White House Email Chain Shows Launch Fears

Photo Credit: ReutersTop White House and health officials feared that HealthCare.gov would not work correctly and would set off a wave of bad publicity, according to emails shortly before the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare enrollment website.

The emails, released Wednesday evening by House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, included a picture of an error message that has become emblematic of the launch debacle. They were dated Sept. 25 — less than a week before the enrollment portal opened and immediately created a crisis for the White House.

A White House spokesman said the emails — which use technical terms — focused on problems that could arise if there was high traffic to the site, not to a fear that the site wouldn’t work at all.

In the emails Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Deputy Chief Information Officer Henry Chao summed up concerns that he said White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park had expressed.

“When Todd Park and Marilyn [Tavenner] was here yesterday one of the things Todd conveyed was this fear the WH has about hc.gov being unavailable,” Chao said, referring to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

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