OTR Interviews

Should Sebelius be required to sign up for ObamaCare? What's 'good for the goose ...'

Rep. Fred Upton on Sebelius' testimony


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 30, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: On Capitol Hill today, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius taking the blame for the botched ObamaCare rollout. Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Secretary Sebelius saying, quote, "Hold me accountable for the debacle. I'm responsible."

Secretary Sebelius also saying she told the president the website was ready to launch October 1st and admitting she was wrong about that.

And the minute the hearing ended "ON THE RECORD" going straight to Secretary Sebelius to try to get more answers.


GRIFF JENKINS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Madam Secretary, any thought to resigning given the severity of the rollout problems?

Madam secretary, do you actually know the numbers of enrollment? I know that you said that there wasn't proper information. Can you give us some indication does it mirror the state exchanges which is mostly Medicaid enrollment? Could you just give us a comment on that? Madam secretary, given the severity of the problems you have had in the rollout, will you consider or is there a point at the which you will consider resignation? Madam Secretary, what confidence you can give the American people that the problems won't continue?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you consider extending enrollment?


VAN SUSTEREN: Now, we also spoke with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton.


VAN SUSTEREN: Chairman, nice to see you, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, still Fred, but I still know you as Mr. Chairman. This is where the hearing was today with Secretary Sebelius. Did you learn anything new?

UPTON: Well, I think that we did. The good news, I guess, the next step is that she has agreed to come back. We are going to ask her back. She knows that the beginning of December. We want it know what the numbers are. Thus far, they have hid those numbers from us.

VAN SUSTEREN: Hid or don't know? She says she didn't know. Do you think she was cagey about that?

UPTON: Well, they said that she couldn't verify that they were accurate. Even though subcontractors in essence said last week that they knew where they were. But, she is going to come back. She is going to tell us what those sign up numbers are, that is for sure.

The other thing we want to see happen maybe before when she comes back in early December is we would like to actually perhaps move legislation through the legislative process and allow folks who have had their individual insurance policies canceled to be able to keep them. In essence do exactly what the president said only last month that if you have health insurance, and you like it, you don't have to do anything. You can keep it. Well, let's keep them to that promise.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was she candid?

UPTON: I think she was. I mean, she was under oath, that's for sure. She had some --

VAN SUSTEREN: Which is routine.

UPTON: It is routine for oversight hearings.


UPTON: That is actually the rules of our committee that when you have an oversight hearing, folks have to tell the truth and otherwise they go to jail.

VAN SUSTEREN: She said that she didn't think that she was able legally to have ObamaCare. What is your understanding?

UPTON: I don't think that's quite accurate. It was a question that maybe she wasn't ready for. But, as I understand it, yes, she can get out of the FEHP and participate in really any exchange around the country. She may not be able to have an employer share contribution as part of it, but, in fact, she is -- it's not illegal to do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would you expect her to do that because, I mean, now she has got much like private industry where your employer pays part of it, would you expect her to be in ObamaCare?

UPTON: Well, actually, that was one of the -- and we had that amendment, Mr. Vitter over on the Senate has been trying to do that amendment. If it was successful, she would be required to do so. As we say what's good for the goose is good for the gander, right? Members of Congress, personal staff we are participants in those exchanges as we should be and --

VAN SUSTEREN: You will be next change and your staff will be in the exchange?

UPTON: Yes, they will be.

VAN SUSTEREN: But you don't have to be.

UPTON: Well, we lose, actually the way that it's written we do lose our ability to be in FEHB the federal employee health benefit plan, and therefore am put into the exchange. So I will be in the exchange and so will my personal staff.

VAN SUSTEREN: When she comes back in December you want to know how many people have enrolled, right?

UPTON: Well, we are hearing numbers all over the map. We are hearing, of course, that more people are being told that they are going to be -- that their individual policies are canceled. And we're hearing, you know, don't know exactly what these numbers are state by state. If you add them up, it's unlikely that the number of people that have actually gone through the process and have signed up, it's unlikely that that number is higher than the folks who have been told that they have actually lost their insurance.

VAN SUSTEREN: How are we going to pay for this? I mean, as I understand it, a huge amount of it depends on the healthy buying it, to pay for the not so healthy. And that would typically be the younger people. I know there was one ad put up in Colorado state, not federal exchange but Colorado state, with a beer keg to get young people. What is the administration telling you as to how they are going to convince the young and healthy this is something to spend money on?

UPTON: This is what we have to drill down as well. They can't tell us yet, the administration, how many people are signing up for Medicaid. Remember we expand the Medicaid eligibility. So what are those numbers versus those that are being forced to sign up for the variety of exchanges? So, we don't -- until they start sharing some numbers, it's pretty difficult to come to a conclusion.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think she thought of the hearing?

UPTON: Well, she -- you know, hey, it was three and a half hours long. She knew that she was going to get some pretty tough questions. I think she did. We didn't get all the answers that he we want. We are actually preparing a letter today. I will tell you one of the things we are very concerned about is the security of information that individuals post on that website.

Knowing that, in fact, they are changing the lines or changing the -- some the information that's out there, literally every single day, and unless they do an end-to-end testing, it's not necessarily secure. Which is why some of the news networks, in fact, reported earlier this week that it's pretty easy for a hacker to try to get that information. We're going to try to drill down a little bit more, a letter we will be sending off later this afternoon.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir, for talking to us.

UPTON: Thanks.