Sebelius Apologizes as Insurer Cancellation Notices Persist

Obamacare Saga: Sebelius Apologizes; Cancellation Notices PersistKathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, said she is fully accountable for the widespread Obamacare website problems — not the director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which directly oversees the new health care system’s launch.
“Hold me accountable for the debacle. I’m responsible,” Sebelius said, under intense questioning during Wednesday’s hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“Michelle Snyder (CMS chief operating officer) is not responsible,” she added.
Sebelius was firmly in the hot seat over the disastrous and embarrassing launch of, which has been followed by a steady stream of national media reports about Obamacare-triggered insurance policy cancellations for thousands of Americans.
The cancellations may do more harm in undermining the administration’s sweeping health care reform than temporary issues with the website.
“I don’t think anyone ever estimated the degree to which we’ve had problems in the system,” Sebelius said, adding that the website’s technical issues would be fixed by November. Not helping her case was the real-time problems with Consumers trying to log in during her testimony got this message: “The system is down at the moment.”
Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner was questioned extensively on Tuesday by members of the House Ways and Means Committee. The panel wanted to know about the cancellation notices from insurance companies.
The cancellation notices appear to contradict President Obama’s repeated promise that the health care overhaul would allow Americans to keep their current health insurance if they like it. Republicans have jumped on the cancellations as evidence that the law is flawed. They have also demanded the resignation of Sebelius.
Administration officials say the canceled insurance policies will be replaced by improved and more affordable plans under the Affordable Care Act. But the White House has come across as weak in its defense of the president’s previous claims that Americans would be able to keep existing policies.
State insurance commissioners have granted insurers the option of canceling existing individual plans for 2014. The reason: the coverage required under Obama’s law is broader and more substantial. Some states directed insurers to issue cancellations. Most employer plans that cover workers and their families are not affected.

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