Administration Had Rebuffed Invitation to Testify – Leaders Are Pressing Sebelius to Appear
Now 18 days into the health law’s open enrollment period, the news seems to keep on getting worse. Although the administration and the companies involved with implementation repeatedly assured the committee that everything was “on track” for October 1, the first two and a half weeks of open enrollment have been defined by significant “glitches” that have prevented Americans from being able to even use the system. The Government Accountability Office’s warnings in June that the health law’s implementation was behind schedule are proving all too accurate.
Today, the Washington Examiner reports the “troubled Obamacare website wasn’t even tested until a week before launch.” The news is no better in The Wall Street Journal: “Insurers say the federal health-care marketplace is generating flawed data that is straining their ability to handle even the trickle of enrollees who have gotten through so far, in a sign that technological problems extend further than the website traffic and software issues already identified. Emerging errors include duplicate enrollments, spouses reported as children, missing data fields and suspect eligibility determinations…”
In an effort to get answers, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has scheduled a full committee hearing next Thursday – PPACA Implementation Failures: Didn’t Know or Didn’t Disclose? Thus far, the administration has rejected the committee’s invitation to participate and publicly answer questions. Committee leaders are pressing HHS Secretary Sebelius to testify next Thursday. Chairman Upton remarked, “Secretary Sebelius had time for Jon Stewart, and we expect her to have time for Congress.”
The committee is committed to learning what went wrong. As Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) told Reuters, “It’s not just a bumpy rollout. We’re crossing a bridge with a warning sign that says: BRIDGE OUT. We’ll be trying to get people from the administration to tell us whether they were pretending everything was OK or was there an internal cover-up or did they just not know?”
As the news continues to get worse, it’s time for Secretary Sebelius to provide answers to Congress.