The Health Law’s #Transparency Problems Continue

August 18, 2014

House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders on Friday sent a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner regarding documents uncovered in the committee’s investigation of the health law’s implementation. One document is an email exchange between CMS, Health and Human Services, and White House officials just days after the failed launch of HealthCare.gov that Tavenner forwarded to her top spokeswoman with instructions for her to delete the email. This document was provided to the committee just one day after CMS revealed that some of Tavenner’s emails may not have been preserved.

Fox News Special Report

August 15, 2014

 

August 15, 2014

Obamacare’s Memory Hole? ‘Please Delete This Email.’

Congressional Republicans investigating last fall's botched launch of HealthCare.gov revealed Friday that a top Obamacare official had asked her spokeswoman to delete an email from a senior White House advisor that discussed problems with customer service calls about that website.

Those Republicans now want Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to explain that deletion request, and to reveal if she has asked staff to "delete or otherwise destroy emails, communications or any other documents relating to HealthCare.gov." The Republicans said the Obama administration has a "pattern" of being unable to preserve records.

Tavenner's email asking the subordinate to delete an email was turned over to the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week, just a day after her staff told the committee that some copies of her email communications might have been lost.

"Please delete this email," Tavenner wrote to then-CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille on Oct. 5, 2013.

Tavenner was referring to an email sent to her and other Obama administration officials hours earlier on that same day, a Saturday, from Jeanne Lambrew, President Obama's health policy advisor. Lambrew's initial email was in the thread directly below Tavenner's brief note to Bataille. …

Read the article online HERE.

August 15, 2014

HHS HealthCare.gov Official: “Delete This Email”

An email obtained by Congress shows the top official for Healthcare.gov at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the Department of Health and Human Services, Marilyn Tavenner, instructed the agency’s top spokesman to “Please delete this email.”

The instruction appears significant for several reasons: First, the email to be deleted included an exchange between key White House officials and CMS officials. Second, the email was dated October 5, 2013, five days into the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov. Third, federal law requires federal officials to retain copies of –not delete– email exchanges. And fourth, the document to be deleted is covered under Congressional subpoena as well as longstanding Freedom of Information requests made by members of the media (including me). …

Read the article online HERE.

August 15, 2014

Tavenner to Subordinate: ‘Please Delete’ HealthCare.gov E-mails with White House

During the first week of HealthCare.gov’s troubled launch, Marilyn Tavenner, the chief of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told an agency spokesperson to delete an e-mail exchange with the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services, according to new records released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

This development comes just a week after CMS’s admission that Tavenner had probably deleted e-mails that may be public record — “in order to stay below the agency’s Microsoft Outlook email size limit,” wrote MSNBC, which broke the story on August 7.  

But today’s letter from the House committee to Tavenner says: “One of the e-mails in this production shows that you directed a subordinate to delete an e-mail communication featuring a number of White House representatives. This e-mail is an October 5, 2013, communication in which you forwarded a discussion with White House representatives to the Director of Communications for CMS with the message: ‘Please delete this email- but please see if we can work on call script.’”

The committee concludes: “This contradicts the letter [CMS recently] sent to the National Archives, which explained that your practice was to instruct subordinates to retain copies of e-mails.” …

Read the article online HERE.

August 15, 2014

Obamacare Chief Ordered Official to Delete HealthCare.gov Emails

Obamacare head Marilyn Tavenner told a top press official to delete an e-mail related to HealthCare.gov during the botched launch, according to documents released Friday.

House Republicans are seeking emails from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials to discover exactly how Obamacare and HealthCare.gov’s rollout went so wrong. But it turns out that last October, Tavenner directly told CMS’s communications director, Julie Bataille, to delete an email chain with White House officials about HealthCare.gov and contractor Serco. …

Read the article online HERE.

August 15, 2014

Republicans Question HHS Official’s Instruction to ‘Delete’ Internal Obamacare Email

A key official overseeing the ObamaCare launch last fall asked a subordinate to “delete” an email exchange on the matter, according to newly released records, fueling Republican concerns that the administration may be hiding internal discussions from Congress.

“Time and again, the self-proclaimed 'most transparent administration' has been anything but,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said in a statement. “And now we know that when HealthCare.gov was crashing, those in charge were hitting the delete button behind the scenes.”

Upton and other GOP committee leaders on Friday released an email exchange from Oct. 5, 2013, shortly after HealthCare.gov launched to widespread problems. It showed Marilyn Tavenner, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, telling an employee in the public affairs office to “please delete this email.” …

Read the article online HERE.

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