Healthcare


White House Names Jeffrey Zients to Fix Healthcare.gov

by Patrick Riley 24 Oct 2013
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Embattled HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius got some relief earlier this week when the Obama administration named Jeffrey D. Zients to lead the "tech surge" in Washington in hopes of solving the healthcare.gov conundrum. Zients is not a Captiol outsider, on the contrary, he was already in the on-deck circle waiting to take over as chief White House ecnomic adviser on January 1st.

On Tuesday, in the Rose Garden the President introduced Mr. Zients as the man on the bubble to get the online health insurance marketplace fiasco back on track, and fast. Mr. Obama did not discuss or introduce the other "tech surge" team members and as of Wednesday's afternoon press briefing by Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary did not elude to who was making out the rest of this A list high tech and Web gurus.

This latest development is in large part planned to take some of the mounting criticism and heat off of Sebelius's plate. Next week she will be on the Hill before the House Energy Committee to answer, what are sure to be, tough questions. No doubt, she will be asked to step down by both Democrats and Republicans but Obama is standing by his Cabinet appointee, who is seen as a close friend of the President.

Zients is a former corporate executive who joined the administration in 2009 as the nation's first chief performance officer, responsible at the Office of Management and Budget for ensuring that federal agencies and departments opoerate efficeintly, with making the best use of technology part of his portfolio, reports the New York Times.

Meanwhile, the White House has begun to distance itself from the controversey by stating that "the President had no heads-up that the online insurance portal had problems" prior to the October 1 launch date. Sebelius, took to the media by going on what she thought would be a user-friendly John Stewart show only to be embarassed when Stewart pulled out his laptop and on live TV said, "Let's see if we can download every movie ever made and sign up for health insurance on healthcare.gov to see what takes longer!" Sebelius was uncomfortable and uneasy after that and came off as uninformed and clueless to the problem. She has since turned down any media requests. Probably a good idea.

Mr. Zients is hard at work with his clandestine team of high-tech SEALs somewhere in the bowels of Washington. To say there is a lot of pressure to turn this around would be insulting to anyone with a brain. Game on.

You can follow me on Twitter @Patrick_FrostHC and follow me on frost.com.

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Comments (1)

By  klara andrian
klara, klara

15 Jun 2017 06:08
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