President Barack Obama's longtime economic adviser, Jeffrey Zients, is being brought in to work on issues with the health care website.
That's according to a senior administration official, who wasn't authorized to discuss the decision by name and demanded anonymity.
Widespread problems have plagued the website since its rollout Oct. 1.
Obama has already pledged a "tech surge" to fix it. Zients is a long-time management consultant who joined the White House in 2009 as chief performance officer, heading an effort to streamline government and cut costs. Obama later chose him twice as acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Zeints has already been named to take over as Obama's chief economic adviser next year.
Crammed into conference rooms with pizza for dinner, some programmers building the Obama administration's showcase health insurance website were growing increasingly stressed. Some worked past 10 p.m.,energy drinks in hand. Others rewrote computer code over and over to meet what they considered last-minute requests for changes from the government or other contractors.
As questions mount over the website's failure, insider interviews and a review of technical specifications by The Associated Press found a mind-numbingly complex system put together by harried programmers who pushed out a final product that congressional investigators said was tested by the government and not private developers with more expertise.
Project developers who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they feared they would otherwise be fired — said they raised doubts among themselves whether the website could be ready in time. They complained openly to each other about what they considered tight and unrealistic deadlines. One was nearly brought to tears over the stress of finishing on time, one developer said. Website builders saw red flags for months.
A review of internal architectural diagrams obtained by the AP revealed the system's complexity. Insurance applicants have a host of personal information verified, including income and immigration status. The system connects to other federal computer networks, including one sat the Social Security Administration, IRS, Veterans Administration, Office of Personnel Management and the Peace Corps.