Upton: “Secretary Sebelius had time for Jon Stewart, and we expect her to have time for Congress”
posted at 9:31 pm on October 17, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
As you might imagine, Republicans in Congress would very much like to know exactly what the deal is with all of the Obama administration officials who repeatedly promised that the health care law’s implementation was proceeding as planned and that everything was “on track” for Americans to begin signing up on October 1st. Did the administration really not anticipate the glitch-a-palooza Americans were in for, or did they simply neglect to disclose all of the glaring signs indicating that eventuality? Certain fragments of emerging evidence, like, oh, I don’t know — not having tested the system until less than a week beforehand — would seem to suggest the latter, which is probably why the House Energy and Commerce Committee has been trying to call a hearing to investigate the matter.
No such hearing could possibly be thorough without some involvement from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, or at the very least some of her high-level deputies… which is precisely why you will likely be unsurprised to learn that Sebelius has so far been disinclined to acquiesce Congress’s request for an audience. She’s very busy right now, you see:
Republicans in Congress chastised President Barack Obama’s top health adviser on Thursday for declining to testify before an oversight panel about problems in rolling out the president’s signature healthcare program known as Obamacare. …
The letter from majority members of the committee said they invited Sebelius on October 11 to appear at the [October 24] 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. …
“This is wholly unacceptable. Secretary Sebelius had time for Jon Stewart, and we expect her to have time for Congress,” Upton said. …
“It’s not just a bumpy rollout. We’re crossing a bridge with a warning sign that says: BRIDGE OUT,” said Republican Representative Tim Murphy, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce panel’s health subcommittee and plans to hold his own hearings.
You can read the committee’s letter here, but Health and Human Services has yet to comment. Because, transparency.