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Will Obama’s Chief Technology Officer Dish About Healthcare.gov?

Democrats protest Issa's subpoena, saying the tech chief's testimony would take him away from valuable site fix-it time.

by
Bill Straub

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November 12, 2013 - 2:14 pm
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WASHINGTON – The showdown between Congress and the White House over the foibles of the healthcare reform law – popularly known as Obamacare – is starting to grow testier.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, has issued a subpoena to compel Todd Park, President Obama’s chief technology officer, to appear before his panel on Wednesday to explain the troubled rollout of healthcare.gov, the website that plays an essential role in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Issa said he issued a subpoena after Park balked at testifying before the committee, explaining that he is heavily involved in correcting the problems that have plagued healthcare.gov since its launch. Donna Pignatelli informed Issa that 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.” Park expressed a willingness to meet with the committee informally at the end of November and then appear publicly before the panel in early December.

Issa responded by issuing the subpoena, asserting that Park’s statement is crucial to the committee’s understanding of what went wrong and what the Obama administration is doing to fix it.

“Millions of Americans have lost their health insurance and are rapidly approaching a point where they must begin to prepare for the possibility of having no health insurance,” Issa said in the subpoena letter demanding Park’s appearance. “They deserve your sworn testimony before their elected representatives about what went wrong.”

The subpoena comes on the heels of Issa’s claim that Park lied about the capabilities of healthcare.gov. Appearing on Fox News last week, the chairman said Park was “engaging in a pattern of interference and false statements.”

Park said on Oct. 6 – five days after the launch — that officials planned for healthcare.gov to draw approximately 60,000 simultaneous users. Issa said documents show the administration was actually targeting only 10,000 concurrent users and wound up handling about 1,100 before response time got too high.

“Park knew the facts — had to know the facts,” Issa said.

“This was a failure to launch that they knew about on Sept. 30 and went ahead anyway,” he told Fox News.

Issa also said Park made “a false statement” when he attributed the site’s problems to high consumer volume.

“Clearly the president had an opportunity with his lead contractors and his technology people to take the time out that Congress was asking them to take, to delay the launch at least until security and speed concerns and so on could be addressed — they didn’t do it,” he said.

Issa’s subpoena was not well received. Pignatelli dispatched a second letter asserting that compelling Park to testify at this time “is more likely to hurt rather than help the goal of fixing the website as soon as possible.”

“You explained that the committee feels it has a duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch, but conspicuously absent from your letter was any statement or justification that would explain the legislative need to compel Mr. Park to appear next week as opposed to a few weeks from now,” Pignatelli wrote.

Meanwhile, three Park supporters have started a website, Let Todd Work, urging Congress to permit Park to continue his work on healthcare.com uninterrupted.

“On the evening of November 8th, Todd Park was subpoenaed by Congressman Darrell Issa to testify in front of Congress about whether or not Healthcare.gov was prepared on launch day,” the site maintains. “Now, instead of continuing to fix Healthcare.gov (a mess he did not make), Mr. Park has to spend his hours preparing for his testimony.”

Park, the site said, “is a fantastic public servant, who cares about making government more effective and accountable, just like Mr. Issa. We hope that they can work together on solving the policies that enabled healthcare.gov to fail in the first place.”

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All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
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my classmate's step-mother makes $75 every hour on the computer. She has been out of work for six months but last month her income was $20469 just working on the computer for a few hours. look at this now.....
www. Jobs37.com
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
my co-worker's step-aunt makes $65/hr on the computer. She has been without a job for five months but last month her income was $18691 just working on the computer for a few hours. useful link........http://www.Bay95.com
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Park sounds just like the clueless suits in charge of my last five or ten projects. What is going on in the world?
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
If he's the chief tech officer, he has as much business writing code as the head of CIA has parachuting into North Korea. Someone who has that job has as his main duties hiring the right persons (who write the code) and doing policy work like testifying before Congress. Any project manager of mediocre talent would know that. I would say the claim is unbelievable, but these people have proven to be clueless enough that they might actually believe it.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's actually worse than that. This is like arguing that the Director of National Intelligence, the head of the office above the CIA, should be parachuting into North Korea. This guy isn't even the CIO or CTO of the Department of Health and Human Services which oversees CMS. Rather, he's the guy who oversees civilian departments like DHHS which then oversee their individual agencies.

He's more likely to be wasting the time of CMS and CGI employees in pointless meetings on a day to day basis than actually helping them given how much farther up the food chain he is than the government and contractor management actually executing on the requirements.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's not enough to have Cabinet officers found in contempt of Congress (although I suppose I might be found guilty of that as well) but now the Executive branch is openly defying it.

What next? I can see it now: Issa sends subpoena. Executive Branch refuses to appear and issues a statement to the effect of "whaddaya gonna do 'bout it?" American public yawns and tunes in to Miley Cyrus rubbing her posterior against some hapless guy. Sweet.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
this dog won't hunt.
no time? yeah, more lefty excuses. we grow weary. the Benghazi witnesses were what, to busy to testify or just forbidden from telling the truth? and he needed to claim executive privilege to stop Issa's investigation into fast & furious because ...? at some point covering for evil deeds becomes criminal, or it borders on insanity.

man accidentally shoots dog. community understands. man accidentally shoots another dog. community seeks answers. man shoots still another dog. community wants crazy s.o.b. locked up.

that's what sane people do. not just keep on making up crazy excuses, like he is too busy to testify. we all do that when needed. its called being a good citizen, as opposed to ...

the net is alive and posts against 0-care are entirely dominating the discussion. excuse makers are few and far between. this isn't going away.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
The demokkkrat party is a organized crime syndicate. Will he talk?
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
They are in real trouble if the tech chief is required to actually do the fixes, i.e. to re-design and to re-write computer codes.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama's palace guards can't testify because they are usually too busy spying on Americans, attacking them for political reasons, taking the fifth against self-incrimination, running guns to drug lords and leaking state secrets to their Popeil's Pocket propaganda press.

This particular problem is so monumental, that the figurehead flunky can't miss one day bothering to tell the American people the next of the Big Lies. After all, what....at this point ...does it matter?

It was a lie as "not a tax", it was a lie as a "keep yours if you like it", it was a lie that it was remotely ready and it will be a lie...whatever Park says. The truth hasn't even made a cameo appearance in this forced down your throat fraud.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
On any topic at all (doesn't matter what) Elijah Cummings serves as Obama's point man on the House Oversight Committee.

He works for Barack, not his constituency or the American people.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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