Sebelius demands O-Care site probe

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has asked the department’s inspector general to investigate the development of HealthCare.gov. 

“I am asking the Inspector General [Dan Levinson] to review the acquisition process, overall program management, and contractor performance and payment issues related to the development and management of the HealthCare.gov website,” Sebelius wrote in a blog post Wednesday. 

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Sebelius said she also asked Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to create a position for a CMS chief risk officer. The person would work to mitigate risk in CMS programs.

In addition, HHS will update and expand training for employees on best practices for working with contractors on projects.

“The launch of HealthCare.gov was flawed and simply unacceptable,” Sebelius said.

While the federal portal is now “night and day” compared to what it was in October, she said HHS must take “concrete action” to prevent similar problems in the future.

“I believe strongly in the need for accountability, and in the importance of being good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Sebelius wrote. 

These announcements come a week and a half after HHS touted a repaired HealthCare.gov, which officials were working to fix by the end of November.

The site, Sebelius wrote, is now “working faster, it’s responding quicker, and we are able to handle larger volumes of concurrent users.”

Sebelius may be launching this review due to congressional pressure. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) spearheaded a letter, signed by 16 Democratic senators, that called on the HHS inspector general to investigate the federal portal in November.

This report was updated at 11:54 a.m.