October 30th, 2013
09:05 AM ET
6 months ago

Highlights: Sebelius on the hot seat

Washington (CNN) - They want her fired and the health care reforms she champions dismantled, Wednesday Republicans got their chance to question Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the rocky rollout of the Obamacare website, as she testified before a House Energy and Commerce Committee.

12:36 p.m. ET: The hearing ends
Hearing length: 3 hours 33 minutes.
Members of Congress who asked questions: 51.
When Sebelius apologized for the HealthCare.gov problems: a few minutes into the hearing, during her opening statement.
Number of members who referenced the Wizard of Oz: Three. (Sebelius is from Kansas.)

Most frequent topics:
- – The President’s past assertion that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” and news that after 2010 some plans have been cancelled.
- – Whether the individual mandate should be delayed given the website problems and the delay in the employer mandate.
- – Who is to blame for: a) the lack of adequate testing (Answer: no one specific was named), b) the decision to make individuals register before they could browse plans (Answer: Michelle Snyder of CMS) c) the decision to launch the website when it wasn’t ready (Answer: Sebelius said she told the president the site was ready, based on staff guidance. She stressed that no one predicted the avalanche of problems that happened)

12:35 p.m. ET
After a sharp exchange with a Republican Congressman, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday she would "gladly join" the new health insurance exchange under Obamacare if she didn't have affordable coverage under the federal program for government officials.

12:32 p.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Wednesday the decision to require people to sign up on the Obamacare website before they could shop for rates was "wrong." Outside contractors have said a change in plans shortly before the botched October 1 launch of the website prevented people from "window-shopping" without signing up, increasing the initial volume that officials cite as the main cause of the online problems. Sebelius said the decision to make the change came from Marilyn Tavenner, who heads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in her department.

12:31 p.m. ET

To the best of your knowledge, has a man ever given birth to a baby? As the hearing moved toward its end, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-North Carolina, asked Secretary Sebelius that question, aiming to highlight that some men may be forced to buy maternity coverage as part of an insurance package under Obamacare. Sebelius responded that some men do need maternity coverage for their spouse and family, who could be covered under their policy. Ellmers insisted this is an example of why health care costs are going up, insurance coverage that may not be necessary for everyone.

12:18 p.m. ET
By the way: While Sebelius was still getting grilled at the hearing, Roger Daltrey, lead singer of the legendary band “The Who,” was performing at an unveiling of a Winston Churchill bust in the Capitol Rotunda singing “Stand by Me” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

12:04 p.m. ET
A member of Congress has sparked some applause. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, blasted HHS Secretary Sebelius for not getting her own health care through the exchanges set up by Obamacare. Sebelius explained that by law she receives the Federal Health Employee Benefits plan, which includes most federal workers. Gardner held up a letter that he said was a cancellation notice for his family's police and as he continued to ask Sebelius why she herself wasn't in the exchange, some scattered but noticeable claps came from the crowded hearing room.

12:03 p.m.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that she told President Barack Obama the website for his signature health care reforms was "ready to go" for its October 1 launch, adding: "Clearly, I was wrong. We were wrong."

11:57 a.m. ET
An internal government memo obtained by CNN and written just days before the Obamacare open enrollment warned of a "high" security risk due to a lack of testing of the healthcare.gov website. "Due to system readiness issues, the (Security Control Assessment) SCA was only partly completed," according to the memo from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "This constitutes a risk that must be accepted and mitigated to support the Marketplace Day 1 operations."

11:56 a.m. ET
Rep. John Barrow, D-Georgia, is highly critical of and has repeatedly voted to limit Obamacare. He's a Blue Dog Democrat.

11:43 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urged members of Congress on Wednesday to help inform their constituents about Obamacare, calling on them to raise awareness of available federal subsidies and make clear that people don't have to stay with the same company because they now have choice.

11:37 a.m. ET
Bad luck for the junior Congressmen on the committee. In an attempt to end the hearing on time, Committee Chair Fred Upton just announced that members will be now limited to two minutes of questioning each.

