Sebelius grilled over health care website by Congress

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October 30, 2013, 7:37 pm
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(NECN/NBC News: Steve Handelsman) - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in the hot seat Wednesday as Congress focused on problems with

Sebelius testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where she was quick to admit the rollout of Obamacare has been a debacle.

"I apologize. I'm accountable to you for fixing these problems," said Sebelius.

Problem one is her center for Medicare services which runs the website.

"Our CMS team felt we were ready to go. I told the President we were ready to go. Clearly, I was wrong," admitted Sebelius.

In August, contractor CGI warned the site was not ready.

"Well, I expected it to work and I desperately want to get it working," said the HHS Secretary.

Problem two, is millions of Americans now losing the coverage they have despite Sebelius' and President Obama's promise that consumers could keep their existing coverage.

But plans that don't cover what Obamacare demands are now banned.

Republicans claim both Sebelius and President Obama mislead the American public.

"That millions of individuals, who, by listening to speeches like your voted believing one thing, now find themselves without coverage and are now scrambling to find coverage," said republican Congressman Phil Gingrey of Georgia.

Bill Winkenwerder's company, Highmark, cancelled employee coverage in three states

"Approximately 40,000, and we did not like having to do that but we were compelled to do that because of the law," said the Highmark President and CEO.

Democrats said if you're dropped, you get Obamacare

"So this notion that people are being turned away is preposterous," said Democratic Congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland.

Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman of California reiterated the point.

"They'll be able to get another plan won't they?" asked Waxman.

"Actually it's the law that they get another plan," said Sebelius.

It's clear from Wednesday's hearing that Obamacare is under more fire than ever as the President heads to Boston to defend it.

Tags: barack Obama, congress, Kathleen Sebelius, Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, Steve Handelsman, health care enrollment, Health and Human Services
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