Affordable Care Act
12:42 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

Blunt Says Sebelius Should Testify On ACA Website Glitches

Updated on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. with details from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services blog post. 

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) says Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius should testify before a House committee on technical glitches surrounding Healthcare.Gov.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Sebelius asking her to testify this week. She has yet to publicly respond to the request.    

As a guest on Fox News Sunday, Blunt said technical issues with the government’s healthcare exchange website point to larger problems with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“This is a very mechanical thing,” Blunt said.  “The most expensive website, ever, and it doesn’t work, we’re nowhere close to knowing whether the President’s healthcare plan is going to work or not.   People are going to find out over the next few weeks and months just how hard it is to sign up, what happens to your insurance rates.”

White House officials say more than 470,000 people have applied for health insurance through state and federal exchanges.  It remains unclear, though, how many of those people have actually been enrolled in health insurance plans.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) was also a guest on the Sunday morning talk show and said ultimately Sebelius will answer questions from Congress, but did not say when he thought that would be.  

Despite the technical problems, the number two Democrat in the U.S. Senate defended the ACA.  

“I think it’s on its way to being a substantial success, it’s off to a rough start with the website,” Durbin said. 

In a blog post on Sunday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged that there have been problems with Healtcare.gov. 

In the post, the department said: “The initial consumer experience of HealthCare.gov has not lived up to the expectations of the American people. We are committed to doing better."

The department said that it has called in experts from both inside and outside of government for a “Tech Surge” to fix the problems.

Below is a portion of the blog post. 

Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov.  We're also putting in place tools and processes to aggressively monitor and identify parts of HealthCare.gov where individuals are encountering errors or having difficulty using the site, so we can prioritize and fix them.  We are also defining new test processes to prevent new issues from cropping up as we improve the overall service and deploying fixes to the site during off-peak hours on a regular basis.