Under the Dome

Sebelius announces investigation into launch of new health care law

The federal government will investigate the flawed launch of the online shopping site for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced on Wednesday, saying action must be taken to prevent the same problems in the future.

Sen. Kay Hagan called for the investigation into the contracting process for the website in a Nov. 15 letter to HHS signed by 15 other Democratic senators.

Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, said on Wednesday that she was pleased that the investigation was going forward. She added: “There is no excuse for not having the website ready from day one, and we must learn whatever lessons we can to ensure we never again have an issue like the initial failures of healthcare.gov. I will continue to monitor the progress of this investigation to ensure it is completed in a timely and transparent manner."

Sebelius said there would be three parts to the investigation:

• Health and Human Services Inspector General Dan Levinson will review the development of the website.

• A new full time risk officer will be appointed to work to improve management practices at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, starting with IT contracting.

• And CMS employee training will be improved for managing projects that involve contractors.

Repairs to healthcare.gov took hundreds of federal and private sector IT experts.

On Wednesday, new figures showed users of the website more than quadrupled in November. States with their own health exchanges such as California and New York had the largest numbers, with California leading all states with slightly more than 100,000 people enrolled. Of the states without their own exchanges, Texas led the way with 14,038 enrolled. in North Carolina, 8,970 people were signed up as of Nov. 30, up from about 1,000 in October.