11:31 a.m. ET
A question about President Barack Obama sparked a seeming verbal exasperation from Secretary Sebelius. Rep. Greg Harper, R-Mississippi, repeatedly asked if Obama, as the chief executive, is responsible for the problems with HealthCare.gov. Sebelius demurred, insisting the website rollout was her responsibility. But on one final try, Harper stipulated, "it is the President's ultimate responsibility, is it not." She searched for words, saying, "you clearly ..." then added a rare "whatever." She concluded, "He is the President of the United States."

11:26 a.m. ET
Time check. A spokesman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee tells CNN that about 15 more members are waiting to ask questions of Secretary Sebelius. At five minutes each, that would take well over an hour. The spokesman says initially the Secretary had asked to leave by noon, but the committee may ask her to stay longer.

11:19 a.m. ET
Who's the man with the mustache and red tie behind Sebelius? That's Mike Hash, who leads the HHS office of Health Reform. He is a key coordinator of policy between the White House and HHS and is a go-to briefer when Congress wants Obamacare answers. Off camera, Hash has passed a few notes to Sebelius during the hearing. He also has a resume line that may be a bonus today: he used to work as a staff member for this committee.
Mike Hash, head of HHS Health Reform office

11:03 a.m. ET

House Speaker John Boehner's office just sent out an e-mail questioning and making hay out of Sebelius' comment (at about 10:05 a ET) that "the website has never crashed". The e-mail includes a screen shot of the HealthCare.gov error message this morning.

11:00 a.m. ET
Because of the flawed launch of the Obamacare website, the administration expects the figure for initial enrollment "will be a very small number," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House committee hearing Wednesday.

10:55 a.m. ET
Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, just mentioned a CNN.com story about the HealthCare.gov website being vulnerable to hackers. Since we are CNN.com, here's a handy link.

10:47 a.m. ET
About an hour and a half into the hearing, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-North Carolina, became the 20th committee member, out of a possible 54 members who can participate, to ask questions of Sebelius.

10:46 a.m. ET
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee accused Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of putting private information of Americans at risk by failing to properly test security measures in the troubled Obamacare website."This is a completely unacceptable level of security," said Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, adding that if the website is not functioning, "you know it's not secure." Sebelius said testing occurs regularly, but told Rogers she would get back to him on whether any end-to-end security test of the entire system has ever occurred. Rogers responded that he knows there have been no such comprehensive security tests.

10:37 a.m. ET
States running their own Obamacare health insurance exchanges instead of turning them over to the federal government are "doing well," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a congressional committee Wednesday."Everything we hear is that they see the same demand, they are eager to enroll folks, and that is going smoothly."

10:29 a.m. ET

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that no "reliable, confirmed" information exists on how many people have signed up for Obamacare health coverage, rejecting a request from a Republican congressman that she allow insurance companies to release their figures. Sebelius reiterated earlier statements that figures on initial enrollment will be made public in mid-November.

10:26 a.m. ET
The outside contractors that built the troubled Obamacare website never recommended delaying the October 1 launch, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House committee Wednesday. Her comments came in response to questions about an August report by one of the companies that cited problems.

10:21 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House committee Wednesday that "we did not adequately do end-to-end testing" of the troubled Obamacare website before its botched launch on October 1, adding that the various components "were not locked and loaded into the system" until mid-September.

10:10 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that contracts with the private companies working on the Obamacare website do not have any "built-in penalties" allowing her department to charge them for disappointing or faulty work. However, she said the agency will not pay for work that is incomplete.

10:09 a.m. ET
The exchange a few minutes ago between Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pennsylvania and Secretary Sebelius hit on perhaps the widest number of issues with HealthCare.gov yet. In his five-minute questioning period, Pitts asked:

- Had Sebelius herself tried to signup on HealthCare.gov herself? Answer: she had an initial sort of dummy account. (It was not clear from her answer if she had tried to go through the process after the website was launched.)

- Who at the agency initially decided to require users to register before they could browse, a decision that may have caused some of the biggest problems in the first weeks? Answer: Marilyn Tavener, head of the Medicare & Medicaid Services.

- Did Sebelius think two weeks of testing before launching the site was enough? Answer: clearly not.

- When was Sebelius made aware of the problem? Answer: in August, contractor CGI Federal listed some problems and she understood they were fixing them.

