CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner Testifying on the Hill

by Patrick Riley 29 Oct 2013
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The House Ways and Means Committee entertained Marilyn Tavenner, the CMS Administrator who works for HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius today on Capitol Hill. More than any other government official, Tavenner must be feelilng the heat from all sides. CMS was given responsibility, ultimately, from Sebelius for the government contract solicitations and project management for the now struggling Website. In her opening remarks, Tavenner publicly "apologized" for the debacle that has been taking place since October 1, when the federal site went live.

But, that candor is not setting things right for her agency nor is it relieving Sebelius of her continued criticism. CMS has not gotten much traffic in terms of being held responsible for anything and everything that has gone wrong. But, from where I sit, they should be. CMS was given this mission, the funds, and the responsibility to roll out one of the cornerstone pieces of the Affordable Care Act. And to say their delivery on this role was "unacceptable" as the President did, is, in my mind a euphenism. Tavenner should have realized day one that her agency did not have the human nor the technical expertise to pull this gigantic challenge off. She should have insisted for the authority to hire a Verizon, or Oracle to pull 55 government contracts under one roof and ensure each individual contract was fulfilled. She also should have alerted everyone in her chain of command that there were massive failures early on and she needed more time.

Yet, none of the above happened. With the appointment of Jeffrey Zienst to "take over" is a good sign, but it should have been done a year ago. Sebelius is next up to go before angry and frustrated lawmakers. A climate the weary should not wander in to.

You can follow me on Twitter @Patrick_FrostHC.

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Comments (1)

By  klara andrian
klara, klara

15 Jun 2017 06:08
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