JW Probe: Despite Failures, Obamacare Officials Got Big Bonuses
AUGUST 14, 2014
Government officials in charge of Obamacare’s tumultuous implementation and disastrous health exchange website quietly received tens of thousands of dollars in performance bonuses and other taxpayer-funded perks, according to records obtained by Judicial Watch.
Some of the generously compensated officials have left their lucrative federal government jobs for the private sector but others remain on Uncle Sam’s payroll, a JW analysis of the records has found. Incredibly, all of them played a significant role in the healthcare law’s failures yet they were handsomely rewarded with large sums of cash and generous amounts of paid time off on the public’s dime.
For instance, Anthony Trenkle, Chief Information Officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the bloated agency responsible for all things Obamacare, received four performance bonuses totaling $69,000 before resigning over the healthcare website (healthcare.gov) debacle. Not only did Trenkle fail to keep the online marketplaces up and running like he was supposed to, he also failed to implement security measures to protect consumers’ information from hackers. A Washington D.C. newspaper story reporting Trenkle’s November 2013 resignation cites a federal audit that blasts him for not sufficiently testing security measures before the website was launched, leaving people trying to enroll in new health plans vulnerable.
Another CMS official heavily involved in Obamacare, Jennifer Boulanger, received four performance awards totaling $44,476, the records show. Boulanger is the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Administrator of CMS, but she was previously the Acting Director of the CMS Office of Legislation and the Deputy Director of that same influential Medicare and Medicaid office before that. Boulanger was considered a key lobbyist for the president’s unpopular healthcare law, which is officially known as the Affordable Care Act.
Four other Obamacare minions each received north of $33,000 in performance bonuses for their failures, including one-time CMS Chief Information Officer turned Deputy Director of Operations Julie Boughn (three awards worth $37,288); Deputy Director of the CMS Center for Consumer Information Tim Hill (four awards totaling $36,694); Deputy Director of Information Services Terris King (three awards totaling $33,245) and Henry Chao (three bonuses for $33,833), the failed website’s project manager. Boughn left the agency to start a consulting firm and it appears that the others are still employed by the government.
The Obamacare official who received the smallest cash bonuses, former CMS Operating Officer and Acting Administrator Charlene Frizzera, got them shortly before departing the agency, according to the records obtained by JW. The awards came in two parts, one check for $10,000 and the other for $14,376 two months later. Frizzera also received two 40-hour “time off” awards shortly after giving notice that she was leaving the agency. Now she is a senior adviser at Leavitt Partners, a “health care intelligence business” that won its first-ever government contract just a few months ago.
JW has been a leader in reporting and investigating the scandals surrounding Obamacare and has legally challenged the government overreach in federal court. JW’s case, on behalf of a south Florida orthodontist, is currently awaiting a ruling by a three-judge federal appellate panel. Just this week, JW filed another lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) seeking production of agency records concerning healthcare.gov. Back in 2011 JW obtained documents from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) outlining a scandalous, $200 million Obamacare multi-media propaganda campaign. The probes continue.
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