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Obama’s Trauma Team
TIME

Last Oct. 17 — more than two weeks after the launch of HealthCare.gov — White House chief of staff Denis McDonough came back from Baltimore rattled by what he had learned at the headquarters of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency in charge of the website.

McDonough and the President had convened almost daily meetings since the Oct. 1 launch of the website with those in charge — including Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner and White House health-reform policy director Jeanne Lambrew. But they couldn’t seem to get what McDonough calls “actionable intel” about how and why the website was failing in front of a national audience of stunned supporters, delirious Republican opponents and ravenous reporters.

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