HHS deals with website outage during Sebelius's Capitol Hill testimony

The HealthCare.gov website was largely unavailable to consumers while Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified in front of a congressional panel about problems with the website on Wednesday.

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According to a conference call with Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services spokeswoman Julie Bataille, the issue was with Verizon Terremark, which operates the federal data hub.

There was a similar outage over the weekend, which CMS also attributed to Verizon Terremark.

“Work is still being done to determine the root cause of the incident,” Bataille said. “But it appears to be related to the same issue.”

A representative for Verizon did not return a request for comment from The Hill.

CMS referred to the problem as a “partial outage” because, as of 5 a.m. on Wednesday, the federal data services hub was able to transmit data between the exchanges. However users have had difficulty accessing the website for most of the day.

Sebelius was repeatedly reminded by Republican lawmakers that the site was down during her testimony in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.

One GOP lawmaker held up an iPad to show her that the website was not working.