HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (HHS photo)

When President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) into law, he and Congress gave the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) a convoluted set of statutes requiring it to set up a big, complicated health insurance enrollment website in a little more than three years.

When the site enrollment system opened to the public Oct. 1, it had problems getting users through the application process.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has given us permission to re-post a blog she has written to give her thoughts on how the department will tackle the problems.

Today, we are announcing key steps the department is taking as part of a tech surge to continue to improve the consumer experience on HealthCare.gov.

First, I am very pleased to announce we are bringing Jeff Zients — a management expert and former CEO and chairman of two publicly traded companies — on board to work in close cooperation with our HHS team to provide management advice and counsel to the project.

Jeff has led some of the country’s top management firms, providing private sector companies around the world with best practices in management, strategy and operations. He has a proven track record as acting director at the Office of Management and Budget and as the nation’s first chief performance officer.

Working alongside our team and using his rich expertise and management acumen, Jeff will provide short-term advice, assessments and recommendations.

We’ve also brought in additional experts and specialists drawn from within government, our contractors and industry, including veterans of top Silicon Valley companies.

These reinforcements include a handful of Presidential Innovation Fellows. This new infusion of talent will bring a powerful array of subject matter expertise and skills, including extensive experience scaling major IT systems. This effort is being marshaled as part of a cross-functional team that is working aggressively to diagnose parts of HealthCare.gov that are experiencing problems, learn from successful states, prioritize issues and fix them.

In addition to our efforts to ramp up capacity and expertise with the country’s leading innovators and problem solvers, we have secured additional staff and commitments from our contractors, including CGI, the lead firm responsible for the federally facilitated marketplace technology. They are providing and directing the additional resources needed for this project within the provisions of their existing contract.

We will continue to keep you updated on our progress on improving HealthCare.gov.

As we work to fix the site, we encourage Americans to continue to sign up for quality affordable coverage in four ways: by phone, online, by-mail and in person.

Millions of Americans are already benefitting from the law, through increased benefits like preventative care at no additional costs and drug discounts for seniors.

We believe the product of the law — affordable health insurance — is good, but we won’t stop until every American who wants it gains access to these new options for care.

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