- Did she know that in September some insurers recommended a delay? Answer: I wasn't in that meeting and I don't think anyone estimated the degree to which we have had problems.

10:06 a.m. ET
In a sharp exchange with a Republican congressman, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday she believed she could provide legislators with a list of insurers in federal exchanges set up under Obamacare that do not offer coverage for abortion services.

9:56 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday she was confident the troubled Obamacare website would be running smoothly by November 30, adding "I have confidence, but it isn't fair to ask the American public to take our word for it."

9:51 a.m. ET
At 90 years old, Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, questioning Sebelius now, is the oldest member of Congress and was a teenager when Social Security was created. He has adamantly opposed Obamacare.

9:45 a.m. ET
A waiver of privacy rights on the Obamacare website was included in error and "will be taken down," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday, telling GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas that "we have asked them to remove that statement."

5 things we learned from Tuesday's hearing with Tavenner

9:44 a.m. ET
HHS Secretary Sebelius just said that someone named Michelle Snyder was responsible for coordinating HealthCare.gov prior to this week (when contractor CGI Federal took over). Who is that? Snyder is the top day-to-day manager for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Here's her bio.

Snyder's boss did not directly defend her but when Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, asked, "So is Michelle Snyder responsible for this debacle?", Sebelius responded "no". That's when the HHS secretary said that Congress should hold her (Sebelius) responsible.

9:35 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday before a congressional committee that Republicans should "hold me responsible" for the problem-plagued Obamacare website.

9:33 a.m. ET
So far, the Sebelius hearing is going according to a classic Congressional script. The chairman from the opposing party opens with a question about one of the hottest issues, in this case Chairman Fred Upton, R-Michigan, asked about the fact that some Americans will not be able to keep their health care plans. Then the ranking member from the president's party, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, asks friendly questions to defend their position. Now, we watch to see if there will be any news, anything goes off script. Will Republican questions elicit any new information and will any Democrats become especially critical of the HealthCare.gov roll-out.

Three states tell insurers to cancel plans that don't comply with Obamacare

9:32 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that people who bought their own health coverage before Obamacare was signed into law in 2010 can keep those policies if they choose under a "grandfather" clause included in the legislation. Her response to a question about people getting their policies canceled now defended promises by President Barack Obama that anyone who likes their health care plan can keep it, relying on the technicality that the coverage must pre-date the law. Asked if Obama was keeping his promise, Sebelius responded: "Yes, he is."


9:20 a.m. ET

What did the HHS Secretary just say? Here's a link to the eight pages of written testimony she submitted earlier this week.
Her spoken words to the committee were a shorter version.

Administration warned about site's trouble before launch

9:19 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House committee Wednesday that the "vast majority" of consumers will be able to shop online for health insurance under Obamacare by the end of November without the problems being experienced now.

9:17 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized Wednesday to Americans for the "miserably frustrating experience" caused by problems with the Obamacare website.

9:15 a.m. ET
As Sebelius starts her testimony, HealthCare.gov is not working. The familiar error screen, "The system is down at the moment" appears.

9:13 a.m. ET
The top Democrat on a House committee examining Obamacare told a hearing Wednesday that the President's signature health care reforms mean that "the worst abuses of the insurance industry will be halted." Rep. Henry Waxman of California said the reforms mean better plans are available at lower premiums, and he urged Republican colleagues to "stop hyperventilating" about problems with the system's website.

Keep your plan? Maybe not

9:12 a.m. ET
Sebelius is taking the oath before the House Energy & Commerce Committee as many are watching to see if the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee will issue a subpoena for documents related to HealthCare.gov.

9:08 a.m. ET
Republican Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan opened Wednesday's hearing on Obamacare by the House Energy and Commerce Committee he chairs by saying news about the President's signature health care reforms "seems to get worse by the day," adding that "Americans are scared" and "may be losing their faith in the government."

9:04 a.m. ET
A congressional committee hearing Wednesday with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius facing questions about Obamacare has started.


Filed under: Congress • Health care • Kathleen Sebelius • Obamacare
soundoff (268 Responses)
  1. tom l

    Great changes in tactics by American presidents:

    - We are going to provide democracy to millions of people even if there aren't any WMD's. It's the democracy that matters!

