Healthcare.gov's Back-End System Still Being Built

A top Obama administration official told Congress Thursday that the automated system to send payments to insurance companies is still under construction and didn't offer a completion date, media outlets report.

Politico: HHS Feared Contractor Would Derail Obamacare
The White House spent December talking up its revamped and repaired healthcare.gov website after the disastrous rollout. But health officials worried that the underperforming contractor could still derail Obamacare and destabilize the insurance industry, according to a new federal document. The concerns grew so acute that they decided to seek a new contractor (Cheney, 1/17).

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Explaining Healthcare.gov's Problems
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey and CQ Roll Call's Melissa Attias discuss the congressional testimony of Gary Cohen, who oversees the federal online marketplace, about healthcare.gov's rocky rollout  (1/16).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Under Construction: Healthcare.gov’s Payment System
An Obama administration official told Congress Thursday that the “back-end” of healthcare.gov is still being built and he didn’t forecast a completion date. An automated system to send payments to insurance companies isn’t finished, said Gary Cohen, the director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, an office in the federal Medicare agency that oversees the troubled website for buying health insurance (Corbett Dooren, 1/16).

CBS News: High Security Risk Found After Healthcare.gov Launch
A top HealthCare.gov security officer told Congress there have been two, serious high-risk findings since the website’s launch, including one on Monday of this week, CBS News has learned. Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), revealed the findings when she was interviewed Tuesday behind closed doors by House Oversight Committee officials ...The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responded to questions about the security findings in a statement that said, "in one case, what was initially flagged as a high finding was proven to be false. In the other case, we identified a piece of software code that needed to be fixed and that fix is now in place ... " (Attkisson, 1/16).

CQ HealthBeat: Administration IT Leaders More Upbeat About Exchange Security, But GOP Dubious
Three administration witnesses said Thursday that the federal health exchange website has strong security protocols in place and has not had a successful security attack, but House Republicans did not buy their reassurances (Ethridge, 1/16).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.