Henry Chao

Strategic Advisor

Henry Chao is the former deputy CIO and deputy director of the Office of Information Services in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and currently is a solutions architect and strategic advisor for clients in the IT and health care sectors. Before becoming an expert on implementing health care programs, Henry served in the Navy for ten years, received his bachelor’s degree in economics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and then worked as a health insurance specialist at the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), which later became CMS. During his 21 year tenure at CMS, Henry progressively took on leadership roles in planning and executing legislative initiatives to transform health care, and lead efforts to leverage modern agile approaches in establishing secure, cloud-based IT infrastructure to support CMS programs including the Insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Success or Failure?

Publication Date: September 2018

While most people refer to HealthCare.gov as “just a website,” few knew what it took to launch and what went into creating it. So much oversimplification went into a public discussion of the technological aspects of the launch, which perpetuated the notion that technology is at the root of how government can’t efficiently get things done. Success or Failure? The Untold Story of HealthCare.gov provides a firsthand account of what it takes to deliver something as complex as HealthCare.gov from contributing factors other than technology, such as policy formulation, government rule-making, groundbreaking security and privacy policy implementation across multiple agencies, and much more. Henry Chao seeks to unravel the key elements that affected the implementation of a time-bounded, precedent-setting set of public policy objectives–the Insurance Marketplace program under the Affordable Care Act. This book will shed light on:

  • the scale and complexity involved in creating the HealthCare.gov infrastructure
  • nontechnical factors that led to the controversial rollout
  • how October 1, 2013 was the starting line, not the finish line
  • the various narratives that did not truthfully explain what really happened.

Reaching the October 1, 2013 deadline was nothing short of remarkable, due to the dedication and commitment of so many people from various professional disciplines across the public and private sectors. Now, Henry Chao reflects on the launch of HealthCare.gov and what it takes to implement great change in the health care system.

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