“I’m as frustrated as anyone,” Sebelius said at a U.S. House committee hearing. “Let me say to the American people: I apologize.
“Our extensive assessment is that it is fixable,” Sebelius said.
The hearing took place amidst growing speculation over whether Sebelius would lose her job over the botched healthcare site, which was down even as she testified on Capitol Hill.
She would not point fingers, and would not cooperate with lawmakers asking for the resignations of her colleagues, such as Gary Cohen, director at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.
When pressed on the exact numbers of enrollment in the marketplace, Sebelius insisted accurate numbers would not be available until mid-November.
“The numbers that we have now just aren’t reliable. We want to be able to present accurate data,” she said.
Sebelius said that the entire $197 million allocated to website developers CGI might not be paid because of the clunky rollout.
“Paying for work that isn’t complete isn’t something we will do,” she said.
Sebelius answered to more than just website glitches after Republican House members grilled her on Americans losing their current health care plans as a consequence of the new law.
“We were told that if you like your current insurance plan, you could keep it,” said committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. -- a statement echoed by many Republican panelists throughout the hearing of Energy Commerce Committee.
“In the past, people were locked out, priced out, dumped out,” Sebelius said. “That cannot happen now. They must be offered new plans, and they won’t just be ‘rolled over’ into a new plan.
“Insurance companies are canceling lousy plans with high prices because they can no longer compete,” she said.
That promise wasn’t enough for Republican members, who insisted that any dropped plan was a broken promise by the White House.
“Secretary, some people prefer to drive a Ford instead of a Ferrari, some people like to drink out of a red solo cup, not a crystal stem. You are taking away their choice,” said Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.
Added Renee Ellmers, R-N.C.: “You are going to force people to buy things they do not need.”
Across the committee table, Democrats argued that Republicans had become obsessed with seeing Obamacare fail.
“This reminds me of the story of Chicken Little, (a folktale about a chicken who is convinced the world is ending)” said Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.
“Only here it’s like they are rooting for failure. My Republican colleagues are on the wrong side of history,” he said.
Several House members pointedly asked if Sebelius is confident that the marketplace will fully function come Dec. 1.
Each time, she simply responded: “Yes.”
“The only way we can restore confidence that we will get it right is to actually get it right,” Sebelius said.
Ukrainian protestors topple Lenin statue [VIDEO]
Wisconsin business offering 'therapeutic cuddling' forced to close