Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized Wednesday to Americans who failed to enroll online for private health insurance coverage under the Obamacare because of the dysfunctional HealthCare.gov website.
Sebelius also told the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing the bungled Obamacare rollout since Oct. 1 that she is accountable for what happened and promised to fix the problem and have it working properly by the end of November.
Sebelius admitted that people could not sign up for a private insurance plan on HealthCare.gov apparently due to technical issues. She said that the contractors who built the site never asked HHS or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay the site’s launch.
“No one indicated that this could possibly go this wrong,” she added, according to ABC News.
In a separate hearing by the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, the contractors said they only had a couple of weeks instead of months to test the site before its launch but did not recommend anything.
The security of the website also cropped up during the House panel hearing on Wednesday with Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) expressing concern that personal data of Americans who sign up through the site would be vulnerable to cyber thieves.
Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) also expressed concern about the cancellation of millions of health insurance plans that failed to meet the minimum standards set by the Affordable Care Act.
Sebelius reminded lawmakers that the individual insurance marketplace covers a small percentage of Americans as many are covered by their employers or by programs such as Medicare.
She added that HHS appointed a “dedicated security team” to monitor the site’s security until a full test can be completed within 60 to 90 days.
Sebeliu’s apology followed CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner’s apology before the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday.