CIO Briefing

Sebelius: Blame Contractors For Obamacare Site

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius // Ross D. Franklin/AP File Photo

A week after the contractors who built HealthCare.gov blamed the Obama administration for the site's failures, the administration is shifting the blame right back.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will tell a House committee tomorrow the site's botched rollout was the result of contractors failing to live up to expectations – not bad management at HHS, as the contractors suggested.

"CMS has a track record of successfully overseeing the many contractors our programs depend on to function. Unfortunately, a subset of those contracts for HealthCare.gov have not met expectations," Sebelius said in prepared testimony for tomorrow's hearing before the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The site's contractors have blamed HealthCare.gov's problems on CMS – the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which handled the Obamacare implementation effort within HHS. Testifying before the same committee last week, contractors faulted CMS for design changes that made the site harder to use.

They have also criticized the agency for integrating contractors' work itself, rather than designating one contractor to take the lead.

Sebelius' prepared testimony concedes that the HealthCare.gov launch was troubled, but does not place any blame for its problems on HHS. The site launched with massive technical problems that are still preventing users from shopping for or enrolling in health insurance.

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