Thursday, May 24, 2018
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In shake-up, overseer of flawed health website is retiring

Tony Trenkle, chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to retire Nov. 15

WASHINGTON — The chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, whose office supervised creation of the troubled federal website for health insurance, is retiring, the Obama administration said today.

The official, Tony Trenkle, will step down on Nov. 15 “to take a position in the private sector,” said an email message circulated among agency employees.

As the agency’s top information officer, Trenkle supervised the spending of $2 billion a year on information technology products and services, including development of, the website for the new health insurance marketplace.

Millions of consumers have been frustrated trying to shop for insurance on the site. The site is a central element of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, under which most Americans will be required to have insurance next year.

Trenkle, reached by telephone today, refused to discuss his plans.

“I can’t speak with you,” he said.

One of his deputies, Henry Chao, was the chief digital architect for the website and is leading efforts to repair it, along with several government contractors

Trenkle’s retirement is part of a management shakeup announced by Michelle Snyder, the chief operating officer of the Medicare agency, who was deeply involved in major decisions about the insurance marketplace, or exchange.

Snyder announced that Tim Love, a career civil servant, would become her deputy. Love has been working on Medicare policy and operations, as the No. 2 official at the Center for Medicare. For seven months in 2010, he was a senior policy director in the White House Office of Health Reform, where he led efforts to carry out many provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Members of Congress from both parties have expressed concern about technical bugs with the website and security problems that they say could compromise personal information provided by consumers.

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., said he had issued a subpoena to the Medicare agency to get information on the number of people who have enrolled in coverage through the health insurance marketplace.

The Obama administration has refused to provide such data, repeatedly requested by Congress. Marilyn B. Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said she would provide some enrollment data next week.

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