Unfortunate symbolism for Sebelius
November 20th, 2013
03:19 PM ET
9 years ago

Unfortunate symbolism for Sebelius

(CNN) - Talk about bad timing.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius paid a visit Tuesday to community health center in Florida where a group of navigators were helping local consumers sign up for health insurance through the federal exchange website - HealthCare.gov.

As she stopped to talk to one of the enrollees, the website temporarily crashed.

"Sorry, our system is temporarily down," a local reporter said, reading aloud the message on the computer screen.

"It's okay. It will come back," the woman seated in front of the computer said. "It happens every day."

Technical glitches to the federal exchange website have been a major issue plaguing the rollout of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. The President said earlier this month that his team "fumbled" the rollout and promised significant improvements to the functionality of the site by the end of the month.

Responding to the event, HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said Wednesday that as the site continues to improve "we know that there will be sporadic outages from time to time, as was the case Tuesday."

"This issue was resolved quickly," she added. "We have completed more than 200 items from our punch list of fixes, reduced page load times from 8 seconds to less than 1, and error rates are down from six percent to less than one percent."

Asked about the troubled launch and looming December 15 deadline for Americans to sign up in order to begin coverage next year, Sebelius said the site "is so much better today than it was a the beginning of October."

"We always knew there would be issues and problems," the top health official told reporters at a news conference after visiting the community health center.

"Clearly the end-to-end testing was not sufficient, and I continue to repeat that, looking back, that should have been a longer period of time," Sebelius later said when asked about a report from a private consulting firm warning of some of the risks to federal online exchange's functionality for the October 1 launch date.

"Seven weeks later, and today is seven weeks from when the website launches," Sebelius said Tuesday. "If I had known then what I know now we probably would have made a different call."

Also plaguing the Obama administration is canceled policies as a result of previous insurance plans failing to meet the requirements outlined in the Affordable Care Act. Critics have jumped on the President's promise to consumers that they could keep their plans if they liked them. That turned out not be the case and the subsequent outcry prompted the White House to put in place an administrative fix allowing some healthcare consumers to stay on their plans for another year.

CNN White House Producer Adam Aigner-Treworgy and CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.

Filed under: Florida • Healthcare • Kathleen Sebelius • Obamacare
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    That's unfortunate timing. I'd sure like to see an article about the attempts that have been made to hack healthcare.gov. Last I read that it's been attacked approximately 16 times. Get to the bottom of that, then maybe you(CNN) wouldn't look so biased.

    November 20, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  2. just saying

    As she stopped to talk to one of the enrollees, the website temporarily crashed.
    "Sorry, our system is temporarily down,' a local reporter said, reading aloud the message on the computer screen.
    "It's okay. It will come back," the woman seated in front of the computer said. "It happens every day."

    bwahahhahahahahhahaha!!!!! and the joke/disaster known as obamacare continues to die a slow and painful death until the democrats admit reality, they screwed up royally and had better start trying to save their jobs by repealing this fiasco of a law.

    November 20, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Donna

    And then there is the minor detail that was revealed in testimony recently.... 30% of the web site remains to be completed! THAT part was the part where people PAID for their insurance. So what the Obama administration has LIED about once again, is that in actuallity NOBODY HAS BOUGHT AND PAID FOR ANYTHING in 2 months.

    How about THAT MASSIVE LIE? Or is Obama going to go full dictator on us and declare that everybody gets free healthcare PERIOD?

    November 20, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. Vence

    Inserbelius you mean!

    November 20, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. truth hurts but reality bites

    The truth is coming out slowly thanks to the Republican investigations and hearings in the House. These incompetents, Sebelius and Obama, KNEW this was a nonfunctional mess as far back as February. They received an independent report stating as much. Did any of them do their job and take the bull by the horns and get the job done right? Nope. Just blunder and waste your way threw hundreds of millions of dollars to deliver the biggest pile of cow dung ever seen right on top of the American people.

    Yes after three years, he's your crashing web site, the billion dollar bill and oh yeah, your healthcare insurance is cancelled. Sorry, we lied, we screwed up, we keep our jobs, you lose your healthcare. Sucks to be you American taxpayer.

    November 20, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. Gunderson

    Old Gunderson no make News just report News. Why you complain so much? You vote for Obama Care. It now Law of Land. Just got make Government Mules move faster.

    November 20, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. Jobe

    The level of incompetence from Sebelius and Obama is seemingly indescribable. Add to that the distortions, lies and targeting of anyone who disagrees with the White House.

    November 20, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. Obama-DUNG-CRASH-BURN.gov

    Two months later, after bringing in all the gurus, the best of the best, the web site disaster continues. Massive total incompetence doesn't even describe it any more. It appears the American taxpayers spent nearly a billion dollars on a web site that appears to resemble Frankenstein. Which might be a disservice to Frankenstein.

    November 20, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    The President said earlier this month that his team "fumbled" the rollout and promised significant improvements to the functionality of the site by the end of the month.
    Something worse than "fumbled" happened. How is it possible that the same contractors solved the problem so well on state sites, yet completely bungled the same problem on the federal site? SMH

    November 20, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. mike

    I read that a lot of navigators try to access the site at midnight and still cannot. It's obviously just a huge disaster lol

    November 20, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. al

    independent analysis of ObamaCare warns of a ticking time bomb, predicting a second wave of 50 million to 100 million insurance policy cancellations next fall - right before the mid-term elections. Too bad for the crooked left!!!!

    November 20, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Abbey

    You can start foaming the running way folks. This plane is about to crash and for good.

    November 20, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. VooDoo ObamaMama

    For a small fee I can remove the curse that has obviously been placed on this poor woman and her boss Mr. Odumbo and this cursed law. If not, the curse can only be removed next November if you catch my drift.

    November 20, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. Calm Down People

    Not to worry... our fearless dear leader has everything under control. He is handing out medals to campaign supporters and contributors and playing golf regularly. Pay no attention to those web site problems. Just another phony scandal. All made up.

    November 20, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    There is a point at which you just have to laugh. It either that or go crazy/GOP.

    November 20, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. Ken

    200 items from a punch list several million items long...Utter Fail...It's all LIES...

    November 20, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Universal Government Owned and Run Healthcare is the ONLY Answer

    Now that the government has proven its ability to launch Obamacare without a glitch, time to give total control of our healthcare and our lives to them.

    OK, so who is going to be the first in line?

    November 20, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. TommytheT

    longer period of time? You mean more then 3 years?

    November 20, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. RR

    Without a doubt Obama`s ultimate failure and the thing he'll be remembered by in history books.

    November 20, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. Randy, San Francisco

    In a few months, things will improve and the Sebelius' good name will be restored. The Affordable Health Care will be widely accepted and stand along side with Social Security and Medicare as the untouchable third rail of politics.

    November 20, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. Ricky C

    I ask everyone this question b/c I have yet to be given a true answer. How is allowing us to "keep our plans for one more year" a solution to the problem of "If you like your plan you can keep it?" From my understanding holding onto your plan doesn't solve the problem, it just kicks the problem 1 year later.

    November 20, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. Tony

    Sebelius must be getting used to wearing egg at this point. But don't worry guys, and especially don't fire anybody. Your bound to get it right sooner or later. Of course we'll all be dead from a lack of healthcare but don't let that keep you from doing a bang up job.

    November 20, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |