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Hearings on the Hill focus on women leaders of Healthcare.gov development

Henry-Chao

Henry Chao, shown, was Healthcare.gov's inhouse development coordinator for one of the most complex system development projects the government has ever undertaken. Was that a good idea?

Ever hear of Marilyn Tavenner? Probably not. She heads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the federal agency responsible for Healthcare.gov. But while she will face House Republicans today at a hearing on Capitol Hill to further investigate the website's failures, it's unlikely she was responsible for them, reports the New York Times.

A nurse by training and administrator by experience Tavenner works in the shadow of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the real star of today's hearing, whose resignation many House Republicans are calling for. 

Reportedly, Tavenner wasn't in the loop on some of Healthcare.gov's critical decisions, like delaying the employer mandate requiring companies with over 50 employees to provide health insurance or pay a penalty. Tavenner didn't make the technical decisions, either, which fell under CMS's technology head Henry Chao. 

The fact that Tavenner wasn't on top of these things isn't surprising, since ordinarily, her job is about managing two giant federal social programs, Medicare and Medicaid. But it does signal CMS 's failure to recognize that the Healthcare.gov project was so far outsideits ordinary scope that it required more professional management.

Why the DIY? Among the questions on Capitol Hill today, hopefully someone will ask about that. Read the story.

 

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