- The Washington Times - Monday, December 30, 2013

An Obama administration official who supervised the balky rollout of the health care law is retiring, the nation’s Medicare agency said Monday.

Michelle Snyder served as chief operating officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and oversaw the development and debut of HealthCare.gov, the federal Obamacare website that suffered from rampant glitches in October and November before its turnaround by early December.

“I regret to announce that, after 41 years of outstanding public service, CMS Chief Operating Officer Michelle Snyder is retiring at the end of 2013,” CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said. “While we celebrate her distinguished career, we are also sadly saying farewell to a good friend and a key member of the agency’s leadership team.”

Ms. Tavenner said Ms. Snyder was ready to retire at the end of 2012, but she stayed on to help her with “the challenges facing CMS in 2013.”

Ms. Snyder’s deputy, Tim Love, will serve as acting chief operating officer.

Ms. Snyder is the second top CMS official to depart since the disastrous debut of Obamacare’s insurance markets on Oct. 1. The agency’s chief information officer, Tony Trenkle, left in November for a job in the private sector.

Before Congress in November, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius named Ms. Snyder as a key person responsible for the HealthCare.gov project.

But, she added, “Hold me accountable for the debacle.”

Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, offered a few parting shots for Ms. Snyder, saying she gave the troubled Obamacare website the green light despite red flags about its security.

“Documents and interviews indicate Michelle Snyder’s involvement in bypassing the recommendation of CMS‘ top security expert who recommended delaying the launch of HealthCare.gov after independent testers raised concern about serious vulnerabilities from a lack of adequate security testing,” he said. “Americans seeking health insurance are left to shoulder the risk of a website that’s still an all-around work in progress because of the cult-like commitment officials had to the arbitrary goal of launching on Oct. 1.”

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