Healthcare.gov is a security nightmare, arbitrary deadlines were enforced for political purposes and changes to the law would be good but not as good as repeal, according to Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
Jordan is a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which received few concrete answers Wednesday on how Healthcare.gov was launched, despite dire warnings of security holes and a glaring lack of testing. U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven Van Roekel, White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park and Healthcare.gov Chief Project Manager Henry Chao all said they were unaware of gaping security problems before the Oct. 1 launch, did know testing had been rather limited and ducked any responsibility for pressing forward on the scheduled date instead of insisting upon a delay.
Rep. Jordan told WND he knows exactly why the administration didn't change the timetable.
"The reason they couldn't delay it is then Republicans would be right. We can't have that, not in the most politically oriented administration in history, where everything is driven by politics and not about getting to the facts," Jordan said. "We have the Benghazi scandal, and it's blamed on the video. We have the IRS scandal, and it's just two rogue agents in Cincinnati. Here we have the roll-out of Obamacare. Oct. 1 is not written into the law, but politically we have to stick to that date because that's what we told everyone. And we can't let Republicans be right because they were fighting the roll-out and wanting to delay this."
He added, "So people's information was put at risk for political reasons, and that is just unacceptable."
A Sept. 3 memo from another Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, official warned "the threat and risk potential to the system is limitless." Yet, Chao, Van Roekel and Park all stated they never saw that memo.
"So the people who were designing it, the people who were responsible for making sure this system is safe, making sure this website works didn't even know about the report where the outside agency contracted to look into the confidentiality and whether this thing would work from end to end didn't even know that the report said it wouldn't work and that it had never been tested," Jordan said.
Jordan and his colleagues are inundated by constituents stunned and furious over their suddenly canceled health-care policies. House Republicans plan to push the "Keep Your Health Plan Act" later this week. It's sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and would allow all Americans to keep their current health plans for another year.
The idea is facing resistance from the White House and from some conservatives. The arguments from the right suggest insurance companies cannot just flip a switch and reinstate policies that were canceled in obedience to federal law.
The strategy is also coming under fire from those who believe any temporary reprieve for Obamacare simply helps the law survive and gives political coverage for the administration on a law that initially passed zero GOP votes. Some conservatives also fear that Senate Democrats will gut the Upton bill, replace it with a Democratic bill and then put Republicans in the awkward position of supporting a Democratic bill or being blamed for the lack of any legislative fixes to the law.
Jordan favors an all-of-the-above strategy.
"I think it's a valid concern, and I think it's something we'll look at. What we want to try to do is implement good policy that is in the best interests of the families and the individuals and the business that we get to represent. Those debates are going on. I'm not sure how that will play out and what exactly is the right move," Jordan said.
"What I do know is this: [Obamacare] doesn't work, this bill, I think, will never work. And the answer in the end is for this bill to be repealed. If we can delay it, if we can stall it, if we can suspend it, all those things are good. But, ultimately, this law needs to be repealed because it will not work. It is not going to allow families to keep the doctors that they want or keep the insurance plan they want. It's just not in the best interest of our country."
Jordan believes it may be possible to convince enough Democrats to shelve the whole law for at least a year, although the administration is unlikely to give ground on its signature domestic issue.