    - I know you can't keep your plan even though I promised you can but your old plan was like swiss cheese and wasn't worth the paper it was written on. We know what's best for you so we made sure that insurance plans were what WE thought were best, not what you think is best for you.

    October 30, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. Sammy

    Anyone that is being told they are losing their insurance can still go to a private health insurance company and get good coverage. What they are losing are the fraud insurance companies that do NOT cover them.

    October 30, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. Marie MD

    The last question will be about Turkey, the country, not randy from KY.
    Do these fools even know how to use a computer? Somehow I don't think they all do.

    October 30, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  4. Data Driven

    @tom,

    "How's that encryption thingy working out? At least they fixed the hole that I was told by you guys would never happen. And you trust the government. Wow. You seem far too intelligent to think they can actually handle this."

    Far more intelligent than you on this subject, Tom. The code you're referring to isn't SSL, and the clickjacking patch has been addressed.

    You're a salesman, right? Remember Al Pacino in "Glengarry Glen Ross"? "You NEVER open your mouth till you know what the shot is.". Out of decency, I'll refrain from finishing the quote.

    October 30, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. Tampa Tim

    The republicans tried to get a hate message out to their base by using the term Obamacare. Remember, they also attacked Nancy Pelosi mercilessly for years, yet Nancy is far more popular than congress, baggers, and the weeper of the house.

    October 30, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    tom l

    @Rudy and Data,

    How's that encryption thingy working out? At least they fixed the hole that I was told by you guys would never happen. And you trust the government. Wow. You seem far too intelligent to think they can actually handle this.
    ---------------------------
    The problem was clearly described as a hole. Encryption had nothing to do with it. I told you last week that the only way to break modern encryption techniques is to somehow acquire the key. Breaking through firewalls and other software barriers has nothing to do with encrypted data. It was a matter of leaving a door wide open for thieves to pass through. Once they get in, then they can get their hands on encryption keys.

    You shouldn't repeat the low-information talking points that you hear in right wing media. They had a software expert test the site's security and he found flaws, in the form of an open door or a door that could be easily opened. Even if a hacker could get access to the encrypted data, it would be almost less to them without the encryption key. The keys are usually 128 digit numbers. Like I said, it would take someone hundreds of thousands of lifetimes to test all of the possible permutations, or values, of a 128 digit number.

    October 30, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. Sniffit

    "Even Crystal Ball, Crystal Ball of MSNBC fame(ish) is worried. This law is affecting way too many people. But hey, at least as a 44 year old man I now can have a baby and it will be covered!!"

    Let's not conflate criticism of the sloppy website rollout with criticism of the entire law, mmmkay? And it's Krystal. And I don't consider her to be some grand bellweather for liberal thinking and perceptions. And I don't watch MSNBC. And I don't consider any of the MSM to be terribly "liberal" leaning in light of the fact that they ALL have had a symbiotic relationship with the GOP/Teatrolls for the past 5 years, marked by gross reliance upon the whatever nontroversies the GOP/Teatrolls can deliver and then running with them and helping to perpetuate them for the sensationalism, etc. MSNBC is no different and relies just as much on the nontroversies being perpetuated, not debunked, in order to sell their product.

    October 30, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. citizenatlarge1

    The incompetence displayed and huge sums of money wasted on the most expensive website in history, is staggering.
    What's worse is no one is being held liable by this administration who claim to having been ignorant of the of the problems leading up to this fiasco.
    But the larger picture, Obamacare, is the true elephant in the room.

    CAN ANY OF YOU DEFENDING THE PRESIDENT OR THIS LAW ANWSER THIS QUESTION?
    How does the President of the United States justify creating a compulsory law that is mandatory for all except himself, congress and special interest groups of his choosing?

    October 30, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. Sally

    Could "This tremendous interest" that Sebelius refers to be because the American people will be fined if they do not purchase insurance? I would also like to know what part of affordable insurance are the American people getting? I know that my employers insurance premiums have went down somewhat but in return I am playing mostly out of my pocket before my insurance pays anything....a big change from previous years! OBAMACARE has not made insurance more affordable for me and I am guessing MANY more Americans feel the same way.

