WH Rejects Request for Healthcare.gov Tech to Appear at Hearing

By:  Raven Clabough
11/11/2013
       
WH Rejects Request for Healthcare.gov Tech to Appear at Hearing

Suspicions are raised as the White House is refusing to make Healthcare.gov technician Todd Park available for questioning.

The House Oversight Committee requested that Park appear for a hearing next Wednesday, but the White House has issued a response indicating that Park is far too busy attending to the needs of the ObamaCare enrollment portal.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) requested Park’s presence to investigate “the operational challenges in the development of Healthcare.gov” and to determine whether IT best practices were followed.

In fact, the committee released a lengthy witness list for the hearing, including HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Technology Frank Baitman, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Deputy Chief Information Officer Henry Chao, U.S. Chief Information Officer Steve VanRoekel, and David Powner, director of IT management at the Government Accountability Office.

But the request for Park was rejected in a letter to Issa, dated November 6. “Mr. Park is open to testifying at a hearing before your committee and to providing an appropriate pre-hearing briefing for you and your staff,” Donna M. Pignatelli, assistant director for legislative affairs, wrote in a letter to the chairman.

“However, because Mr. Park is currently occupied full-time on the critically important work of improving the website for the millions of Americans seeking affordable health insurance options, his testimony needs to be scheduled at a time that is less disruptive to that work.”

Park is devoting “nearly all of his attention and expertise” to helping CMS, Pignatelli wrote. “Pulling him away from that work even for a short time at this stage would be highly disruptive and would risk slowing the progress that has been made thus far to fix identified issues with the website.”

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