Friday, October 18, 2013

Sebelius unavailable to attend congressional hearing on Obamacare tech problems, but available for Comedy Central interview

From Reuters:
Republicans in Congress chastised President Barack Obama's top health adviser, [Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius], on Thursday for declining to testify before an oversight panel about problems in rolling out the president's signature healthcare program known as Obamacare.

Less than a day after Congress ended a 16-day partial government..., they sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius demanding she make officials available for the October 24 hearing.

The online insurance exchanges that are a central part of Obamacare rolled out on October 1 despite the shutdown but have been hobbled by technical difficulties...

The letter from majority members of the committee said they invited Sebelius on October 11 to appear at the hearing, only to learn on Wednesday that she would not attend. The administration has not agreed to provide other administration officials, the letter added.

"It's well past time for the administration to be straight and transparent with the American people," said a separate statement by Republican Representative Fred Upton, who chairs the panel...

Sebelius recently [last week] appeared on the cable-television comedy program, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" for an interview that focused on the website's problems.

But HHS and the White House have largely declined to disclose information about the problems plaguing the federal marketplace's information technology system, which cost nearly $400 million to build, according to a report by the watchdog Government Accountability Office.

"This is wholly unacceptable. Secretary Sebelius had time for Jon Stewart, and we expect her to have time for Congress," Upton said.
In defense of Secretary Sebelius, however, it is worthy to note that Comedy Central is a comedy news network, and thus it the most appropriate venue to discuss the rollout of President Obama's comedic, albeit disastrous, health care law. A congressional hearing, on the other hand, is a more serious venue, which makes it an unsuitable setting to discuss comical matters the likes of Obamacare, despite the serious effect that this new side-splitting legislation will have on the American people.

Hence, Sebelius prefers Comedy Central over a congressional hearing.

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