KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

GOP Leaders Want Answers To Questions About Website Difficulties

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is among the people some congressional Republicans want to testify about what some have termed the health exchanges' "failure to launch."

The Wall Street Journal: Health Law's Rocky Debut Puts Sebelius In Cross Hairs
Kathleen Sebelius keeps running into trouble, whether on the road, where she is out promoting the new health-care law, or back home, where she is struggling to resolve the technical woes that have hobbled its debut. Mrs. Sebelius, the nation's top health official, was in Tampa the other day to promote the "online shopping experience" of the federal website where uninsured Americans can now select coverage. Christopher Dawson, who sat to her left at the staged event, had tried for a week to enroll. Like others, he was foiled by "error" messages (Langley, 10/18).

CNN: McCain: Can't Go At Obamacare 'With A Meat Ax'
Responding to calls for the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Senator John McCain said "let's have Congressional hearings" over Obamacare's failure to launch. He called the Affordable Care Act a "fiasco." Sebelius will not attend Congressional hearings scheduled to begin Thursday, but McCain said "let's find out who is responsible." "This is just the beginning of the problems associated with a massive restructuring of one-fifth of our economy," he said (10/20).

Politico: Cruz: Sebelius 'Absolutely' Should Resign
Sen. Ted Cruz says Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius should resign due to the disappointing rollout of Obamacare. "Absolutely, she should resign. Why? Because the program she implanted, Obamacare, is a disaster. It's not working, it's hurting people all across the country," Cruz said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." The freshman Republican senator from Texas went even further, attacking "grey beards" in his own party when asked whether Sebelius remaining in the administration would benefit GOP attack strategies (McCalmont, 10/20).

Fox News: Administration Responding To Pressure For Answers On Messy ObamaCare Site
On Sunday, Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius would testify before Congress about the site, amid a growing call for her to accept requests to speak on Capitol Hill. "Ultimately, Secretary Sebelius will testify," Durbin, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, told "Fox News Sunday." The 918-word blog acknowledges the glitches have been "frustrating" for Americans and states roughly 500,000 applications for coverage have been submitted. It also states that healthcare.gov has had roughly 19 million unique visits, which "confirms that the American people are looking for quality, affordable health coverage, and want to find it online." Officials said in the post they have called in additional help to solve the problems (10/21).

CQ HealthBeat: Energy and Commerce Wants Sebelius At Implementation Hearing
The Energy and Commerce Committee wasted no time after the federal government opened Thursday to summon Obama administration officials to a hearing next week on what it calls the "implementation failures" of the health care law. And the panel issued a statement late in the day saying if Kathleen Sebelius had time for Jon Stewart she should make time for Congress (Bunis, 10/18).

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