Former Microsoft executive to lead effort to fix Obamacare website

WASHINGTON — A former executive at software giant Microsoft is assuming oversight of the Obama administration’s efforts to repair the troubled HealthCare.gov website, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday.

Kurt DelBene, who most recently served as president of the Microsoft Office Division, will take over from Jeffrey Zeints, a management expert whom the president asked to rescue the site after its disastrous rollout on Oct. 1.

DelBene also is the husband of U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, a first-term Democrat from Washington state.

Zeints is widely credited with helping to make the site functional, allowing tens of thousands of Americans to select a health insurance plan on marketplaces created by the president’s 2010 health law.

Over the last 2-1/2 months, federal officials and private contractors have dramatically cut errors and improved performance on the site, but insurance companies and others say there are lingering problems with the enrollment system.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a blog post Tuesday that DelBene will begin work Wednesday and has agreed to serve at least through the first half of next year.

“First, Kurt will provide management expertise, operations oversight, and critical advice on additional enrollment channels, field operations, marketing and communications,” Sebelius wrote.

“Second, Kurt will execute the plan in place, so that we can ensure the site’s performance is strong through the close of open enrollment on March 31, 2014. This will include a focus on increasing system stability, redundancy and capacity, and building on improvements to the user interface, while continuing to prioritize security and privacy issues in line with industry best practices.”

The Department of Health and Human Services would not say how much DelBene will be paid. But an administration official said he would effectively do the work pro-bono as he intends to return his salary to the government.

—-

&Copy;2013 Tribune Co.

Visit Tribune Co. at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

More in Local News

Residents are helping turn Casino Road in a new direction

An initiative backed by a $700,000 grant goes to the community for solutions to the area’s challenges.

It’s hard to find a parking spot at Wallace Falls State Park

There’s a study under way on how to tackle that issue and others.

At long last, a church of his own

After years of filling in elsewhere, Hallack Greider is the new pastor at Maplewood Presbyterian.

Judge: Lawmakers’ emails, texts subject to public disclosure

News organizations had sued to challenge the Legislature’s claim that members were exempt.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Number of flu-related deaths in county continues to grow

Statewide, 86 people have died from the flu, most of whom were 65 or older.

2 names released from recent fatal crashes

Both men were killed earlier this month.

Man fatally shot in confrontation with deputies under US 2

No word yet on what led to the incident under the trestle east of Everett.

With an immigrant’s help, kids reach out to Filipino children

Marysville students drew and sent portraits. Thanks to a video, they got to see the reaction.

Most Read