Park, who testified he had not had direct oversight of the development of the website until after its launch, said he became far more hands-on after its launch when President Barack Obama announced a “tech surge” to bring more expertise in the government and the private sector to salvage the project.
Since then, Park said, he's been working under Jeffrey Zients, Obama's appointed troubleshooter on the project, and sleeping on the floor of his office while working around the clock on fixes to the site.
The Obama administration initially declined to send Park to testify, asserting that he was too busy, which drew a subpoena from Issa.
Cummings noted that Republicans voted 40 times to repeal some part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and then shut down the federal government in an attempt to force its repeal. No one, Cummings said, “believes the Republicans want to fix this website.”
Issa, though, said that “whether you like Obamacare or not, taxpayers' dollars were wasted, precious time was wasted, the promise of Obamacare does not exist, because established best practices were not used in this case.”
In the days leading up to Wednesday's hearing, Issa leaked information from closed-door testimony given to the committee staff by Henry Chao, a CMS deputy chief information officer and deputy director of the office of information services.
The leaked documents and portions of a transcript of Chao's testimony prompted CBS news to report that Chao said he was unaware of a security assessment for the site. CBS reported, based on those documents, that Chao “was apparently kept in the dark about serious failures in the website's security” that “could lead to identity theft among” users buying insurance.
Cummings said the “unsupported allegations” were merely an attempt to frighten away users from the site.
Chao testified Wednesday that the documents he was shown pertained to portions of the site that had not been launched on Oct. 1 and could not pose a security risk to current users.
Issa and Chao also sparred over a controversial, last-minute change in the batting order of the functions of the website. The tool allowing consumers to browse plans before creating a high-security account was turned off just weeks before launch.
Republicans have charged the change was made for political reasons to shield users from “sticker shock” by not allowing them to learn the cost of insurance before their possible federal subsidies were calculated.
Chao said the change was made because the tool didn't work. “It was a decision made on the results of testing.”
Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn