June 19 (Bloomberg) -- A contractor the Obama administrationhired to monitor progress on its health insurance website, HealthCare.gov, repeatedlywarned the project was falling behind before the site failed inOctober, Senate Republicans said in a report.

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The contractor, TurningPoint Global Solutions, “raised a litanyof red flags” about the project in audits for the governmentbeginning about a year before the website opened Oct. 1, accordingto the report by two Republican senators, Orrin Hatch of Utah andCharles Grassley of Iowa. A month before the site went live, thecontractor said that of 355,000 lines of code, 21,000 haddefects.

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Many of the failures of healthcare.gov, the federal insurancemarketplace that served 34 states in the first year of the PatientProtection and Affordable Care Act, have been previouslydocumented. Programming and hardware errors prevented the site fromworking for most Americans until December, and the former Healthand Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, publiclyacknowledged the project was a "debacle.’’ Sheresigned April 10.

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The failures “proved to be indicative of many of Obamacare’sproblems,” Hatch said in a statement. “In the end, the problem withObamacare is not just the failed rollout of HealthCare.gov, but inthe failed policies of the law that restrict patient choice andexpand the powers of a bloated federal government.”

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The report by the Republicans, who have opposed the law,rehashes many missteps in the site’s development that were alreadyknown, while shedding additional light on some, such as a lack oftesting. People familiar with the project have said the site neverunderwent end-to-end testing before its launch.

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23 percent

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TurningPoint, which served as the project’s “independentverification and validation” contractor, reported that just 23percent of the site’s code had been tested before it went live,according to Hatch and Grassley.

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TurningPoint’s role in the project and its reports haven’tpreviously been disclosed, Aaron Fobes, a spokesman for Hatch, saidin an e-mail. Officials at the Centers for Medicare and MedicaidServices, which built the site, wouldn’t say whether top executivesin charge of the project saw TurningPoint’s audits and “implied thereports were not useful or up to date,” according to Hatch andGrassley’s report.

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“It’s well known that we faced challenges during the launch ofhealthcare.gov,” Aaron Albright, a spokesman for CMS, said in ane-mail. “As it has been widely reported, we didn’t anticipate thelevels of difficulty that we ultimately faced. We immediatelyworked to fix the issues and developed new managementprocesses.”

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About 8 million Americans ultimately signed up forprivate plans under the Affordable Care Act, including 5.4 millionwho used the federal enrollment system. Albright said the Medicareagency is “making additional improvements to technology andmanagement structures so that millions more Americans can sign upfor quality, affordable coverage.”

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Enrollment for 2015 health plans opens on November 15, and atleast 13 million people are expected to sign up, according to theCongressional Budget Office.

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Copyright 2018 Bloomberg. All rightsreserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten,or redistributed.

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