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Kathleen Sebelius: “Hold Me Accountable for the Debacle”

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testimony to the House took responsibility for the Obamacare roll out "debacle."

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testimony to the House took responsibility for the Obamacare roll out “debacle.”

“…Hold me accountable for the debacle. I’m responsible.” – Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

UNDER AN intense grilling by the House committee today, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took accountability and responsibility for the HHS roll out of HealthCare.gov, the website that’s been causing the White House so much grief since ACA started its availability.

The pile on continues, with no end in sight.

A Weekly Standard post on shows the response of Democratic senators, who are in a real bind.

As he stepped off an escalator leading from the Capitol’s underground subway system to the U.S. Senate, Ron Johnson opened up a yellow folder, pulled out a copy of the “If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act,” and handed it to fellow senator Chris Coons.

“I look forward to reading this,” said Coons, a Democrat from Delaware.

“It’s the president’s exact language,” replied Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin.

Johnson was, of course, referring to President Obama’s pledge that Americans who like their health insurance could keep it under Obamacare, a pledge that has proven untrue for millions of Americans who are losing their current insurance policies because they don’t comply with Obamacare.

The post continues with Democratic senator after senator being squeezed between President Obama’s promise and the reality currently unfolding for people losing their health care coverage, because their plans don’t meet the basic standards of ACA.

What’s being buried is that the health care plans that have been canceled or not grandfathered in were plans that covered very little, many catastrophic plans in the case of an emergency, with huge deductibles. The roll over to newer plans that meet ACA criteria include wellness check ups and preventative care.

Unfortunately for Democrats, President Obama said something else and Republicans haven’t let up on what he promised. The White House now caught in an If You’re Explaining You’re Losing roulette wheel. Glenn Kessler giving Obama four Pinocchios for his promise that’s now imploded politically and practically.

From the Washington Post, Gov. Chris Christie is the latest to pile on:

“The real problem is that people weren’t told the truth,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning.” “You can remember, they were told that they would be able to keep their policies if they liked them. Now you hear hundreds of thousands of people across the country being told they couldn’t.”

Administration officials say the canceled insurance will be replaced by better policies. But the new line of attack comes as the administration continues to grapple with its problem-plagued Web site, HealthCare.gov.

On Tuesday, the administration official directly responsible for the rollout of the Web site apologized, promising at a congressional hearing to fix problems that have prevented many consumers from signing up for coverage under the health law. Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, also defended her agency’s management of the project and blamed some of the setbacks on the main contractor, Fairfax-based CGI Federal.

The countdown has begun on just how long Secretary Sebelius can survive. The Washington Post officially beginning, though we started around here a lot earlier, the Beltway game called deathwatch.

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34 Responses to Kathleen Sebelius: “Hold Me Accountable for the Debacle”

  1. mjsmith October 30, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Governor Christie is 100% correct.

    Mitt Romney had the leadership ability to work with both parties to get “Romneycare” passed. As a result when there is an issue it can be resolved. President Obama clearly does not have the capacity as a leader to work with both parties.

    I hope Sen. Ron Johnson’s “If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep it Act” gets passed.

    This attempt by Kathleen Sebelius to take the blame and responsibility for Obama’s poor leadership is a joke. Again we are going through another episode of “What did President Obama know and when did he know it.”

    • Taylor Marsh October 30, 2013 at 11:04 am #

      The American people disagreed with your assessment of Mitt Romney.

      Oh, and by the way, today people like Romneycare, which is exactly what will happen with Obamacare once this disastrous roll out is in the past.

      • secularhumanizinevoluter October 30, 2013 at 11:33 am #

        And it might be added ol Mitt da Twit didn’t have to deal with an obstructionist to out right domestic terrorist dominated House who were and are willing to crash the economy and hammer the American people to accomplish their warped politicol ends.

        “. Again we are going through another episode of “What did President Obama know and when did he know it.””

        The repug baggers are the real joke…the ‘fiscal conSERvative repug/baggers wasting millions of dollare to try to score purely politicol points.

