News

Obama tech chief to testify about healthcare website

Obama tech chief to testify about healthcare website

HEALTHCARE HEADACHES: Experts are still working to fix the Obamacare site. Photo: Associated Press

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top White House technology adviser will testify at a congressional hearing on Wednesday about the troubled launch of the website at the heart of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform despite the administration’s assertions that he was too busy.

The White House confirmed late on Tuesday that Todd Park, its chief technology officer, would comply with a subpoena to testify at a hearing of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives Oversight Committee.

The White House had asked to delay the hearing until December, saying that Park was too busy helping to fix the HealthCare.gov website, which Obama has vowed will be working smoothly for most people by the end of the month.

Technical problems with the website since its October 1 rollout have prevented many Americans from enrolling in the health exchanges set up under the 2010 healthcare law, also known as Obamacare.

“The partisan subpoena issued by House Republicans on Friday was an unfortunate and unnecessary step since we made clear several times that Todd Park is willing to testify,” said Rick Weiss, a spokesman for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

“It wasn’t a question of if, it was a question of when,” Weiss said.

Park was a successful healthcare IT developer before he joined the Obama administration, steering Athenahealth through a blockbuster IPO, and helping start another company, Castlight, which provides data on healthcare costs.

A sought-after speaker at IT conferences, Park is popular within the technology community. More than 1,200 allies signed a petition at lettoddwork.org calling on Darrell Issa, the Republican committee chairman, to postpone Park’s testimony.

“No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, Todd is one of the good guys. Let him do his job,” the petition said.

Park, 40, helped build the original HealthCare.gov website in 2010 when he was chief technology officer at the Department of Health and Human Services. At the time, the website provided information about public and private insurance programs, sorted by zip code.

Also slated to testify are Steven VanRoekel, the chief information officer at the White House budget office, Henry Chao, the deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Frank Baitman, chief information officer for HHS.

Latest Headlines

2 hours ago in Sports, Trending, Viral Videos

WATCH: Super Bowl 50 commercials

Fresh
14-overlay-1

A 30-second commercial spot on Super Sunday can cost up to $5 million. Which Super Sunday ad was your favorite?

3 hours ago in Local

Two South Portland Condo Units Damaged in Fire

FIRE1

Two South Portland condominium units were damaged by fire early Sunday morning.

17 hours ago in Local

Two People Suffer Burns in Oakland Mobile Home Fire

GENERIC FIRE LARGE

Two residents suffered burns in Oakland mobile home fire after an early-morning fire Saturday destroyed their mobile home on Webb Road in Oakland and left a dog and five cats unaccounted for.

2 days ago in Local

Police are Looking for Man Who Fled After High-Speed Chase

black1

Police are looking for a man who fled on foot after his car crashed in Manchester after a high-speed police chase.

2 days ago in Local

More Than 84,000 Mainers Sign Up for Health Coverage

GENERIC HEALTHCARE LARGE

The U.S. Department of health and Human Services says more than 84,000 Mainers signed up for health insurance for this year under the Affordable Care Act.

Tweets

  • 2h
  • 6h
  • 13h
  • 16h
  • 17h
  • 34h
  • 35h