Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is rebuffing calls from Republicans for her to resign over the troubled launch of the ObamaCare sign-up website, saying those asking her to resign are “people I don’t work for.”
Sebelius gave the comments on a tour Thursday of an ObamaCare call center in Phoenix, which kicks off a multi-city tour by administration officials to promote the health care law amid the website's troubles.
Sebelius said “no one is getting fired” over the litches and that her main focus is to get the website up and running.
“The majority of people calling for me to resign I would say are people who I don't work for, and who do not want this program to work in the first place,” she said. “I have had frequent conversations with the president and I've committed to him that my role is to get the program up and running and we will do just that.”
Sebelius’ comments come after Rep. John Fleming, R-La., sent a letter to President Obama signed by 33 Republican members of Congress calling for Sebelius’ resignation over the troubled health care law roll out.
“It’s clear that Secretary Sebelius has mismanaged the ObamaCare roll out and is in over her head. Before the train wreck is allowed to continue… before more taxpayer dollars are spent trying to fix what’s already wrong… and before the Secretary continues on her damage control tour, it’s time for the president to admit that, despite three-and-a-half years to prepare, his HHS Secretary has dropped the ball on this and needs to step down,” the letter reads.
Also Thursday, the contractors who built the health care website defended their work at a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and claimed the government failed to properly test the system before launch.
CGI Federal and the other contractors repeatedly claimed that overall "end-to-end" testing was the responsibility of an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, as was the decision to go live on Oct. 1. They suggested more time was needed to work out the kinks.
Sebelius came under fire after telling the House Energy and Commerce Committee she was not also available to testify Thursday due to a “scheduling conflict,” but then travelling to Phoenix.
Sebelius was already taking heat for snubbing the committee while planning to attend a health care gala in Boston on Wednesday night.
It's unclear whether Sebelius' "scheduling conflict" was the gala, the Phoenix event or neither.
The committee says Sebelius is now expected to testify next Wednesday on the health care law.