        • Taylor Marsh October 30, 2013 at 11:36 am #

          It’s all politics from Republicans, nothing about solving the problem of getting the uninsured covered.

      • mjsmith October 30, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

        I am referring to historical events to Mitt Romney. Is health insurance in Massachusetts better than it is in all 49 other states?

        Even the Washington Post is giving President Obama 4 Pinocchios on this. http://tinyurl.com/pfpg7xc

        • secularhumanizinevoluter October 31, 2013 at 4:25 am #

          ” Is health insurance in Massachusetts better than it is in all 49 other states? ”

          It was….until Obamacare that is.

  2. PeggySue October 30, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    Ditto to secular’s comment. The advantage that Romney and Massachusetts’ citizens had were lawmakers who actually worked together to drive the program forward, rather than the ‘kill the baby’ mentality the GOP has latched onto. Romneycare had its own unique problems which required additional laws passed to solve initial technical problems. The first month of the Massachusetts rollout saw a mere 125 enrollees.

    Sorry but if the Mittster’s leadership was so grand, so unquestionable, he would have won the election in 2012. He did not.

    I’m not an Obama rah-rah girl but anyone suggesting the current crop of Republicans have the capacity to compromise with anyone is being disingenuous at best. The GOP can’t even get along with one another. If Sebelius has been asked once, she’s been asked a thousand times for enrollee numbers. She’s answered the same way every time. The data will be released at the end of November. But still, the Republicans keep asking, again and again. This is simply another game of ‘gotcha.’ Which is all the GOP has anymore. Pathetic!

  3. Chuckg October 30, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    If Kathleen is taking full responsibility on this mess, then it’s simple….she should lose her job. Because this is a mess, and it’s wasting millions and millions of dollars that we don’t have.

    Even though our wonderful POTUS lied, and he lied….I want Obamacare to work. I want the uninsured to have insurance. I want the people who are right now uninsurable to be insured.

    The talk about how the GOP can’t even get along with each other?? Becareful there….I have a feeling you’re going to see the same thing happen to the Democrats. The REAL Democrats can’t be very happy right now.

    I honestly feel that our President is just not a likeable guy. I just don’t fully trust him. And there are a lot of Democrats who feel the same way I do.

    It would be very hard for me to get along with him…

    Just get the damn thing fixed.

  4. spincitysd October 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    After Healthcare.gov went Kerflooey Kathleen Sebelius was not long for this world. She was going to be sacrificed to the angry Gods of political convenience. But first she was going to be properly prepared, which is what is happening now. So long little miss Jayhawker, we hardly knew you.

    • newdealdem1 October 30, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

      I have to disagree with you here, Spin. She won’t be fired (1) because she fell on her sword and she conducted herself admirably at those “monkey court” (Rep Pallone, NJ) :) hearings.

      And, (2) the Dems may never get another HHS nominee through the Senate confirmation hearings. And, that calculation is probably on the mark. The Dems will not take that chance given some of the destructive show horses currently serving in the Senate namely Cruz, Paul, Lee, Coburn, Graham, etc. when one or more of these defectives have the power to place a “hold” on a nomination, thereby delaying or preventing it from reaching the floor for further action. Which is what some of them have done regarding some of Obama’s nominations many of whom are lingering in limbo. Obama could well be without a Secretary of HHS for the rest of his 2nd term if Sebelius were fired. I just don’t see that happening.

  5. spincitysd October 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    For all his vaunted oritorical skills BHO really does seem to have a track record of putting his foot in his mouth. The man is an Idiot Savant. He can run the most brutally efficent campaign, a lean, mean messaging machine that will utterly ruin all who oppose him, but in matters of policy the guy could barely sell a glass of water to a person in the middle of the Sahara.

    It really does seem that Obama has never been ready for prime time on the subject of health care. As Taylor pointed out he had bupkis early on, not even a vague notion of what might be a good idea. Hillary of course was not about to revisit the butt hurt she was given when the Republicans stomped all over her plan. But at least HRC new the landscape inside and out and could talk competently. It was left to Elizabeth Edwards philandering sock puppet John ( doesn’t my hair look wonderful) Edwards to make healthcare an issue. HRC was like “crap, I got have salt poured in THAT wound?” and Barry was like ” who, what, where, when, uhhhh, let me get back to you on that.”

