(Updates with website errors in third paragraph.)
Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary, asked the agency’s inspector general to investigate what went wrong with the Oct. 1 debut of the Obamacare exchanges.
“We need a thorough review of the contractor performance and program management structure that resulted in the flawed launch of the website,” Sebelius said in a blog post today. “I am asking the Inspector General 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.”
The site has been plagued by software errors and delays for two months, spurring criticism by foes of the 2010 health-care law and preventing many Americans from enrolling in new plans. Sebelius, scheduled to testify today before a House subcommittee, also announced the creation of a chief risk officer position within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that will review purchases and contracts related to information technology.
The federal health website covers 36 states while 14 states created their own online marketplaces for people to shop for insurance with the help of government subsidies. The exchanges are at the core of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 known as Obamacare that seeks to provide access to health coverage for many of the country’s estimated 48 million uninsured. The law requires most Americans to sign up for a health plan by March 31 or pay a fine of as much as 1 percent of income.
“We will take action to address the Inspector General’s findings,” Sebelius said today. She previously testified before the House on Oct. 30, when she apologized for the site’s flaws.
--With assistance from Alex Wayne in Washington and Alex Nussbaum in New York. Editors: Bruce Rule, Romaine Bostick