In what can only be characterized as a stunning moment of transparency for the Obama administration, now 5 years into its reign of "unprecedented transparency" not to mention hope and change, US Health Secretary actually did the unthinkable: she took responsibility. "Hold me accountable for the debacle," Sebelius said in response to accusations at a congressional hearing today that her deputies failed to do their jobs. "I’m responsible."
Whether this means that Verizon, and especially Dubya can rest peacefully now knowing it won't somehow be his fault, remains to be seen - Obama will speak on healthcare at 3:55 pm and it is never too late to scapegoat the former president for this and that. However, we do applaud that finally the buck stops somewhere in the Obama chain of command. Sadly, taking responsibility for an epic failure does not equate to submitting one's resignation: after all this is the government, not the private sector. And in the government failure can only be encouraged.
Watch the exchange below:
More from Bloomberg:
In a contentious exchange, lawmakers quizzed Sebelius on the malfunctioning website set up as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. They also raised privacy concerns, asked about broken promises that people would be able to keep existing medical plans and questioned whether there was a way to penalize the contractors that built the site.
“I am as frustrated and angry as anyone with the flawed launch of healthcare.gov,” Sebelius told the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Let me say directly to these Americans: you deserve better. I apologize."
“There isn’t a built-in penalty but I can tell you that paying for work that isn’t complete is not something that we will do,” Sebelius said.
Committee Chairman Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, said “Americans are scared and frustrated.” He cited constituents’ concern that their existing health policies would be canceled, their premiums would rise or they would face tax penalties.
... but is happy to remain in her post. Naturally, any attempt to confirm a new Health Secretary in the current Congress would be complicated at best, and the last thing Obamacare needs is to have a permanently busted website, and a ponzi funding scheme whose funding accumulation is woefully behind schedule, with zero supervision.
More than 30 House Republicans and at least three U.S. senators are asking for Sebelius to step down. They include Senators Pat Roberts of Kansas and John Barrasso of Wyoming, as well as Representative Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2012 whose losing campaign promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act if elected.
“The bottom line is the problems with Obamacare run deeper than just the website,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, said yesterday at a news conference.
That much is clear, and increasingly so even to the "most transparent administration in history."