WASHINGTON — Visit the website of Michigan-based design firm Teal Media today and you’d never know designers there helped create HealthCare.gov, the troubled online portal for Obamacare.
Just a few days ago, the site looked very different. Teal Media’s homepage featured its work on Obamacare prominently, placing a link to the firm’s work on one of the most well-known websites in America front and center. Now that link, as well as the page devoted to Teal’s work on HealthCare.gov, have been removed.
Teal Media doesn’t seem interested in talking about its work on HealthCare.gov. A woman who answered the phone at the company’s headquarters immediately referred BuzzFeed to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at the Department of Health And Human Services (HHS) before a single question was asked. CMS is listed as Teal’s client on the firm’s now-erased HealthCare.gov page.
When asked about the changed content on the Teal Media site, the woman said that was done ‘in consultation with HHS,” and again referred a reporter to CMS.
A CMS spokesperson declined to comment on the record.
Teal Media is led by a prominent former member of President Obama’s celebrated digital campaign team, Jessica Teal. She was Design Manager for Obama’s 2008 campaign, a job that, according to her LinkedIn profile, put her in charge of “the official campaign website and microsites, web/email-based fundraising campaigns, state and constituency literature, large-scale signage and event materials, and special projects.”
Teal’s firm lists many prominent clients in Democratic politics and the government, including the Democratic National Committee, EMILY’s List, the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. Teal Media’s role in the design of HealthCare.gov was heralded when the firm signed on. The Verge described the company as a “hip design house,” and reported that the design Teal and other consultants came up with was one of the few good things about the Obamacare portal.
“If the backend of Healthcare.gov reminded us that the government makes terrible websites, the front end actually proved the opposite,” Verge’s Adrianne Jefferies wrote.
An administration official praised Teal Media’s work on the site in June Atlantic article. The piece credited Teal with making “a difference in how Healthcare.gov looks and works on a mobile device today.”
The Atlantic article got a prominent link on the Teal Media HealthCare.gov page that has since been deleted.