, miss campbell. you weren't allowed or he chose not to use your opinion or make suggests but are you in a position to give me some words that i could give to these people to give them any hope that their government, that we're doing our job here in congress, that you've done your job, that you were hired out to do? is there hope? >> so if i understand the question you're asking, is this system going to be there for them to sign up? >> i beg your pardon? >> what is, can you repeat the question? >> yeah. just give me something to tell these people that related to you that are real people, honest people, that have to live with what you all have created. you set up, you run the website for people to sign up. or, exchange. >> and we're continuing -- >> you must know a whole lot more than i know to know what to
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tell these people. i'm asking you to give me some help along that line. if you can't express your opinions to the people that you report to, you can express them to me. >> so i would tell your constituents that the system is improving day over day. and that we are continuing to work to make improvements for them to be able to enroll. >> did you really start with one in delaware? >> pardon me, sir? >> did you really start out with one in delaware? that is what the liberal press is reporting? >> i'm not familiar. >> how about my time, how much more time do you have? >> you have 38 seconds. >> all right. i'll yield, yeah, i'm here for many of you. i'm asking for help. i want help. i have 700,000 people that i have to report to. and i think about 690,000 of them hate the obama law. my time's up.
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i will yield back. >> gentleman yields back. chair recognizes engentlelady from california. martha: watching congressman hall, trying to nail down a little bit what actually happened in the real world. did you really start with one person in delaware? she was unable to confirm that, the vice president of cgi. he also suggested that you ought to be able to tell the people you're working for the truth about what is going on with the system, which she claims they did. the suggestion there is that it didn't matter. let's bring in monica crowley, radio talk show host and fox news contributor as she watches this along with us today. monica, what do you make of it so far? >> it is pretty stunning, martha. what you're seeing from these four major obamacare contractors is epic buck-passing. they're all pointing the figures at everybody else saying don't look at us. we took our responsibilities seriously but we weren't able to see it through. why? because the client, and the
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client in this case issthe federal government, it is the obama administration, it is hhs, they weren't giving us any direction. they were providing no oversight. they were giving us no guidance. that's what they're saying. ultimately the buck does stop with the president of the united states. this is his major legacy issue. this is his signature legislation. this administration was not riding these people to make sure that the website actually got up and running when it was supposed to. martha: you know i listen to all this, monica, i can just think one thing. we know that the president at times you know, has had a temper. i mean what on earth is he thinking as he watches this? we know he is getting ready to do immigration speech right now, so he may not be witnessing this. but when you look at all the people hired to carry out your most significant piece of legislation, the thing that you said, meant more to you than anything. how then, do you not baby sit it or make sure somebody is baby sitting it? it makes it look, and i can't believe this is true, but it
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appears like they didn't, like they handed it off and they weren't working on it? >> yeah, you know what, martha, it is interesting, because this president has shown over last five years he is not all that interested in actually governing. he is interested in sort of the idealogical change of america, what he called fundamental transformation of america. health care reform, obamacare, socialized medicine, whatever you want to call it was so critical to that because socialized medicine is in fact the crown jewel of the welfare state. so what he was really interested in sort of slamming this into place and getting government control over health care in place. he wasn't particularly interested in the minutia how it was actually going to work. i do agree with you to this extent, any ceo in any business, martha, has certain priorities and in the business knows what the ceo's pet projects are and his or her priorities are. martha: right you have to protect the boss, right? make sure nothing making the
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boss look bad. denis mcdonough or valerie jarrett, where were these people pounding the pavement at these contractors and saying you guys are getting this right, right? >> listen, martha, that's the difference between the private sector and government. what you're seeing on display right now is government, and not just government but really big government, that can't run anything efficiently and really doesn't have the incentive to run anything efficiently because there is no profit motive. a business has to run things efficiently because they lose money or go out of business. the government fails up. what you constantly see with government. when you see any kind of government program fails, instead of packing it up and putting it away it failed, we'll move on and address other things, what happens is, government grows. so they try to cover up the failure by actually growing the program, expanding it. they say we need more bureaucrats, more workers, more money. that is what will end up happening here. martha: what they're saying they're on it. the president has said they're
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having a tech surge. they're going to make sure they fix this problem. we are hearing that from some o. they say it is getting better every day. last two weeks they see quite a bit of i will improvement. the indications from the white house this morning they will hold fast to the march 31st deadline for people to enroll and a 10-city tour to make sure the ball is not dropped, monica. >> just what we need more speeches from president obama and kathleen sebelius about this speeches will not make it work any better. ultimately will they get the website up and runing? yes, that probably will happen. how long it will take, we don't know. once the website is up the real problems start. where average americans are losing health insurance. we're starting to see that now. higher premiums, higher taxes, higher deductibles, loss of work, loss of wages, loss of hours, loss of security. so many americans are now that we're going to see that in droves if the law takes effect.
