The first of two days worth of hearings about the problems plaguing HealthCare.gov got going Tuesday with an apology for the botched rollout from Marilyn Tavenner — administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. As It's All Politics noted earlier, she heads the agency "that oversaw the ill-fated website project."
Our friends at the Shots blog keep close tabs on the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare) and its launch. We do want to note, though, some of Tavenner's words during her testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee. They're worth keeping in mind as the deadline she cites comes close:
- Her apology: "We know that consumers are eager to purchase this coverage, and to the millions of Americans who've attempted to use HealthCare.gov to shop and enroll in health care coverage, I want to apologize to you that the website has not worked as well as it should."
- Her promise, Part I: "We know how desperately you need affordable coverage. I want to assure you that HealthCare.gov can and will be fixed, and we are working around the clock to deliver the shopping experience that you deserve."
- Her promise, Part II: "We are seeing improvements each week, and as we've said publicly by the end of November the experience on the site will be smooth for the vast majority of users."
The hearing, as Reuters adds, has given critics of the health care program another chance to voice their concerns. Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said Tuesday that "three years should have been enough" time to build a website that worked well. Then, he added that, "while a website can eventually be fixed, the widespread problems with Obamacare cannot."
Wednesday's hearing could be quite dramatic. The House Energy & Commerce Committee is due to hear from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.