    October 30, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. If You Like Your Plan You Can Keep It

    Sebelius promises to have the Obamacare website fixed by November 31st.

    October 30, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. Cynthia Lucas

    This does not answer the Big One Question.
    If a person has Health Insurance, they can keep what they have? The Insurance Industry has canceled many people with health insurance because they cannot meet Federal Guidelines. Now what? Big Brother Federal Government is now controlling the United States. Federal Government is telling us what is best for us. When the insurance companies cannot keep up with the mandates by Federal Government, the American people become a Victim. This is so sad for people, who have been inconvenienced by this. However, people with a pre-existing condition can no longer be turned away. This is a huge blessing to the American People. We should be proud that our democracy is working in a civilized fashion. Thank you.

    October 30, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  12. Rick

    I love how they can sit in front of a committee and accept responsibility when the reality is there is no actual accountability at all. It's routine to see politicians and political appointees get away with things that would get them fired in the private sector.

    News flash.. if you're in charge of something, you're responsible for it. If you can't stay informed on what's going on in the organization, then you are the wrong person for the job. It's basic leadership and management principles.

    Until some actual accountability can be built into the system, probably by making blatant negligence a criminal act, nothing will ever be accomplished by our government. This applies to both parties in equal measure. They do as they please, spin it for the constituency, and make their back alley deals lining their own pockets.

    The entire process is disgusting to watch for any hard working citizen.

    October 30, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Even Crystal Ball, Crystal Ball of MSNBC fame(ish) is worried. This law is affecting way too many people. But hey, at least as a 44 year old man I now can have a baby and it will be covered!!

    Wishing you the best of luck having a baby!

    October 30, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. Glennis

    You can put lipstick on this pig of a law until the cows come home, but it will still be a pig.

    October 30, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. rs

    The hypocracy of the GOP is occassionally very over-the-top. On the ACA- they negotiated it to death- then didn't vote for it; they have held 40+ ceremonial votes to recind the law; they shut down the government in an attempt to kill the law (utterly failing to impact the law, and bolwing $24 billion in the process)- and now we are to belive they have deep concerns about how a glitchy web site impacts users? Ha!

    BTW- in Deep Red State AZ. News today that Arizona hired the same contractor who did the Health.gov site to run state payroll and benefits site. So much for the GOP not using foreign contractors with a "spotty" track record.

    October 30, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Anonymous

    hard to believe that in the USA that some people could not get health care before Obama-care was implemented – what an insult to humanity!!!

    October 30, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. Data Driven

    Indeed, Rudy. The continuing problem with the Fourth Estate is that they print barely researched, low-info stories that get people like Tom all excited, and then they don't follow-up. For example, CNN's "story" yesterday didn't address the technical details, nor did they report that the issue had been resolved. They're also not reporting on other fixes at health care dot gov.

    We're seeing this process play out again with the dropped-insurance story. No independent verification, no stats, no analysis: they're just taking the word of an "anonymous industry insider", probably from Humana or United Health. All very low-info stuff designed to agitate the rubes and boost click-traffic.

    October 30, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Don't worry wingnuts. If you live in a red state the health insurance companies will be doing what they always do; kick you off if you get sick, cap your benefits, and increase your premiums.

    October 30, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  19. rs

    citizenatlarge1

    The incompetence displayed and huge sums of money wasted on the most expensive website in history, is staggering.
    What's worse is no one is being held liable by this administration who claim to having been ignorant of the of the problems leading up to this fiasco.
    _______________________
    Apply what you just said to the Republican terrorists who seized the government and blew billions of dollars a few weeks back in their failed coup. Where is the responsibility for that? At least the folks behind the ACA are trying to do good for Americans. I doubt Republicans can claim that.

    October 30, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. jmb

    Well, the new Obamacare law NOT affordable for me. Hmmm......both my plan at work and my wife's plan at work no longer exist (thanks Obamacare) and it will now cost me upwards of $3,000 more per year (with a $4,000 out-of-pocket before covered) from our work places or $11,000 per year (with $5,000 out-of-pocket before covered) from Obamacare. And how is either one of these less expensive then the $1,800 per year I was paying?

