Kristie Canegallo is now the top White House staffer charged with overseeing implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Canegallo was appointed Friday by President Barack Obama to serve as deputy chief of staff for implementation.
Canegallo already had been a key White House aide on healthcare matters, but garnered little public notice. Chris Jennings, who served as a senior healthcare adviser in the administration before stepping down in December, said that Canegallo was “critically important” in analyzing and fixing the problems with HealthCare.gov
following the website's disastrous rollout last October. “People respect her greatly,” Jennings said. “Her analytical, political and process skills will be particularly appreciated.”
Canegallo's appointment comes as Phil Schiliro is leaving the administration. Schiliro rejoined the Obama administration in December to help with ACA implementation, but that was always expected to be a short-term posting
. Schiliro had previously served as the administration's legislative affairs director.
Canegallo's appointment, first reported
by the Washington Post, comes as the administration continues to struggle with technological problems associated with implementation of the federal healthcare law. Most notably, critical back-end functions are still not operational and there are concerns about errors
in calculating subsidies for the 8 million individuals who signed up for coverage during the initial open-enrollment period.
Implementation of the ACA will not be the sole item in Canegallo's portfolio. She also will be tasked with scrutinizing how the federal government procures technology, monitoring the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan and integrating technology into school classrooms.
Canegallo, 34, previously served as an adviser to Dennis McDonough, Obama's chief of staff, and on the National Security Council. She came to the White House from the Pentagon, where her tenure included posts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Follow Paul Demko on Twitter: @MHpdemko