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Obama Has 'Complete Confidence' in Sebelius

October 30, 2013

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Kathleen Sebelius (file photo)

U.S. President Barack Obama has "complete confidence" in Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a White House spokesman said Wednesday.

Sebelius testified before the U.S. Energy and Commerce Committee for 3 1/2 hours Wednesday on problems with the healthcare.gov website, which has had persistent operating problems since it went live Oct. 1.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One Sebelius "took responsibility for many of the problems that are evident with the website, but she also deserves credit for the other aspects of the Affordable Care Act implementation that have gone well."

"The President has complete confidence in Secretary Sebelius," Earnest said as the president traveled to Boston for a speech on the ACA. "She has been responsible, as she pointed out, for the broader implementation of the Affordable Care Act. "

"The administration has acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act implementation process is not going as smoothly as we would have liked, but we are confident that when we get to the end of this enrollment period on March 31st ... This will have significantly improved."

Asked about concerns personal information given on the website might not be secure, Earnest said people can be "confident" their personal information is secure.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., directed Sebelius Wednesday to bring data on Affordable Care Act enrollment when she returns to testify before the committee in December.

Upton told Sebelius the committee wants "real numbers" on how many people have enrolled in health plans through the website.

Sebelius said about $118 million has been spent on the website itself, and about $56 million has been expended on other IT to support the site.

She assured the committee site visitors would have a smoother time after the fixes are implemented by the end of November, and apologized to the American public for the troubled federal health insurance website rollout, saying the buck stopped with her.

"You deserve better. I apologize," Sebelius said. "I'm accountable to you to fixing these problems and am committed to earning your confidence back."

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Original headline: White House: Obama has 'complete confidence' in Sebelius


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