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 HealthCare.gov.
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 »
"Former veteran Senate Intelligence Committee staffer James Wolfe pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of making false statements to federal agents." Wolfe was indicted "earlier this year on three counts of making false statements to the FBI, which questioned him about his contacts with reporters ... According to the indictment, in October 2017 Wolfe gave a reporter ... information about an unidentified man who had been served with a subpoena to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The reporter published stories about the subpoena and the man's upcoming testimony in a closed committee hearing."
"The federal deficit widened last year amid higher government spending—including rising interest costs on the debt and increased funding for the military—and flat revenues following last year’s tax cut. The government ran a $779 billion deficit in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the Treasury Department said Monday. That is the largest annual deficit in six years and 17% higher than the $666 billion deficit in fiscal 2017. As a share of gross domestic product, the deficit totaled 3.9%, up from 3.5% a year earlier and the third consecutive increase."
"Saudi Arabia has given Turkey permission to search its Istanbul consulate Monday afternoon, a Turkish diplomatic source told CNN. Saudi officials first granted permission for the consulate to be searched last week, but later asked for a delay and no search has yet taken place. Turkish officials also want to search the nearby consul general's residence, and have repeatedly accused the Saudis of failing to cooperate with their investigation."