    Flash forward and the president is still somehow stuck in the “let me get back to you on that” mode. Maybe it’s the Xerox effect, like when you make a copy of a copy, of a copy, of a copy and that over-coppied item is damn-near unreadable. After all Obamacare is a copy of Romneycare, which is lifted straight off the pages of a Heritage policy paper. I mean all Obama really had to do is add a little misogynist special sauce in the form of a Hyde Amendment reinforcement and he had his signature act. Maybe he did not bother to read the fine print? Maybe his copy of the Heritage policy proposal had made the fine print unreadable? Maybe he was still not paying attention and had March Madness brackets to contemplate?

    For whatever reasons that really are a mystery to me, Obama’s messaging has been flat out awful on this act. And the followthrough on the actual management has been hideous. Obama has a really bad habit of going on autopilot, leaving a pot to boil, until disaster is imminent. Then he charges in for some fourth quarter heroics that save his bacon but leave the Congressional Democrats hanging out to dry. It was the same sorry performance in 2009-2010. Obama went on a nice long nap, let Simple Sara and others go hog wild, and then zoomed into fray at the last possible moment to save his reelection prospects while dooming the party to a annus horribilis in 2010.

    If the ACA can survive Obama’s utterly incompetent roll out it will be a better way to do health care in these United States. Single Payer would have been much, much, much better but no way a NeoLiberal, DLC type like Bogus Barry is going to allow that to happen. Frankly what we are seeing here is the result of a last minute decision to go all in on healthcare by Obama once it became clear that the ACA would be the only thing he got out of Congress after the long, drawn-out political Donnybrook of the Stimulus debate concluded. The mountain that was Obama needed at least a second mouse to produce for posterity.

    So, there’s that. I just hope that the president gets a whole lot smarter about this. He can save this by some adroit pivoting, go after the insurance companies, make them the bad guys. It not a hard message: “the act is fine, your insurance company is using the act to screw your over.” It has the benefit of being largely true. As for the glitchy site, a honest ” folks this is par for the course for IT. We will fix it and we will make accommodations so you don’t get hit by a tax because the code monkeys screwed up.”

    Believe it or else, the IT screw up IS par for the course. And for what the healthcare.gov IT infrastructure has to do it runs remarkably well. Remember it has to deal not only with the pointless encumbrance of means testing and the maze of different insurance companies and their seriously weird IT structure. It also has to deal with load issue that was not foreseen when first planned out. It’s hard enough getting a site like this off the ground with everyone pulling together and wanting it to works; it’s much worse when a select audiance is feaverishly working to sabotage the effort from day one. (Hello Republican Party and Red State Governors in particular.) Oh and there is the problem the Obama just sucks eggs at governing. He is vey much the dog that finally catches the bus he has been chasing for years. There is very much a “now what” style of governance coming from BHO. We now know exactly what happens with that 3:00 am phone call, it goes straight to voice mail most nights.

  6. Lake Lady October 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Okay~ Here is my question. Sebelius did a pretty good job of explaining things,it is obvious she grasps the plan. So why has she not been out there on every show that would have her for months?

    • guyski October 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      Concerning JUST the health care website which was this hearing was orignally about, and NOT the whole Obamacare universe, her performance was not that great.

      For example when Congresswomen Eshoo (D) California asked about any penalities for these the companies in their contracts, Sebelius’ answer was no. This is kind of surprising, given the importance of this website, what was at stake, reputations, the amount of money spent, etc., there should have been incentives written into these contracts. Penalties as a negative incentive, bonuses as a positive incentive.

      Left me with the impression of the old idiom; good enough for government work. Define by urbandictionary.com as: Probably not the best, but what the hell, at least we got the job done to minimally acceptable standards.

      • secularhumanizinevoluter October 31, 2013 at 4:30 am #

        “Left me with the impression of the old idiom; good enough for government work. Define by urbandictionary.com as: Probably not the best, but what the hell, at least we got the job done to minimally acceptable standards.”

