The leading contractors on the Obama administration’s troubled health insurance website told Congress Thursday that the government failed to thoroughly test the complicated system before it went live.
Executives of CGI Federal, which built the federal HealthCare.gov website serving 36 states, and QSSI, which designed the part that helps verify applicants’ income and other personal details, testified under oath before the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The contractors said they each tested their own components independently but that the Health and Human Services department was responsible for testing the whole system from end to end. That kind of testing didn’t happen until the last couple of weeks before the system’s Oct. 1 launch.
It quickly crashed once consumers tried to use it.
Representing QSSI, Andrew Slavitt told the committee that ideally, end-to-end testing should have occurred well before the launch, with enough time to correct flaws.
How much time?
“Months would be nice,” said Slavitt.
“We would have loved to have months,” concurred CGI vice president Cheryl Campbell.
The administration’s determination to go live on Oct. 1 despite qualms about testing quickly became a focus of the hearing, which turned sharply partisan at times.