Yikes. The picture of what was happening on the glitch-filled Healthcare.gov website during its first days is not a pretty one. Figures released today show six people were able to sign up for Obamacare (aka the Affordable Care Act ) on October 1 and 248 Americans enrolled on the second day. The figures come from notes that were collected about the launch. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who appeared before a congressional committee on Wednesday, says official numbers are still being tallied. Republican opponents who are overseeing these hearings have demanded numbers ASAP.
“Publicly, the government said there were 4.7 million unique visits in the first 24 hours. But at a meeting Wednesday morning, the war room notes say “six enrollments have occurred so far,” said CBS News, which first reported the low numbers. “The health care exchanges need to average 39,000 enrollees a day to meet the goal of seven million by March 1. ”
When she appeared before the congressional committee on Wednesday, Secretary Sebelius said HHS was responsible for the rollout and any problems associated with it, deflecting blame away from President Obama. Opponents, particularly Republicans, have called for her resignation.
“Hold me accountable for the debacle. I’m responsible,” Secretary Sebelius said. “I apologize.” She added that the government had spent $118 million on the site and $56 million on IT support, according to USA Today.
And like her second in command, Marilyn Tavenner, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who testified the day before, Sebelius placed some of the blame with contractors who worked on the site. During the brutal three-plus hours of testimony, Republican opponents also questioned the security of the site and referenced the cancellation notices that some people have gotten.
But you have to find a bit of humor in everything. So here’s Secretary Sebelius throwing shade while she was in the hot seat.