        OK…I’m good with that. Got the job done….and this is a problem how?

    • newdealdem1 October 30, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

      Frankly, imo, because Obama and more importantly those around him who continue to whisper in his ear and whom he listens to (as they whispered in his ear when it came to Clinton: who didn’t run foreign policy, it basically was run from the White House).

      Now, in Sebelius’ case, imo, his whisperers didn’t trust her ability to get out there and run the show in terms of making the public aware of what the ACA was all about. And, as we saw today, she proved them wrong. In Clinton’s case, they didn’t trust her since the 2008 primary and that lasted until she left State in 2013 no matter how many times she proved herself a team player and was as loyal to Obama as she was to her husband when he was POTUS. And, Clinton proved Obama’s whisperers wrong.

      Those whisperers did the same with the nomination of the Fed Chairman, Janet Yellen. This time the strong liberal voices in the Senate beat the crap out of these collective Iago’s.

      • newdealdem1 October 30, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

        LakeLady, my comment above was in response to your great question about Sebelius.

  7. Taylor Marsh October 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    As someone who once sheparded one of the biggest & most successful sites on the web, the seminal issue was not having someone launching one of the most complex systems ever devised online that knows what she’s facing AND what it means when she’s told part of the securitysystems folded into the monstrosity isn’t ready. What it means when a part of the website isn’t integrated & running.

    Not having an end-to-end test completion can only get by people who aren’t thinking technically. No one & I mean no one savvy about large site launches, including myself, let alone one as overarching as ACA, would EVER allow a launch w/out testing it for days.

    Sebelius did a good job today, in the worst of situations. Republicans looked foolish, ridiculous at times, while she laid herself on the political cross. If I’m her boss, she gets a call & an atta girl for her testimony & for not giving Rep anyplace to go, because she took the blame, as she should.

  8. Chuckg October 30, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    Republicans looked foolish and Sebelius did a good job? I must have missed that 15 seconds. And I’m sorry….she should not take the blame, her boss should take the blame. She should take the blame only if she was the only one who knew this wasn’t working. How many people in this Administration and the last Administration have to take the blame. When is this President going to grow a pair?

    • Taylor Marsh October 30, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

      In your comment above, Chuckg, you said if Sebelius is taking blame she should lose her job. Now you want Obama to “grow a pair.” Let me also state that you also represent 85% of America or so who are NOT impacted one whit by Obamacare.

      Your tax dollars are more likely funding the military industrial intelligence complex as opposed to health care.

      But what’s the point of firing her now? I just don’t see that as helping.

      …and if you think Republicans looked good today squealing at her to sign up, when Obamacare isn’t meant for people who have health insurance through their employer, I just don’t know what to offer as a rebuttal.

      From a Republican, Dana Perino:

      http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/10/28/five-tips-for-republicans-questioning-secretary-sebelius-about-obamacare-this/

      Oh, and one more thing…Republicans calling for the secretary’s resignation is a bit much.

      Oh, and she said told Republicans to bottle the rage & be serious. Failed. And. Failed.

      • Chuckg October 30, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

        She’s taking responsibility for this. Why? Because she’s in charge? Who’s in charge of her? And why is no responsibility there?

        She’s taking full responsibility to get the wolves off the backs of the Administration. Which was the plan when she walked in there this morning.

        Again someone took the blame…….so all is good…let’s move on.

        • Taylor Marsh October 30, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

          Who do you think gets the blame in the end?

          No one’s going to remember Sebelius’s name.

          Look at Obama’s latest polling. Deservedly, it’s the lowest EVER.

          You can’t impeach the president for marketing promises that were lies, while HHS, RUN BY SEBELIUS, by the way, pointed out the a majority of individual health care plans would be canceled.

          I’m not sure what you want from Obama, who is acting like he always does. This isn’t new around here. Not sure what outrage you’re expecting. This is what Obama always does. We’ve been through this on a lot of things, chuckg.

          • newdealdem1 October 30, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

            Strongly second.

