Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

What's Putin's Plan? Kiev Accuses Russia of Terrorism

Read more

FOCUS

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

ENCORE!

Art, sex, money, memory and manga

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Spat over Iran's UN ambassador hampers thawing relations with US

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles (part 2)

Read more

  • Kiev powerless as pro-Russia activists seize armoured vehicles

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in eastern Congo

    Read more

  • Rescue effort under way as ferry sinks off S. Korean coast

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • North Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • Berlusconi sentenced to community service for tax fraud

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

  • US to mark one year since Boston Marathon bombing

    Read more

  • India's Supreme Court establishes third gender category

    Read more

Americas

US Health Secretary apologises for 'flawed' website launch

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-10-30

US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologised on Wednesday for the flawed launch of the federal government’s healthcare insurance website earlier this month, saying she was as “frustrated and angry as anyone” over the issue.

President Barack Obama’s top health official apologized on Wednesday for the botched rollout of the government’s healthcare website, acknowledging it was a “debacle”, while also blaming insurers for cancelling coverage for hundreds of thousands of people.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, testifying at a congressional hearing on the troubled website at the heart of Obama’s healthcare overhaul, vowed to win back the confidence of millions of disappointed Americans.

“Hold me accountable for the debacle. I’m responsible,” Sebelius said in response to questions from Marsha Blackburn, the Republican U.S. Representative of Tennessee, about who was responsible for problems that have prevented people from signing up for healthcare insurance plans.

Technical glitches have dogged the Healthcare.gov since its launch on Oct. 1, preventing many people from signing up for insurance plans. But critics of Obamacare have seized on the hundreds of thousands of Americans due to lose their current plans because they fail to include essential benefits required by the law and are asking whether Obama misrepresented the law.

Sebelius, the cabinet official spearheading the implementation of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, drew intense criticism from Republicans including Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Upton accused Obama of breaking a 2009 promise that people with insurance could keep their current plans.

“They are now receiving termination notices, and for those who lose the coverage they like, they may also be losing faith in their government,” the Michigan Republican said.

Sebelius defended the administration by describing hundreds of thousands who have received cancellation notices as the victims of a market long known for discriminating against the sick, cancelling policies and selling inadequate insurance.

“The individual market ... anywhere in the country has never had consumer protections. People are on their own. They can be locked out, priced out, dumped out,” by insurers, Sebelius said.

Sebelius said Obama had not broken his promise because plans that have existed since the law was signed have had the option of remaining unchanged.

Democrats on the committee rallied to the administration’s position by pointing out that insurance policies being canceled would be replaced by better plans that meet higher standards under Obamacare, many of them at lower costs.

“I would urge my colleagues to stop hyperventilating,” said Representative Henry Waxman of California, the committee’s top Democrat.

Sebelius has become a political punching bag for Republicans who have repeatedly called on her to resign over the flawed rollout of the website. The White House continues to support her.

“I am as frustrated and angry as anyone with the flawed launch of Healthcare.gov,” Sebelius testified. “So let me say directly to these Americans: You deserve better. I apologize.

“I’m accountable to you for fixing these problems. And I’m committed to earning your confidence back by fixing the site.”

The hearing was convened to discuss problems with Healthcare.gov, the federal government’s portal to online health insurance marketplaces for millions of uninsured Americans in 36 states. The site was crippled by technical glitches at its launch and continues to be plagued by issues including outages.

The administration has set itself a late-November deadline for resolving the issues at Healthcare.gov. Experts say that leaves little time for additional error. Failure to enable uninsured people to sign up for coverage beginning Jan. 1, when the law comes into full force, could jeopardize Obama’s goal of enrolling 7 million people through online marketplaces in 2014.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2013-10-30

  • USA

    Obama ‘frustrated’ by healthcare glitches

    Read more

  • US POLITICS

    ‘Unworkable’ Obamacare under fire after delay

    Read more

  • USA

    Supreme Court upholds core of Obama healthcare reform

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)