Sebelius pushes back, determined to make Obamacare website ‘perfect’
October 24th, 2013
08:26 PM ET
1 year ago

Sebelius pushes back, determined to make Obamacare website ‘perfect’

(CNN) - Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is again pushing back against calls for her resignation over the rocky rollout of the Obamacare website, saying “we are determined to make it perfect.”

While visiting a health insurance call center in Phoenix on Thursday, Sebelius stuck to the Obama administration’s line that the functionality of the online insurance marketplace Healthcare.gov is improving.

"People are going through every day,” she said. “It's better today than it was on October 1, but it's a long way from perfect and we are determined to have it be perfect. But what we are is three weeks into a 26-week open-enrollment period, in football terminology early in the first quarter."

Responding to those Republicans in Congress who want her to step down, Sebelius said she remains focused on “getting the program up and running.”

"The majority of people calling for me to resign, I would say, are people who I don't work for and who do not want this program to work in the first place," she said.

Sebelius toured the Wesley Health Center and met with call center employees whose job it is to help people purchase insurance via the government’s enrollment hotline.

After the tour, she took questions from reporters, addressing some of the issues raised at a Congressional hearing earlier in the day in which four government contractors involved in the construction of Healthcare.gov pointed fingers when asked who was to blame for its early woes.

One contractor said that in the days prior to the site’s launch on October 1, the government ordered the removal of a feature allowing users to review plans and premiums without creating an account.

Sebelius said that was a decision to prioritize the final product over the ability for consumers to shop anonymously.

"A decision was made to prioritize how to get the site up and running and you cannot figure out what exactly you will pay in a premium unless you submit some personal information, because your premium is really based on whether or not you qualify for a tax credit,” Sebelius said.

Just as President Barack Obama did in a speech earlier this week, Sebelius emphasized that the website is just one way to purchase a new insurance policy, and recommended that those who run into problems online should call a call center or seek in-person assistance.


Filed under: Kathleen Sebelius • Obamacare
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Stuffit

    The most corrupt president and the his evil trolls in the democrat liberal party have really pulled one over on the Americam people and the easy to dupe press haven't they. You notice how no one in thliberal media (to busy degrading the hard working, tax paying members of the TEA party) has played down the OBOZOCARE scandal and has completely missed the story about us paying 3.7TRILLION. Dollars for welfare during the corrupt regimes time in office. Remember that the next time you stand behind a woman driving an Escalade paying for her groceries with food stamps and talking on her Obamaphones at the same time.That is what the TEA party is against.

    October 24, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  2. MaryM

    Sebelius should NOT have hired CGI. They could not do a web site that Canada hired them to do and were not paid .

    October 24, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. California

    Sebelius, YOU'RE A FAILURE at best. Take your partial birth abortion views with you. Talk about a conflict of interest.

    October 24, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  4. Liz the First

    I find it hilarious that the repubs who were so determined to destroy Obamacare, to the point of being willing to destroy the country, are now sooooo concerned that the web site isn't working properly. once again, they prove they're the world champions of hypocrisy. they're just looking for another excuse to pile on and demonize the Obama administration. it the site does get up and running reasonably well in the next few weeks, does anyone think these clowns will applaud?

    October 24, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    That law is so involved and convoluted, that making it "perfect" would be impossible.

    October 24, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  6. Logictox

    Surly she is kidding. Her job performance to date could go in the dictionary as epic failure.

    October 24, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  7. Milton Cooper

    In the Soviet Union they used to have people die in line waiting for socialized healthcare, hospitals went to heck and the government used socialized healthcare to have political oppisition locked up in mental asylums for critizing government. They already been beta testing pyschriatric abuse here by having undesirables organized stalked and electronically harassed. The media says it's dellusional fear from crazy people with Truman Show Syndrome which is a sadistic joke since President Harry Truman established the NSA many years ago. They have law enforcement, FBI COINTPRO, defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, DARPA (James Holmes daddy worked for them),Criminal Informants like pedaphiles released early who are easy to get help cause suffering since they were scared of their lives in prison, etc.... to stalk and harass people insidiously. The Pentagon has paid Hollywood to create propaganda to make this government sanctioned torture seem far fetched with movies such as The Game with Micheal Douglas, A Beautiful Mind with Russell Crowe, Cabin in the Woods with Chris Hemsworth, The Mechanist with Christian Bale (ironically Gloria Steinem's step son who met with victims at Aurora after the movie theater shooting) etc.... Literature explaning this is Milton Cooper's Behold a Pale Horse, Cause Stalking by Daniel Lawson and Satellite Terrorism by Dr. John Hall.

