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Policy: Technology

White House 'did not anticipate' scale of Obamacare tech issues

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,Obamacare,Health and Human Services,Health Care,PennAve,Kathleen Sebelius,Meghashyam Mali,Jay Carney,Healthcare.gov,Technology

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday defended Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ claim that President Obama was unaware of problems with the Obamacare website before its launch.

“There is no question that we did not anticipate the scale of the problems with the website,” Carney told reporters.

Carney also said that the administration would begin offering “daily briefings” at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid “beginning tomorrow,” updating reporters on efforts to repair the Healthcare.gov website.

He told reporters the administration would work to “inform you as best we can about the process we are undertaking.”

The website designed to enroll consumers in the new exchanges has been plagued with a host of technical issues, which Democrats fear could undercut support for the president’s signature domestic achievement.

Carney’s comments came after a Tuesday interview in which Sebelius said that Obama was not notified of glitches with the public insurance exchange website, which launched on Oct. 1.

“I think that we talked about having testing going forward and if we had an ideal situation and could build a product in a five year period of time, I think we would have taken five years,” she said.

Sebelius added that Obama became aware of the website’s problems “the first couple of days” after the launch.

“We did not know until the problems manifested themselves after the launch that they would be as significant as they turned out to be,” said Carney on Wednesday.

He stressed that the administration has launched an “all-out effort” to fix the website with a “tech surge.”

The administration on Tuesday announced that former Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients would spearhead the effort.

The administration has argued amid the botched rollout that despite problems with the website, the rest of the healthcare act is working as planned and extending benefits to millions of Americans.

“The website is not the Affordable Care Act,” said Carney.

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