Senior HHS official to brief Democratic lawmakers Wednesday on Obamacare

October 22, 2013
Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Jim Bourg/Reuters)
Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Mike Hash, who directs the Office of Health reform at the Department of Health and Human Services, will brief House Democrats Wednesday about implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The closed-door session, which will start at 8:50 a.m., marks the first time the administration will have briefed members of Congress on the online enrollment system since its troubled rollout on Oct. 1.

 

The briefing comes as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius published a blog post detailing some of the efforts the administration is undertaking to fix HealthCare.gov, including bringing on former Office of Management and Budget acting director Jeffrey Zients.

"We’ve also brought in additional experts and specialists drawn from within government, our contractors, and industry, including veterans of top Silicon Valley companies," Sebelius wrote. "These reinforcements include a handful of Presidential Innovation Fellows. This new infusion of talent will bring a powerful array of subject matter expertise and skills, including extensive experience scaling major IT systems. This effort is being marshaled as part of a cross-functional team that is working aggressively to diagnose parts of HealthCare.gov that are experiencing problems, learn from successful states, prioritize issues, and fix them."

Update: House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office is crying foul that House Republicans aren't included in the briefing. It is asking that the same briefing be provided to the GOP.

“Far too much information about Obamacare’s rollout is being concealed from the public," Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said. "All members – as well as the American people – deserve answers for this debacle. That’s why we have asked the administration to provide the same briefing to House Republicans. This snub is all the more offensive after Secretary Sebelius declined to testify at a House hearing this week. It’s time for the Obama administration to honor its promises of transparency and face some accountability."

Aaron Blake contributed to this post. Originally posted at 3:15 p.m.

Juliet Eilperin is a White House correspondent for The Washington Post, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.
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