Now actively engaged in throwing everything they have at the stubbornly persistent ObamaCare glitches and the optics thereof, the White House announced earlier today that they putting some of their absolutely best possible people directly on the job to assist with the [ill fated] “tech surge,” Bloomberg reports:
President Barack Obama has drafted his soon-to-be top economic adviser, Jeffrey Zients, to help fix the flawed online U.S. health insurance marketplace.
Zients, 46, now a health-care entrepreneur, was named in September to replace Gene Sperling as director of the National Economic Council starting in January. He is advising officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on a short-term basis, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said today. The move puts a long-time Obama adviser and management consultant at the center of efforts to fix the site as the White House grapples with the political fallout. …
In addition to Zients, the HHS has brought in experts and specialists from within the government, its contractors and the industry who have extensive experience with major information technology systems, Sebelius said in a blog post today. …
Zients has served as acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, and was the agency’s deputy director and its chief performance officer. …
After Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed the appointment and touted Zients as “an expert in the field of effective management” at the White House briefing, NPR’s Mara Liasson rather reasonably asked whether or not this means reporters are finally going to get more frequent updates on and more specific details about ObamaCare’s progress from someone like Zients with firsthand knowledge of the situation — kind of like the all-hands-on-deck approach we get with natural disasters or oil spills.
I’m not sure that Jay Carney appreciated the analogy. Via RCP:
MARA LIASSON: In the past, when you’ve had a natural disaster or an oil spill, generally there’s someone in charge, and I guess Jeff Zients is going to be that person. Is he going to be taking over a kind of briefing role where he answers questions or…?
JAY CARNEY: Well, I think he’s providing management advice and consultation, but for more details about his role, because he’s being brought on by HHS, I would refer you to HHS. I don’t think this is a manmade– I don’t think this is a natural disaster.
LIASSON: Yeah. I know that. But what I’m saying is, in terms of… One of the frustrations has been, you know, it’s hard to get information on what went wrong and what’s being done to fix it, and there hasn’t been a kind of daily update on that, from somebody who’s well-versed in the technical aspects of this. But you don’t anticipate…?
CARNEY: Beyond what I just confirmed and announced, I would refer you to those details about which, I would refer you to HHS. I’m sure they have other information about the efforts they’re making, but that’s the location of those efforts, and Jeff will be joining the existing team.
Well. That would be the honest and up-front thing to do, wouldn’t it? But I think we’ve already learned not to expect such transparent maneuvers from this administration.