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martha: both sides are saying not about the website in the end. one side means one thing in that and the other means something quite different. we'll see what reality is. monica, thanks. >> thanks. bill: one of the hotter moments came when marcia blackburn, republican from tennessee, talking about medical privacy concerns. joe barton followed up with that, the republican from texas. of the frank pallone, democrat from new jersey slammed all of them calling it a monkey court. saying patient's medical information is not at risk, based on his reading of the law. whatever the case with that, the hearing continues. ed henry is standing by live on north lawn. much because there's a moment the president will be out here talking about not this, not, but actually screen right, he will be talking about immigration. now, ed, what is that all about? how much attention is the white house giving what's happening down the street of pennsylvania avenue? >> reporter: well they're giveing a lot of attention to capitol hill even if they don't want to show it and want to say
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look, the president is moving forward on other issues like immigration reform. very quickly what he is trying to do is say he still thinks there is opportunity by the end of the year to get both parties behind bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform. i would say good luck right now because, as the president's own press secretary jay carney said at the podium yesterday, in his words, they're working 24/7 here at the white house and at the administration to get this website working and let's not forget. it is not just the website as jay carney and president said, the law is more than just a website. they're trying to implement this across the board. so that is dominating his time, this health care law and problems over it. take a look at "new york times." lead story, we're watching hearing. i was waiting here, lead story, health law fails to lower prices for rural areas. poor pay more. lack of competition in many exchanges. basically saying in rural areas, there are hundreds of counties
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where they may only be two insurers competing in these exchanges. in some cases only one insurer. so you're not actually getting the competition the president promised. and as a result, even poor people, this story in the "new york times", says, are paying more than expected. obviously not what the president said. bill: that is significant. i mean that is a hammer of a headline because that is what republicans say will be the next wave in this story. once you get the, the website issues ironed out. then you go to the facts of the law and how much money you're paying. now you will have some prime questions for carney today. >> reporter: no doubt about it. bill: one of these contractors said they shared information, they share concerns about with u.s. officials throughout the development system. so who was there to hear their complaints? who did they talk to and what response were they given? >> reporter: you're right and jay carney has sluffed off the
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questions in recent days, they're not going in his words, do any monday morning quarterbacking here at white house but that might be a good sound bite but the fact is the american people want accountability not just what happened in the rear view mirror, not just beating people up, not just firing people, but looking forward, what went wrong so they can figure out not only how to fix the website but how to make sure as they implement this law, they don't have other major issues beyond just the website of the as we talk about the "new york times" piece, right on front page, it raises questions, even if you eventually get in the website, eventually get all that fixed, and you enroll will you have sticker shock or not? this "new york times" piece is suggesting even people with lower incomes are going to be facing higher premiums than expected. that is not what the law intended. so these unintended consequences might also -- bill: how will that go over? we heard from the white house, people talking about delay of the mandate? you can forget about that. at least for now, at least what
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line the white house is holding to yard to the delay of the individual mandate and you thank you. ed henry at the while house, watching both screens now. martha: if the white house sticks with the deadline, the time people will register is going to get squeezed. what kind of impact will that have on all of this. you see the podium on your right, for the president who will speak in a little while, and very hot situation in this hearing. take a quick break. be right back with all of this breaking news right after this.
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martha: all right, we're back. we'll get back to the hearing in just a moment the president is about to make some remarks. you see everybody filing in now. he said after health care his biggest priority would be immigration and he is expected any second now to take the podium in the east room of the white house to begin that push. it is something he wants very much to see reform on over the course of the second, second part of his presidency and that is what we'll hear about from
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him this morning. we expect that to get underway any second. we want to keep in mind though what is going on the hill as well, as the aca, or obamacare as the president himself has called it, is getting a serious grilling this morning as the contractors who were putting it into place are being questioned by the house committee as to what the delays were about, whether or not they communicated to the white house that there were problems with this website. and that's where you're going to see the heat of the matter when jay carney steps to the podium later today at 1:00 for his briefing because no doubt reporters will want to have an answer to that question. you know, what we heard all morning was these contractors were telling you there were issues, there were problems. what did you do about that and how does that translate how long the american people have oscine up for this program? they seem to be standing very firm on that this morning. they're saying march 31st, defight any confusion you might
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have heard out there, remains the deadline for people to sign up or they will be fined. that is where it stand right now. let's go to the white house, the east room and president and vice president for right now. and we'll listen in for a moment and go back to the hearing. >> thank you very much. have a seat, everybody. good morning and welcome to the white house. today i'm here with leaders from business, from labor, from faith communities, who are united around one goal, finishing the job of fixing a broken immigration system. this is not just an idea whose time has come. this is an idea whose time has been around for years now. leaders like all of you have worked together with republicans and democrats in this town, in good faith, for years to try to get this done, and this is the moment when we should be able to
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finally get the job done. now it is no secret that the american people haven't seen much out of washington that they like these days. the shutdown, and the threat of the first default, in more than 200 years inflicted real pain on our businesses, and on families across the country. it was a completely unnecessary self-inflicted wound with real costs to real people. and it can never happen again. but even with the shutdown over, and the threat of default eliminated, democrats and republicans still have some really big disagreements. there is some fundamentally different views about how we should move forward on certain issues. on the other hand, as i said the day after the shutdown ended, that is no reason that we shouldn't be able to work together on the things that we do agree on. we should be able to work
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together on a responsible budget that invests in the things we need to grow our economy and create jobs even while we maintain fiscal discipline. we should be able to pass a farm bill, that helps rural communities grow and protects vulnerable americans in hard times. and we should pass immigration reform. [applause] we should pass immigration reform. it's good for our economy, it's good for our national security. it's good for our people. and we should do it this year. now everybody knows that our current immigration system is broken. across the political spectrum people understand that. we have known it for years. it is not smart to invite -- martha: the president talking about his priorities really for the rest of his second term.
