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Topics: Obamacare

Federal officials still mum on many Obamacare website problems

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Watchdog,Richard Pollock,Watchdog Blog,Obamacare,Health Care,Accountability,Technology

Federal health officials continue to remain tight-lipped about the problems they are encountering with the healthcare.gov website and what success might mean by the end of November, when they promise the site will operate "smoothly."

Former White House aide Jeffrey Zients, who is heading up the administration's efforts to rescue the malfunctioning website, briefed reporters on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Friday, but continued to remain vague about both the problems and possible solutions.

Zients still refused to say how many people had enrolled through the new health care exchanges. He also refused to predict how many people would enroll by the Dec 15 enrollment deadline.

CMS officials also did not provide any "performance metrics" about the current site or what kind of metrics would constitute "success" in November.

The officials did say they are working on an unspecified number of the "punch list" of problems. However, Zients would not identify how many problems they are encountering or describe the issues that disable the site.

Zients also refused to describe the website's ultimate capability for handling web traffic by November. Officials did say that about one in three website customers have been able to complete their enrollment.

Zients and other CMS officials also continue to refused to identify the new companies that are part of a "tech surge" of experts who the administration has brought in to rescue the site.

CMS officials did announced that QSSI, one of the current healthcare.gov vendors, was being upgraded as the overall "systems integrator."

QSSI was one of the original vendors that built the "data hub" connecting the site to various government departments and tested the site before it went online.

As with other details, CMS officials refused to say how much QSSI was being paid for this new role, but that it was "modifying" its current contract.

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