    October 30, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. Tampa Tim

    You can put lipstick on right wingnut Taliban tactics, but it is still domestic terrorism.

    October 30, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  22. Sniffit

    "How does the President of the United States justify creating a compulsory law that is mandatory for all except himself, congress and special interest groups of his choosing?"

    You're starting from incorrect premises because you've been grossly misinformed. The reality is, your question doesn't even make sense AT ALL because it's founded upon lies and misinformation.

    First, the law mandates that individuals obtain insurance. It does not mandate that individuals buy their insurance on the exchanges. Pretending that people are not "subject to Obamacare" if they are not forced into the exchanges is ridiculous.

    Second, the law mandates that large employers provide insurance benefits to their full-time employees. The federal government is a large employer...the largest in the nation. The federal gov't is subject to this mandate just like private companies.

    Third, the law makes subsidies available for any person who is purchasing insurance on the exchanges who qualifies for a subsidy. For example, part time employees who are not receiving health insurance benefits, whether working for the gov't or private companies, can receive a subsidy to help them buy insurance from a PRIVATE COMPANY on the exchanges. Taking the subsidies away from gov't employees who are purchasing insurance on teh exchanges would, in fact, be an exception that unfairly treats them differently than everyone else in the country.

    The POTUS, Congress and their staff are all treated exactly the same as everyone else in the country with respect to the two mandates and the subsidies. There is no such thing as an "exception" here. "Obamacare" is not a product that people are purchasing on the exchanges no matter how lazy and dishonest the GOP/Teatrolls and MSM are for talking about it like it is. People are purchasing insurance from PRIVATE COMPANIES on the exchanges. The websites are nothing more than marketplaces for private insurance to be sold.

    October 30, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  23. scrappyone

    They spent close to $200 million dollars on a program that doesn't work, is not secure and hasn't been tested. Another $600 million on trying to promote it to the public. There is no telling how much of the governemnts time has been wasted that could have been used towards better things. As I sit here and watch this hearing on CNN, I wonder what do they consider affordable and what are the income levels for the subsides? I understand they want everyone to have healthcare coverage but from what I have seen is just arguing for both sides of the insurance corporations. They are going to win either way. Yes everyone will have insurance or get fined but at what monthly cost to the working american? How much are all the subsides going to cost yearly for the tax payers? Can our wastefull government afford to back this system? Ms. Sebelius said herself that people who get cancer can expect to live 5 years longer if they have health insurance as opposed to those who don't. Is that the true american way? Evidently all the hospitals and treatment centers that are supposedly non-profit organizations needs to start paying their taxes on the full amount they make and not get any more tax breaks. We are being forced to take and pay for something that the average working american cannot afford. I work for a place that has made major changes, lost workers and cut hours, due to Obamacare. I think this money could be better spent cleaning up america from the gangs, drugs, and other crimes that are harming us. It is time for the governement to go back to working for us rather than us working for the government. We need to get back to the way this country was founded and go by what the original constitution says. A Government FOR the people. We do not thave that today. Our government is for the big corporations.

    October 30, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  24. spike

    How did the shut down cost 24 billion. Where did they spend this?
    I am more worried about the trillions in debt this admin has racked up.

    October 30, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  25. DickGinAZ

    Obamacare is experiencing problems and needs some quality fixing but who should take any blame? Obama and his development staff of course, but just not alone. Instead of ever responsibly cooperating and honestly contributing the Republican / Tea Party decided to just play politics, to put their political interests above the people’s needs and, in their words, try to make health care reform “Obama’s waterloo”. They choose to arrogantly fault and stubbornly block all efforts, contributing nothing and just not caring about the real need for the reform. They didn’t care about the cost to the people and instead just focused on achieving their political ambitions. To be accurate the Republican / Tea Party deserves equal or more blame and then it should be understood that they literally have no solutions and just consistently have protected Special Interests’ and “the money’s” positions, their strong supporters and masters, without regard for the costs to or the needs of the people. There is absolutely no help there, only irresponsibly more politics and biased criticism while self-servingly leaving the people, the majority without their representation. Hopefully Obamacare gets its glitches fixed and ultimately proves of real value for the majority.

    October 30, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
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