Obama was aware of report on healthcare website's problems

President Obama was aware of a report prepared in March detailing some of the technical problems that have besieged the ObamaCare website, the White House said Tuesday.

But White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president believed that the problems with the website were being addressed before its debut at the beginning of last month.

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"The president was briefed regularly on aspects of implementing the ACA, including the recommendations from this review and the steps that CMS and HHS were taking in response to those recommendations," Carney said.

The Washington Post reported Monday that McKinsey & Co. warned senior administration officials this spring that attempting to launch the website by Oct. 1 was a risky endeavor.

The consulting firm provided a 14-slide presentation to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Marilyn Tavenner, who was then acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park outlining potential problems with the website.

On Tuesday, Carney said those officials were subsequently briefed on how the administration would attempt to address the issues raised by the report, and that Obama was told how the administration planned to tackle the concerns.

The revelation came as Carney was again peppered with questions about the botched implementation of ObamaCare.

The repeated questions elicited sarcastic replies from the spokesman, who has spent the past month battling back against questions about shortcomings of the law.

“Because we're in the breaking news business, it turns out that today we've learned the website did not launch effectively,” Carney said in response to one reporter’s questions.

Carney said users of the ObamaCare website should not be concerned, despite a technical expert warning a congressional panel on Tuesday that their data was at “critical risk.”

“When consumers fill out their online marketplace applications, they can trust that the information that they are providing is protected by stringent security standards,” Carney said.

He also said CMS Deputy Chief Information Officer Henry Chao’s testimony that 30 percent to 40 percent of the backend of the ObamaCare website needed to make payments to insurers had not yet been built should not be considered new news.

“We're on track, we believe, to hit our mark of making the website functionality such that the vast majority of users will be able to navigate it successfully,” Carney said.

The press secretary also pointed the finger at Washington state’s exchange after a woman who appeared at a White House event as an ObamaCare success story was later told that her tax credit had been incorrectly calculated, and her insurance policy would be more expensive.

Washington is one of a handful of states that runs their own online exchanges, rather than relying on HealthCare.gov. Officials admitted earlier this month to incorrectly calculating thousands of users’ insurance prices.

Carney said the White House was “sorry” the woman had been affected and that state officials would contact her about possible coverage options.