Verizon's Enterprise Solutions division was reportedly asked by Health and Human Services to improve the performance of Healthcare.gov, the online exchange where people in 34 states can purchase insurance, which has faced numerous technical glitches since its launch on October 1.
Health and Human Services, which did not respond to requests to confirm the move, had said Sunday it planned to bring on board the "best and brightest from both inside and outside the government to scrub in with the team and help improve Healthcare.gov."
Verizon already has contracts with the federal government, so it makes sense to turn to the telecommunications giant to fix what ails the federal exchange.
"They are people who already know the government process," said Aneesh Chopra, a former chief technology officer for the Obama administration and now a fellow at the Center for American Progress. "There isn't a tech expert with a Superman cape soaring in to fix this issue, nor is that what's needed."
In a Rose Garden speech at the White House Monday, President Barack Obama acknowledged the website's problems but emphasized the value of the law goes far beyond the technical glitches.
"We did not a wage long, contentious battle just around the website," Obama said. Still, he said, "there's no sugar-coating it. Nobody's more frustrated than I am. I want the cash registers to work and the checkout line to be smooth."
Even with the problems, Obama said, the demand is clearly there for the exchanges. He noted that 20 million people have visited the federal site since its launch three weeks ago.