High-level ObamaCare official steps down

A top Obama administration officials working for the agency charged with implementing the healthcare law is retiring, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Monday.

Michelle Snyder, the CMS’s Chief Operating Officer, will step down, according to an email sent by Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

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Tavenner said Snyder had planned to retire at the end of 2012 but stuck around at her request to help with the ObamaCare rollout.

Earlier this year, Snyder was singled out by contractors in testimony before a congressional panel as one of the central figures responsible for moving ahead with the Oct. 1 HealthCare.gov launch despite clear signs that the system hadn’t been adequately tested.

HHS and CMS officials later disputed that notion, saying that the contractors were to blame for the website problems.

House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) took another swing at Snyder on her way out, saying she ignored warnings about the website in the run-up to the launch.

"Documents and interviews indicate Michelle Snyder's involvement in bypassing the recommendation of CMS' top security expert who recommended delaying the launch of HealthCare.gov after independent testers raised concern about serious vulnerabilities from a lack of adequate security testing,” he said in a statement. “Americans seeking health insurance are left to shoulder the risk of a website that's still an all-around work in progress because of the cult-like commitment officials had to the arbitrary goal of launching on October 1."

Dozens of Republican lawmakers, and even some Democrats, have called on the Obama administration to clean house at the Health and Human Services agency over the botched insurance portal launch.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been the most frequent target of criticism, but, to date, Snyder is the second top official to step down, and nobody has been fired.

In November, Tony Trenkle, who served as the chief information officer for the CMS, announced he was leaving the agency for the private sector.

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