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U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while talking about the Affordable Care Act in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, November 14, 2013. Obama bowed to political pressure from his fellow Democrats on Thursday and announced a plan to let insurers renew for one year the health plans for Americans whose policies would be otherwise canceled due to Obamacare. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX15DNW U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while talking about the Affordable Care Act in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, November 14, 2013. Obama bowed to political pressure from his fellow Democrats on Thursday and announced a plan to let insurers renew for one year the health plans for Americans whose policies would be otherwise canceled due to Obamacare. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX15DNW  

30 to 40 percent of Obamacare tech not built

One of Obamacare’s top IT officials admitted Tuesday that 30 to 40 percent of its infrastructure hasn’t even been built yet — including the payment systems that actually get money to the insurers.

Henry Chao, the deputy chief information officer of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and one of the highest tech officers in charge of Obamacare’s implementation, revealed this during congressional testimony.

Republican Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner repeatedly asked Chao just how much work was left to do on the federal exchange. While Chao initially said 60 to 70 percent of HealthCare.gov remained undone, after Gardner’s dogged questioning, Chao concluded that 30 to 40 percent of the IT systems are yet to be built.

Chao maintained that as the remainder of the IT systems are completed, they will be tested “in the same exact manner we tested everything else,” potentially raising questions after widespread malfunctions.

One pretty important step remains incomplete.

“We still have to build the payment systems to make payments in January,” Chao told the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “There’s the back office systems, the accounting systems, the payment systems. … They still need to be done.”

Avik Roy, a Manhattan Institute health policy expert, raised questions about what this means for Obamacare enrollment. Because insurance enrollments are typically not counted until the insurer has received a first premium payment, technically none of the almost 27,000 enrollees the Obama administration claimed can be fully enrolled until the payment systems are complete.

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