KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Sebelius Orders Probe Of Botched Website Rollout

As Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius headed to Capitol Hill to testify, she announced several steps to address the healthcare.gov issues, including asking the department's inspector general to review the management decisions behind the rollout and pledging to implement his recommendations. Meanwhile, the president's choice to lead the Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen, appears headed for confirmation.

The Associated Press: Sebelius Asks For Investigation Of Healthcare.gov
President Barack Obama's top health official is asking for an investigation into the administration's botched rollout of healthcare.gov. The website was supposed to have been the online portal to insurance coverage under the new health care law, but technical problems turned it into a frustrating bottleneck for millions of consumers. It's working better now after two months of repairs. … The announcement comes as Sebelius heads to Capitol Hill for another round of grilling Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Lawmakers want explanations for dozens of questions about the website's design, workability and security. They also want to know why Sebelius and other top officials repeatedly assured them everything was on track (Alonso-Zaldivar, 12/11).

Politico: Kathleen Sebelius Asks For Investigation Of Flawed Obamacare Website
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced several steps Wednesday to address the healthcare.gov disaster and pledged to improve accountability in an agency that spends billions every year on IT contracting. Sebelius, who testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee later this morning, asked HHS Inspector General Dan Levinson to do a review of the management decisions behind the Obamacare enrollment website, including how contractors perform and are paid. She pledged to act on his findings (Kenen, 12/11).

Politico: Kathleen Sebelius Back To The Hill For More Drubbings
Kathleen Sebelius isn't going anywhere -- but the White House isn't exactly pulling out all the stops to defend her work. That's the reality of Sebelius's uncomfortable status as she returns to the Hill on Wednesday to catch more arrows over Obamacare. The Health and Human Services secretary seems to have largely escaped the early GOP calls for her resignation over the website fiasco, and by most accounts she still has a good personal relationship with President Barack Obama (Nather, 12/11).

The Washington Post: IRS Nominee On Track For Approval Despite Acrimony
President Barack Obama's choice to head the Internal Revenue Service told senators Tuesday he will work to restore public trust in the agency in the wake of the tea party scandal even as the IRS takes on new responsibilities administering the president's health care law. At the same time, John Koskinen warned that budget cuts are threatening the agency's ability to collect revenue effectively and enforce the nation's tax laws (12/10).

CQ HealthBeat: Fix-It Man Praised As IRS Choice, But Confirmation Hearing Stalls
The nominee to lead the Internal Revenue Service appears to be heading for Senate confirmation, but seemingly unrelated political controversies will further delay John Koskinen from starting in the job. Koskinen, an affable veteran of management turnaround work both at Freddie Mac and in the private sector, spoke to the Senate Finance Committee on the importance of the IRS in implementing the 2010 health care law before his confirmation hearing was brought to an abrupt halt (Young, 12/10).

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