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Congress To Investigate Affordable Care Act Website Snafus

Photo Credit: KDKA

Photo Credit: KDKA

Jon Delano Jon Delano
Jon Delano is a familiar face on KDKA-TV, having been the station's...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The multiple problems associated with the Affordable Care Act’s website have brought elected officials of all parties together, from President Obama to House Speaker Boehner.

“Clearly, there are problems with the website,” said Boehner on Wednesday.

“There’s no sugar coating it,” the President noted on Tuesday. “The website has been too slow. People have been getting stuck during the application process.”

So, who screwed up?

That’s what lots of people are asking, and members of Congress will investigate through a series of congressional hearings beginning on Thursday.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of finger-pointing going on right now, and it’s not a pleasant place to be,” Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor Jeff Eppinger told KDKA money and politics editor Jon Delano.

Eppinger knows a lot about websites and what goes into making them work, and he says www.healthcare.gov is a very complex website to create.

“There’s a lot of computer code that has to run on our devices, on our web browsers, on our desktops, on our tablets, and they have to get all that figured out, so there’s a lot of code that runs there.”

And with all the interactive features, security requirements, and multiple links, “I’m very surprised that they rolled it out on such a large scale all at once.”

A Canadian-based firm called CGI was hired to build the website for a total cost of nearly $94 million.

But that ballooned to $196 million this year and could reach $300 million before the project is completed.

“It is a phenomenal amount of money, but they’re building something that is big,” said Eppinger.

But they didn’t build it well — so this is the key question for taxpayers.

Delano: “Should those who are involved in this get paid?”

Eppinger: “That’s a hard question.”

Much of that money is already out the door. What happens next is up to policy-makers.

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