OTR Interviews

'Doubling down on dysfunction': ObamaCare site contractor rewarded for shoddy work

The government has awarded more contracts to company that helped create the trouble-riddled ObamaCare registration website


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 5, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: CGI got a big fat contract from the ObamaCare administration and built the ObamaCare website. Well, it is a flop. Even Democrats who voted for ObamaCare say it is a catastrophe. What is the Obama administration doing about CGI now? Well, you might want to sit down. Since the health care site's disastrous launch on October 1st, the government has awarded at least five more contracts to CGI, totaling $7 million.

Republican Senator Rob Portman joins us.

How do you like that?

SEN. ROB PORTMAN, R-OHIO: Greta, it's doubling down on dysfunction.


VAN SUSTEREN: You don't like that, I take it?


VAN SUSTEREN: How does this happen?

PORTMAN: For one thing, the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing in bureaucracies. It's a bunch of different agencies and departments. But somebody needs to be held accountable. You've got a letter in front of you --


VAN SUSTEREN: Speaking of accountable, let me go to the next topic. Tomorrow, Secretary Sebelius is going to testify before a committee you are on?



VAN SUSTEREN: I'm curious whether you are going to ask her about this August 28th letter that you wrote her. In the letter, if I can just summarize it, you asked her all sorts of things, including whether or not she would urge a delay. You had asked about whether there was testing done. Did she ever reply to this letter?


VAN SUSTEREN: So tomorrow, are you going to ask her why she didn't answer this letter?

PORTMAN: Yeah. I'm going to say, look, more than a month before the October 1st deadline, I wrote you a letter saying this doesn't look good, it looks like the infrastructure is not in place, you are going to have problems with the I.T, that the website is not going to be ready, and we never heard back from you. We called. We wrote.


VAN SUSTEREN: You wrote Marilyn Tavenner, the woman who testified today in front of the Senate.

PORTMAN: Yeah. She also didn't get back to us.

Here's is what happened, in part. I think during the election campaign they didn't get their act together because they didn't want to start rolling things out, particularly the regulations that were controversial. They got behind. Yet, they wanted to keep the date of October 1st. It's too bad because my constituents are the ones bearing the brunt of it. I get a call from a guy last week who says I have tried for two weeks to get on this thing, finally, I got through on the website, registered, and I find out that my individual coverage is going to double in price. And then a woman this week saying, you know, kind of the same thing. She has a kid in college, they are trying to make ends meet, she finds out that her coverage is going to be almost twice as expensive. So - -

VAN SUSTEREN: That's merging of two problems. One is the website, which I think is something that probably can be fixed.

PORTMAN: It can be fixed.

VAN SUSTEREN: -- in which the administration is feeling like egg all its face for. But the other is whether ObamaCare is going to be cost- effective and whether people are going to have cheaper rates and whether it it's going to cover everybody.

PORTMAN: Yeah. Those are three promises. One, the president said you could keep your coverage. We have talked about that a lot.


VAN SUSTEREN: He added "if" last night, a new phrase, a disclaimer, but whatever.

PORTMAN: Last night, do you know what he said? I think he said, "If you have employer coverage. That's what I meant."


PORTMAN: But guess what? When employer coverage kicks in --

VAN SUSTEREN: If I was his lawyer, I'd tell him to put the lid on that one. Move on. But go ahead.

PORTMAN: Yeah. He delayed the employer for a year. When that kicks in, we are going to find also a lot of people's employer coverage, going to lose their coverage. So he is doubling down -- just as they are doubling down in dysfunction -- he's doubling on his misspeak.

Now, second, he said it's going to cost less. He said 2500 bucks on average per family lower cost. The Congressional Budget Office, nonpartisan group, says, no, it's about 2100 bucks more per family for individual coverage. In Ohio, we are told it's a 41 percent increase next year. That's more than 100 bucks a month for a family in Ohio.

And then, you know, he also promised that this thing would work.


And it's not.

VAN SUSTEREN: Even without the Congressional Budget Office giving its numbers -- and I have a little problem sometimes with numbers -- there is a fundamental part that doesn't make sense. It requires everyone to put money in the pool. And the sicker people take it out and the healthier people don't. A lot of people got out of the pool. Some the unions got exemptions. The employers got a waiver for a year. I mean, they got out of it.

PORTMAN: Some companies got out, too.

VAN SUSTEREN: Right. So they're out of it.

PORTMAN: 34 unions.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now we have got the problem that a lot of young people probably aren't going to get in it, so they're not going to be putting money into. Then we have the problem of people who are enrolling, it's a Medicaid expansion, not the people who are paying full freight. The numbers just don't seem to be there. That's where I think is the big problem.

PORTMAN: Yeah. The numbers aren't working because the pool isn't working because young people are not signing up as they had hoped for. Another problem the president made though is about coverage. And if you look at what, again, the nonpartisan groups are saying, like the Congressional Budget Office, 10 years from now, after ObamaCare has been implemented, still there will be 30 million Americans uninsured. That's a shock to my constituents when I tell them that. All this sound and fury and 19 new taxes and $1.1 trillion and new deficit spending, after all this, all the regulations, all the mandates, all the difficulty in getting through this website, still 30 million Americans left uninsured? There has got to be a better way.

VAN SUSTEREN: We'll see. We're going to get the numbers on November 15th, supposedly.

And tomorrow, we're going to hear -- was that going to be your first question, why she didn't answer your letter? I'm going to be listening.


PORTMAN: I'm not going to say, why didn't you answer my letter. I'm going to say, look, we laid this thing out in the letter, we need to know the answer now why --


VAN SUSTEREN: Why didn't she answer? Actually, ask those questions. Did you test it?


PORTMAN: She didn't test it.

VAN SUSTEREN: You asked rather important specific questions, and the fact that just ignore it. Actually, had she answered it, they might have fixed it and not had the problems.

PORTMAN: It could have saved them a lot of hassle.


VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir.

PORTMAN: Good to see you, Greta.