Health care executive Sarah Iselin answers questions at an oversight hearing.

Lawmakers Slam State Health Care Website

February 12, 2014

Massachusetts lawmakers bashed the state health care website and the Gov. Deval Patrick administration's response to the problems during an oversight hearing Wednesday.

Lawmakers were fuming. They said they’ve been kept in the dark about problems with the site.

Rep. Marjorie Decker of Cambridge questioned the governor’s management of the process.

“I need some more assurance that we’re going to know going forward that we’re holding the right people accountable," Decker said. "I’d like to know what happened over the past year when CGI knew they weren’t ready, they knew things weren’t going to be in place, why are we getting to it now?”

Health Care executive Sarah Iselin was hired just last week to coordinate a fix for the website. She told lawmakers it could be many months before the site is working properly.

“From day one, it has not worked like it was supposed to," Iselin said. "It has not been able to handle the traffic influx from people trying to apply online for coverage, or even provide basic information to customers shopping on the site. Consumers are frustrated and in some cases scared.”

Lawmakers praised Iselin for her efforts but some expressed anger that Patrick and top officials weren’t there.

Patrick defended himself later in the day.

“They have the people before them who have the answers," he said. "If they wanted me at the hearing they might have asked.”

The state has asked the federal government for a six month extension to transfer people to federally compliant health plans.

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