GOP fires back at Sebelius in ObamaCare blame game
By Jonathan Easley - 10/28/13 03:35 PM ET
Three House Republicans sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday asking her to clarify a remark in which she appeared to hold GOP lawmakers partially responsible for the disastrous ObamaCare rollout.
“You have made a number of curious statements during your career in public life. Time and space do not allow for a full inventory,” the letter, signed by Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), begins.
“Most recently you are quoted as saying the abysmal Obamacare rollout — for which you had three years and more than $500,000,000 to prepare, test, and perfect — was the fault of House Republicans and the government shutdown,” the letter continues. “If memory serves, ObamaCare was signed into law in March of 2010, when Republicans controlled precisely no branch of government.”
The lawmakers said that Sebelius is seeking to “blame House Republicans and the government shutdown for your failure to provide a workable product,” and asked her to respond to nine questions about how and when HealthCare.gov was tested, if a delay was ever considered, what last-minute changes were made, and who authorized them.
Sebelius has been touring the country promoting HealthCare.gov, despite the myriad technical issues that have plagued the site. At a press conference in Austin, Texas, last week, she pointed to consistent opposition by House Republicans to the Affordable Care Act as one of the reasons for the bumpy rollout.
“In an ideal world, there would have been a lot more testing, but we did not have the luxury of that, and the law said the go-time was Oct. 1,” she said. “And frankly, a political atmosphere where the majority party, at least in the House, was determined to stop this anyway they possibly could ... was not an ideal atmosphere.”
Sebelius last week also kicked back at the dozens of Republicans who have called on her to resign.
“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. “I have had frequent conversations with the president and I've committed to him that my role is to get the program up and running and we will do just that.”