Top Administration Official Set to Testify on Obamacare Rollout

CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner is sure to have a rough time before House Ways and Means on Tuesday.

©2013 Richard A. Bloom
Clara Ritger and Sophie Novack
Add to Briefcase
Clara Ritger Sophie Novack
Oct. 28, 2013, 1:13 p.m.

Cen­ters for Medi­care and Medi­caid Ser­vices Ad­min­is­trat­or Mar­ilyn Taven­ner will testi­fy be­fore the House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee on Tues­day to ad­dress the botched rol­lout of Health­

The hear­ing fol­lows a tense House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee hear­ing last week, when law­makers ques­tioned the web­site’s con­tract­ors on what went wrong and who may have known about the prob­lems ahead of the launch. The con­tract­ors main­tained that CMS was re­spons­ible for over­see­ing the health care ex­changes and was ul­ti­mately in charge of end-to-end test­ing and over­all func­tion­al­ity of the site.

CMS could ac­cept full blame for the troubled rol­lout. Dur­ing a press call Monday, CMS spokes­wo­man Ju­lie Ba­taille said the agency “takes full re­spons­ib­il­ity.” While the pres­sure is on Taven­ner, she could be cov­er­ing for sub­or­din­ates, The New York Times re­ports. At last week’s hear­ing, one con­tract­or named CMS of­fi­cial Henry Chao as their primary point of con­tact with the de­part­ment.

But at the be­gin­ning of Au­gust, Taven­ner said at a House En­ergy and Com­merce hear­ing that “CMS is ready for Oc­to­ber 1, and we are mo­tiv­ated and well pre­pared for the hard work ahead.” As late as the end of Septem­ber, Taven­ner was op­tim­ist­ic about a smooth launch of the Af­ford­able Care Act ex­changes.

The first few weeks since Oct. 1 have been any­thing but smooth. As the first ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial to testi­fy about the failed launch of the fed­er­al ex­change, and the warm-up for Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­ret­ary Kath­leen Se­beli­us, Taven­ner is likely to have a rough day Tues­day.

What We're Following See More »
Dem Senator Calls North Korea Briefing “Sobering”
10 hours ago
White House Proposes New Tax Plan
12 hours ago

The White House on Wednesday laid out its plan for tax reform, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying it would be "the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country." The tax code would be broken down into just three tax brackets, with the highest personal income tax rate cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. The plan would also slash the tax rate on corporations and small businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent. "The White House plan is a set of principles with few details, but it’s designed to be the starting point of a major push to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive tax reform package this year," said National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

Dems Proposes Obamacare-for-Defense Deal
1 days ago

"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."

Michael Flynn Remains A Russian-Sized Problem
1 days ago

The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.

Sally Yates to Testify on May 8
1 days ago

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.