Tavenner Tells Senate Panel To Expect 800K Enrollees By End Of Nov., Answers Security Questions
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said Tuesday that fixes have been made to the federal website to improve users' experiences. She also answered questions about an exchange security breach that she said is fixed. In the meantime, the Obama administration faces growing skepticism from those in its own party on the rollout.
Los Angeles Times: Senators Grill Obamacare Administrator Over Healthcare.gov
The top Obamacare administrator told a Senate committee that setbacks will not hamper overall enrollment in the Affordable Care Act, which she said was expected to start slowly and then grow before the 2014 deadline to carry insurance coverage. Democrats joined Republicans on Tuesday grilling Marilyn Tavenner, the chief of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which is overseeing the website for the Health and Human Services Department (Mascaro, 11/5).
The Washington Post: Medicare Chief Marilyn Tavenner Testifies Before Senate On Healthcare.gov Troubles
An administration official overseeing the federal online health insurance marketplace encouraged Americans to log on to the Web site despite its well-publicized technical problems and try to shop for coverage. Testifying Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Marilyn Tavenner said her agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), plans to release information next week about who enrolled through the state and federal exchanges. She said the target for the end of November is 800,000 enrollments (Somashekhar and Goldstein, 11/5).
CNN: Obamacare Official: First Website Enrollment Figures Next Week
Go to the Obamacare website today because "it has improved," with more people completing applications after a month of problems that botched the rollout of HealthCare.gov, the official in charge of creating the online program told a Senate committee on Tuesday. Marilyn Tavenner, head of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, assured the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee the website will be fixed by the end of November, as promised (Cohen, 11/5).
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Obama Administration Hoping 800K Enroll By End Of November
About 800,000 people are expected to enroll in the new online health insurance marketplaces by the end of November, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said Tuesday at a congressional hearing. A CMS official said later that estimate includes people signing up for Medicaid as well as private insurance (Galewitz, 11/5).
Bloomberg: Obamacare Site Can Handle 17,000 People An Hour, CMS Says
The U.S. health-insurance exchange is seeing improvement and can now register 17,000 customers per hour "with almost no errors," an Obama administration official said at a Senate hearing where the website's underperformance was targeted by both political parties. Fixes included speeding up the site so insurance plans are displayed "in just seconds," Marilyn Tavenner, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in remarks to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today (Wayne, 11/5).
Roll Call: Democrats' Anxiety Grows Over Obamacare Problems
When a loyal leader on your own team says there is a "crisis of confidence" surrounding your signature initiative, you've got trouble. That's the phrase Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland used repeatedly Tuesday morning to describe the rollout of the new health care law as she questioned Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the health agency tasked with overseeing the law's implementation (Dennis, 11/5).
Politico: 'Crisis Of Confidence' In Obamacare
Frustrated Senate Democrats laid into a top Obama administration health official Tuesday for the "crisis of confidence" in Obamacare created by the flawed rollout of HealthCare.gov. Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of CMS, tried to reassure lawmakers that the administration can meet its goal of having the website running by late November. And she said the administration has campaigns ready to encourage young people as well as people who have had their health plans canceled to give Obamacare a chance (Haberkorn and Millman, 11/5).
McClatchy: HealthCare.Gov Official Questioned About Website Security
A top Obama administration official on Tuesday tried to assure anxious senators that Americans' personal information was secure on the troubled HealthCare.gov website, which erroneously provided a South Carolina man's personal information to a man in North Carolina last week. In testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Medicare Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said she became aware of the mistake on Monday and told the committee a "software fix" had remedied the problem (Pugh, 11/5).
The Wall Street Journal: Health-Site Security Concerns Raised
The Obama administration official overseeing the troubled federal health-insurance website acknowledged Tuesday that a North Carolina man accidentally received another applicant's personal information, raising concerns among lawmakers about the site's security (Schatz, 11/5).
The Associated Press: Health Website's Security Prompts Worries
But a short while later, Tavenner acknowledged the Carolinas security breach. "We actually were made aware of that" Monday, she said in response to a question from Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. "We implemented a software fix." It was not immediately clear how the North Carolina man was able to view the personal information of the man in South Carolina. However, a vulnerability that has afflicted websites for years is known as "horizontal privilege escalation," in which a legitimate user of a website slightly alters the string of random-looking characters in the website's address or inside downloaded data files known as "cookies," causing the system to display information about the accounts of other users. It can be protected against by a well-designed website (Alonso-Zaldivar, 11/6).
Politico: Security Experts Fear ACA Vulnerabilities
Early stumbles on the hobbled Obamacare website -- password glitches, incomplete testing and fractured development -- underscore considerable safety risks and hint at deeper vulnerabilities, data security experts warn. Lawmakers seized on those concerns Tuesday and will most likely do so again Wednesday, reverting attention to a process that has astounded IT specialists (Meyers, 11/5).