Administration announces help for beleaguered health care website

Posted by Lesley Clark on October 22, 2013 

The White House has named a top economic advisor to help repair its problem-ridden health care website.

The Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday its bringing in Jeff Zients, a management expert "to work in close cooperation with the HHS team to provide management, advice and counsel to the project," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

He said Zients is an "expert" in the field of effective management, and HHS will be tapping his expertise as it address the glitches that have popped up with the website, Healthcare.gov.

Carney said Zients, most recently deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, has "led some of the country's top management firms, providing private sector companies around the world with best practices, and management strategy and operation."

He's also served as acting director at the Office of Management and Budget and as the United States's chief performance officer.

Zients will provide short-term advice and recommendations, Carney said, noting that he'll start in early January as director of the National Economic Council.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whom Republicans have said should be fired over the website's woes, said in a blog post titled, A Technology Surge for Healthcare.gov, that Zients has "led some of the country’s top management firms, providing private sector companies around the world with best practices in management, strategy and operations."

She said the agency also has brought in additional experts and specialists from government and industry, "including veterans of top Silicon Valley companies."

She said the "new infusion of talent" is being pulled together as part of a team "that is working aggressively to diagnose parts of HealthCare.gov that are experiencing problems, learn from successful states, prioritize issues, and fix them."

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