Tags: hhs | obamacare | probe

Health Agency Expands Staff as Lawmakers Probe Obamacare

Friday, 22 Nov 2013 08:57 PM

The Department of Health and Human Services is expanding its legal and communications teams as it faces lawmakers investigating the flawed rollout of the government-run insurance exchanges in the Affordable Care Act.

Jennifer O’Connor, who left private practice for the Internal Revenue Service in May to help the agency navigate the fallout from its scrutiny of Tea Party groups seeking tax exemptions, has joined the department on a short-term basis, according to a statement from HHS provided to Bloomberg News.

O’Connor was previously a partner at WilmerHale in Washington and will work on a “wide variety of legal and legislative issues,” the statement said. She will be joined by Jennifer Friedman, a veteran communicator who served in senior roles at the Commerce and Treasury departments in the Obama administration, according to the statement.

HHS is under pressure from lawmakers and the public over failures at the government website designed as a portal for consumers looking to enroll in the insurance exchanges. President Barack Obama assigned Jeffrey Zients, an economic adviser, to lead the effort to fix the website and pledged that it would be running smoothly by the end of this month.

Republicans on at least three House committees, including the House Oversight and Government Reform panel, have opened investigations into different aspects of the rollout of the health-care exchanges.

O’Connor is a veteran of previous Washington battles. While at the IRS, she served as a counselor to Acting Director Danny Werfel, as well as William Wilkins, the agency’s chief counsel. She was assigned to work on the agency’s review of its activities, the IRS said in a June statement.

Before moving into private practice, O’Connor served in President Bill Clinton’s administration, working as part of a team of aides assembled to counter congressional investigations into the administration’s activities.

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The Department of Health and Human Services is expanding its legal and communications teams as it faces lawmakers investigating the flawed rollout of the government-run insurance exchanges in the Affordable Care Act.
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2013-57-22
Friday, 22 Nov 2013 08:57 PM
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