            I also don’t understand what chuckg and others of his opinion want in the end.

            What I find maddening is that some of these same readers/posters virulently condemn what happened with the ACA system rollout (and it didn’t go well overall and I’ve criticized the Administration when it happened) but I never heard a peep out of any of these concern trolls about what happened a couple of weeks ago when the GOP closed the government and tons of Americans were hurt financially by their deliberate irresponsibility which cost our economy $24Billion. Where is the outrage there when real Americans and our economy was truly harmed which lost almost a point in projected growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the 4th Qtr.

            There is more than one way to enroll in the ACA. If one way hasn’t worked, use whatever other options are available and working. If you are having problems signing online to ACA, use your ever-present phone to call the 1-800 number for help and they will fill out the form with your help and then send you your list of optional plans from which to choose. The last time I checked, the USPS is operating superbly. Or, ask the helper to send you the enrollment form so you can fill it out and send it back so that someone will review your form and then send you your list of optional plans from which to choose.

            Now, I am not giving any one a pass on the unfortunate and serious issues with the rollout. And, this is still the enrollment period which ends the end of March. There is no money exchanged yet. Coverage for those who *have* enrolled thus far begins on 1/1/14.

            But, there are other options when you cannot enroll online.

            That “monkey hearing” was a joke. The GOP continue to prove themselves brainless, flatulent, nasty gits. I see no humanity in them at all at this point.

          • Taylor Marsh October 30, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

            newdealdem1 – The “monkey hearing” was astounding!

            No humanity is a perfect way to put it.

          • guyski October 31, 2013 at 6:40 am #

            newdealdem1 paragraph concerning there is more than one way to enroll in the ACA is technically true, but is it actually reality in today’s world? The internet is well established, it is almost a utility. People expect websites work.

            The other options are available, but as secondary means, or for people who do not have internet access or cannot get to somwhere (library) where there is internet access. Or people who are impaired. For everyone else the internet is the norm (especially for the young). It is the most effective, efficient means.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter October 31, 2013 at 4:31 am #

      “Republicans looked foolish and Sebelius did a good job? I must have missed that 15 seconds. ”

      Next time pay attention then.

  9. mjsmith October 30, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    As long as excuses are made food poor and dishonest leadership, we will continue to have poor quality and dishonest leaders.

    President Obama is showing poor leadership and his dishonesty has caught up to him. How much longer can Obama expect the people who make up excuses for him to be taken serious?

    • secularhumanizinevoluter October 30, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

      How much longer can the people who make garbage and repeat wingnut talking points expect to be taken seriously?

      • mjsmith October 30, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

        Instead of paying attention to media outlets that you despise, why not check out every other media outlet and find out what they are reporting.

        • secularhumanizinevoluter October 31, 2013 at 4:32 am #

          Please see reply #1.

  10. secularhumanizinevoluter October 30, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    Judging by the “questioning” of the baggers and repugs yhey clearly have watched to much faux not news and OLielly.

  11. Ramsgate October 30, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    Neither Obama nor the Democrats have ever had the courage to make it crystal clear that the Republicans despise poor people and as such they will do anything in their power to ensure that they do not have decent health care. From Social security to Obamacare. It is no surprise then that they are fighting tooth and nail to stop people from getting better or improved coverage.

    Having said that, Sebelius was the good and loyal soldier. She took one for her incompetent boss. Fortunately for her, no one is fooled, as the world recognizes where the buck stops.

    Expect more plays (screw-ups) like this. From day one, this administration has been lousy at MANAGEMENT & MESSAGING. They need a strong Chief of Staff with a Management background, and they are NEVER getting one.

    • Taylor Marsh October 30, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

      Obama runs the government like he’s a Republican.

      • spincitysd October 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

        “Obama runs the government like he’s a Republican.”

        Ouch.

        And ya, pretty much Richard Nixon in black-face from where I sit.

  12. secularhumanizinevoluter November 2, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    Gee….from the Kaiser survie up page it would appear that once again the wingnutesphere and faux not news are 180 degrees out of sinc with the populace…who woulda thunk it?

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong