According to testimony from an Obama administration official overseeing the web site, the function was scrapped because it “failed miserably” before the launch.
However, CNN reported Friday that it has obtained documents showing the “Anonymous Shopper” function passed a key test almost two weeks before the web site launched — information confirmed by a source close to the project, according to the report.
The “Anonymous Shopper” is a shopping feature allows website visitors to compare health insurance plans without opening an account, verifying their identity or determining whether they qualify for a federal subsidy.
Some Republicans have claimed the decision to scrap the feature “was made by administration officials worried it would produce rate estimates so high they would deter potential enrollees,” according to CNN.
Online window shopping “is how people have become accustomed to shopping online,” Sam Karp told CNN. “Whether it’s for airplane flights or shoes, people have become accustomed to anonymously shopping without entering credit card or personal information.”
Karp is vice president of programs at the California HealthCare Foundation, an Oakland-based nonprofit that supports and promotes the president’s signature health care program in the Golden State.
Lawmakers asked Henry Chao, the top technology officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which helped build the HealthCare.gov website, why the online window shopping was shelved.
According to CNN, Chao said he made the decision in conjunction with colleagues and testified before Congress last week that it was because the feature “failed so miserably that we could not conscionably let people use it.”
The bigger question now is did Chao knowingly lie under oath?
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