    October 24, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  8. Deb in MT

    "This is a huge undertaking and there are going to be glitches. My goal is the same as yours: Get rid of the glitches." Rep. Joe Barton, (R, TX) in 2006 about the problems with the rollout of the Medicare Part D drug benefit. Boehner–at the time–called the rollout 'horrendous', but was determined to fix the problems.

    Romneycare had all sorts of glitches, too, when it was first implemented: those problems were eventually solved, and Romneycare has become very popular in MA.

    Anything the size and scope of the ACA will have problems, and they will eventually be solved. The problems with ACA are with the website, and people can still sign up via telephone and in person. From what I've been hearing, the website is working better, but still needs to be thoroughly deglitched.

    Patience.

    October 24, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  9. buongiorno

    what really concerns me is why was it allowed to happen in the first place ridicoulously serious oversight RECKLESS BEHAVIOR

    October 24, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  10. Gary

    "Perfect is the enemy of good"
    Has Sebelius ever managed a project? She must make professionals who have to work with her nuts.

    October 24, 2013 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  11. What's in that tea anyway?

    Once we get this fixed...and we will....the GOP/Tea Baggers will go back to Benghazi, Bengahizi, Bengahizi, ....that's why they are so popular....but I kid – head lice anyone?

    October 24, 2013 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  12. John832

    It speaks volumes that she addresses her opponents through a press conference instead of responding directly to them at the Congressional hearing she skipped to tour a call center.

    She is right about one thing though, she doesn't work for the people calling on her to resign. Its patently obvious she works for the Obama administration and not the American people.

    October 25, 2013 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  13. Brother Liberty

    It seems in D.C. accountability becomes a misty haze more each day. Servants have become bullies towards those who have hired them, with one set of laws for them, and a rigid set of laws for the rest.

    Your heard it from the "Horses" mouth, we the people are below her. She does not feel accountable to "The People."

    She looks at U.S. Citizens as her subjects, not as her boss.

    Let us correct her mistake and keep demanding that she be let go, and let it be known, we will not be put into chains by those who are hired to serve us.

    October 25, 2013 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  14. A Kickin' Donkey

    I am a supporter of the President but Ms. Sebellius BLEW IT. She was an Insurance commissioner BEFORE she was a 2-term governor of Kansas. It was tone deaf of her to say "if we had 5 years to build it" . . . She appears to have been detached or incompetent. As an exec she should have known to apply advance program management practices to this iconoclasatic web site which serves as a proxy for the entire ACA. I hope she was not a boss PRETENDING to be in charge and having subordinates brief her so she could brief Obama. Sebellius need to be hands on for a parallel effort using the best that i-tunes, Amazon, Cisco, & Aetna have to offer. This isn't MMQB'ing any comprehensive executive should be all over this.

    October 25, 2013 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  15. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    She works and gets paid by the American taxpayers if she needs to be reminded!

    October 25, 2013 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  16. A True Conservative

    Ummmmm....shouldn't you have done that BEFORE you rolled it out? Have you ever held a real job or managed a real project in the REAL world? I really don't know the answer....but I know what my guess is......

    October 25, 2013 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  17. A True Conservative

    Just looked up you bio....yup....career politician.....doesn't appear that you have ever held a real job in the private sector. This explains a lot......but a pro-choice Cathlic and anti-gun, in favor of expanding funding for public schools and an environmentalist. Yup – a darling of the left......have all of the "right" political views....who needs actual ability or experience?

    October 25, 2013 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  18. CONCERNED

    In response to who Health Secretary works for and her comment about her resignation request.... last time I checked – she works for the American People – so are the requests not coming from American People?????

    October 25, 2013 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  19. sifto

    the website is the least of her problems.

    October 25, 2013 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  20. quinLee

    Not denying that the website roll-out has been terrible but some of the complaints about the "system" seem way over blown. For example, a radio news station this morning was interviewing a woman that had to wait 4 mins to talk to someone on the phone. That's nothing compared to calling my cable company, cell phone company or several other private service companies. And guess what else, their websites aren't great. So in the end, most of us have already been conditioned to wait times and crappy websites.

    October 25, 2013 07:38 am at 7:38 am |