Letter to Sebelius: Take Control of the Message

Margaret Dick Tocknell, November 20, 2013

Amidst the healthcare.gov debacle, let's not lose sight of what is really important—access to affordable health insurance. Please start doing a better job of controlling your agency's message about the public's access to health insurance.


Kathleen Sebelius


Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of HHS

Dear Secretary Sebelius:

To paraphrase Shakespeare, if ever there was a season of discontent in our nation, this is it. Almost everyone is angry, and rightly so, about the kick-off of healthcare.gov. It is one big mess and it seems as if every day brings another startling revelation.

On Monday we learned that there were signs of problems on healthcare.gov way back in April. That's when McKinsey & Company sat down with officials from the White House, along with you and CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner to discuss its report—written at the behest of the White House—about the potential shortcomings with the website. Many of which, as we all know, sadly came to fruition.

On Tuesday we were informed that now, seven weeks post-launch, technical development of the health insurance marketplace's website is still 30% – 40% incomplete.

Earlier this month we found out that amid low enrollment numbers and the defection of Tony Trenkle, chief information officer and director of the office of Information Services, the White House is "increasing its reliance on insurers" by accepting their technical help in efforts to repair" the site.

Margaret Dick Tocknell Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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