Democrat Rep. Henry Waxman (CA) appeared on MSNBC today and defended Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the terrible rollout of Healthcare.gov. Host Kirsten Welker asked Waxman, “Yes or no, should Secretary Sebelius keep her job?”
Waxman’s response is a work of creative fiction.
“Absolutely,” the congressman said. “There’s no reason for her not to continue on as secretary. She’s done a terrific job. I have a great deal of confidence in her. She doesn’t know about all technicalities. That was contracted out to the private sector, the private sector with all the money they got couldn’t get it. If anybody’s head should roll, it should be the contractors who didn’t live up to their contractual responsibilities.”
It was Sebelius’ job to manage the contractors, who were hand-chosen by the administration. They were also given lengthy sets of technical requirements for the Healthcare.gov site. Congressman Waxman is surely aware of all of this. He ought to be, as it’s Congress’ job to oversee how the executive branch spends taxpayer money.
The Washington Post reports that Healthcare.gov failed stress tests just weeks before the site’s October 1 launch.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency in charge of running the health insurance exchange in 36 states, invited about 10 insurers to give advice and help test the Web site.
About a month before the exchange opened, this testing group urged agency officials not to launch it nationwide because it was still riddled with problems, according to an insurance IT executive who was close to the rollout.
“We discussed . . . is there a way to do a pilot — by state, by geographic region?” the executive said.
Yet the Obama administration pressed ahead with the launch anyway.