However, the short window left before the next open enrollment period begins Nov. 15 may make it difficult for Counihan to have a big impact, Schuyler said. “Time is definitely the enemy here, and while Kevin is a great leader, there is still a lot of work to be done.” Schuyler believes that the next open enrollment period will still feature its share of bumps, but that the long-term future of the federal exchange is more assured.
Counihan's success in Connecticut was driven by more than technology. Gov. Dannel Malloy has also credited the state's efforts to build pop-up insurance stores as an important step to spreading the word about insurance in a May event. But It wasn't all successful. Malloy also has expressed disappointment about the number of small businesses that had signed up for the state's Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, exchange.
A lack of direct accountability in the Obama administration has been frequently cited as a factor in the disastrous development and launch of HealthCare.gov.
The management structure was diffuse and workers often reported to multiple managers, according to a report by the liberal Center for American Progress. The reports authors included two former White House advisers on healthcare reform, Neera Tanden and Ezekiel Emanuel.
They recommended that the administration install a permanent CEO to oversee the federal and state marketplaces, as well as insurance regulation.
A July 2014 GAO report similarly found weak oversight and management of the marketplace. During a House hearing on the report, a GAO official called on the CMS to better manage its contractors, noting that CMS employees changed contract requirements on 40 occasions without the authority to do so.
“They have the tools in place,” William Woods, the agency's director of acquisitions and sourcing management, testified, of the oversight. “They just didn't use them.”
Follow Darius Tahir on Twitter: @dariustahir