Sebelius: ‘Don’t believe what you’ve heard’
By Jonathan Easley - 10/25/13 02:43 PM ET
Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday urged potential healthcare consumers to disregard ObamaCare website horror stories and partisan bickering over the law.
Speaking at a panel in San Antonio, Texas, Sebelius was asked what advice she would give to those seeking federal healthcare plans.
“Sign up,” she said. “Don’t believe what you’ve heard. Just check it out, look at the prices, look at the plans.”
The Obama administration is working furiously to fix the myriad problems that have plagued the HealthCare.gov website, as the botched rollout has dominated headlines and provoked a round of congressional hearings.
Sebelius is scheduled to testify in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee next week.
On Friday, Sebelius said she wasn’t happy with the state of the website, but said “significant improvements” have already been made.
“I’d be the first to admit that the website is far from where we want it to be and where it should be,” she said.
“We’ve made significant improvement over the last several weeks but it’s still not functioning at the right pace,” she added.
On a conference call with reporters on Friday, administration officials vowed to have the site fully repaired by Nov. 30, a full two months after the Oct. 1 rollout.
Former Office of Management and Budget Director Jeff Zients said it would be working in time for users to buy the coverage that takes effect in Jan. 1. Sebelius echoed that point in her panel discussion.
“No one is missing [out on] healthcare coverage today,” she said.
Consumers must sign up by Dec. 15 to have coverage by Jan. 1.
Some lawmakers, including 10 Senate Democrats, are calling for an extension of the second enrollment deadline of March 31, when the penalty associated with the individual mandate is scheduled to kick in.