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he says we ought to be able to get together on things we agree on. the budget for example, the farm bill and immigration. we'll see how contentious those things turn out to be. he said, you know, the budget needs to be dealt with fiscal responsibility. a lot of different viewpoints on that one. we'll take a quick break here. take you back to the hearing on the other side. hotel. anna, your hotels have wondrous waffle bars. ryan, your hotels' robes are fabulous. i have twelve of them. twelve? shhhh, i'm worth it& what i'm trying to say is, it's so hard to pick just one of you, so i'm choosing all of you with a loyalty program that requires no loyalty. plus members can win a free night every day only at
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bill: a lot moving in washington. two major events happening right now. screen left is the hearing that continues. screen right is the president talking about immigration. with me now, tea party news network and radio talk show host richard fowler here. good day to both of you. this will be brief here because we're tight on time. scotty, i think one of the headlines that came out of this
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hearing today is that the contractors say they were in touch with u.s. officials throughout the entire development system. if they can prove that, what did the administration say? >> well it doesn't matter what the administration says because they will continue to play the blame game. hints by president obama bringing up illegal immigration right now because he realize this is obamacare policy exploding around him and he has whole agenda literally detracting the agenda from one failed policy to another. bill: you think immigration is distraction while this hearing going on? >> 100 percent. they didn't mention expect this to be a total failure. democrats calling for one year delay, president obama is in panic mode and damage control. one way to do that is switch focus on another issue hopes he will have more luck with. bill: richard, how do they get their legs back after what we've been watching last two hours? >> don't get me wrong, bill,
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thanks for having me, this white house needs to understand they need to fix the website. day by day the website is getting getter and people get the health care they really need. at the same time it does not mean we can't pass immigration reform. this is bipartisan issue. passed the senate bipartisanly. if we want to reduce deficit and conservatives, pass immigration reform. it will decrease the deficit $35 billion. bill: you don't see it as distraction when this hearing is going on right down the road? come on, richard, even you're laughing about it. hang on. is talk of country and rollout has been an absolute embarassment. so why not come out and demand this thing get in order? everybody thought that is what he would say on monday. that is not what came out of his mouth. >> i think we've seen from the president all the senior white house administration officials they want to get this right, they will get this right but like the president said at the beginning of his speech it doesn't mean we can't focus on
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other issues at the same time. we all can multitask. this congress can multitask. this house of representatives can multitask and pass a immigration bill. bill: where do you think the hearing on take us next? >> we have people actually telling the truth what is going on not taking fifth amendment what we've seen with the irs hearings. where this will take us though, if this is only issue, the only time this president has done the bait and switch, maybe we would give him the benefit of the doubt but if reality this happened every single major administration policy since the second he came into office. he is one idea to go to the other. bill: i've got to run. scotty hughes. richard fowler. thanks for hanging out. apologies it was short. next time, more time. >> no worries, bill. thanks for having me. martha: there is the hearing on capitol hill. we'll have more next on "happening now."
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martha: we'll see. bill: next wednesday, at 9:00 a.m., be here because that's when -- martha: kathleen sebelius will be in frond of the group as well. 1:00, jay carney this afternoon. that might be interesting. "happening now" starts right now. bye everybody. >> we begin with this fox news alert the contractors who built the government troubled health care website are laying much of the blame on the obama administration. as president obama's allies fret with some political fallout with several democrats banking ranks with the white house over the new law one house democrat says the president needs to quote, man up and fire somebody for the website disaster. meanwhile the white house has just extended the ted line for -- deadline to sign up for coverage before they risk a penalty. but first right now some brand new stories and breaking news you will see only here.


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