(NBC NEWS) -- Jeff Zients, who's been named President Barack Obama's next top
economic adviser, will help clean up the jammed health insurance
marketplaces, the administration said Tuesday.
deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, won't start his
job as director of the National Economic Council until the end of the
year, when Gene Sperling steps down. So he has a few months free to try
and tidy up the logjammed health insurance exchanges.
led some of the country's top management firms, providing private sector
companies around the world with best practices in management, strategy
and operations," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a blog post.
has a proven track record as Acting Director at the Office of
Management and Budget and as the nation's first Chief Performance
Officer. Working alongside our team and using his rich expertise and
management acumen, Jeff will provide short-term advice, assessments and
Obama admitted Monday that the exchanges need fixing, and even said he was angry about it.
Technical experts say it's more than just demand - they say the glitches must have been caused by mistakes in the software programs that run the exchanges, which are meant to eventually help 7 million Americans buy health insurance in 2014.
didn't name the other experts being brought in to help but she says
they come from within government and also include outside contractors
and Silicon Valley veterans.
"This new infusion of talent will
bring a powerful array of subject matter expertise and skills,
including extensive experience scaling major IT systems," she wrote.
effort is being marshaled as part of a cross-functional team that is
working aggressively to diagnose parts of HealthCare.gov that are
experiencing problems, learn from successful states, prioritize issues, and fix them. "
a Canadian-based contractor that has taken a lot of heat for the
problems also will weigh in, Sebelius said. "In addition to our efforts
to ramp up capacity and expertise with the country's leading innovators
and problem solvers, we have secured additional staff and commitments
from our contractors, including CGI, the lead firm responsible for the
federally facilitated marketplace technology," she wrote.
are providing and directing the additional resources needed for this
project within the provisions of their existing contract. "
meantime, people can try other methods besides the balky website,
Sebelius and Obama both advise. "As we work to fix the site, we
encourage Americans to continue to sign up for quality affordable
coverage in four ways: by phone, online, by-mail and in person,"
People have until Dec. 15 to sign up for health
insurance coverage that would start Jan. 1, and they have until March 31
to find coverage for some time in 2014. People who already have health
insurance, either through a private insurer, Medicare or Medicaid, don't
need to worry about buying a policy on the exchanges.
Maggie Fox, NBC News