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Friday, October 28, 2016

Having lost their attempt to extort concessions from Democrats in exchange for reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling, some Republicans are moving on to a new impossible battle: removing Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius from office.

Last week, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) issued a statement “calling on the Secretary to resign,” because of the “systematic, profound and indisputable” technical problems that the Affordable Care Act exchanges have experienced since launching on October 1.

The technological issues plaguing the health care reform’s sites have prevented thousands from fully enrolling in the health care exchanges. Furthermore, the New York Times reports that a new study by a market research company suggests that traffic to the federal website has declined since the site’s launch. While these issues have certainly not gone unnoticed by Washington, they were largely overshadowed by the government shutdown and the possibility of a debt default.

Now that President Barack Obama has signed a temporary spending measure into law, however, Republicans want to turn the spotlight back to Obamacare and its glitches.

Roberts blames Sebelius — whom he voted to confirm as head of HHS in 2009 — for the “complete failure of the exchange to enroll millions of Americans in health care plans as promised,” and described her as “incompetent.”

According to Roberts, “Americans are tired of the Sebelius spin,” and “need a Secretary who can admit when enough is enough.” He concluded that “in the absence of a full repeal of Obamacare,” he would settle for “new leadership from top to bottom.”

Roberts has been joined by Representative John Fleming (R-LA), who tweeted on Friday, “When will Sebelius be fired for ObamaCare trainwreck?”

Flemings also wants the healthcare law to be repealed, but says that “in the meantime, someone must be held accountable.”

Again, Republicans are waging a fight that they will not win.

Because Sebelius works for President Obama, he would have to accept her resignation. And although the president admitted on Tuesday that the exchanges “had way more glitches than I think are acceptable,” he recently expressed “full confidence” in the Secretary and is not asking for her resignation. Even if the president did ask Sebelius — who acknowledged that the “launch was rockier than we would have liked” on Wednesday — to step down, it would be impossible for Obama to find a replacement whom the Senate would confirm. Republicans would surely do their best to keep HHS rudderless in an effort to further undermine the Affordable Care Act’s launch.

Photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund via Flickr

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Sand_Cat

    I love how the hypocrites whine about the glitches in the program they tried to destroy!

    • We’re “whining” because we were sold a crock of lies that this would cost 90 million dollars. We were sold a crock of lies that the system was ready and would work. Yet it cost hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions.

      The largest concern I have is security. I would never, ever put my personal information into that website. if my only choice was use that website or be fined by the IRS. I would take the fine.

  • arch725

    Having dealt with Pat Roberts about 20 years go, I know who should have went back to Kansas then.

  • Lynda Groom

    Let me guess…they believe she was the one who tried to program the computers. Perhaps if they had spent just part of the last three years helping the process a little their voice should be heard.

    • TZToronto

      Apparently none of the ACA critics and those calling for Sebelius’ resignation have never tried to access a popular website. Even with websites that have been up and running successfully for a long time, you can still get hung up or your password doesn’t work or your username is not recognized or you end up in an inescapable circle, winding up on the same non-working page again and again. With a new website that is as complex as this one probably is, there are bound to be problems that need fixing. Beta testing is great, but when 5 million people try to access a site that was expecting 50 thousand, the bandwidth just isn’t there. Does Sebelius create bandwidth? Once a good chunk of people get signed up, the website will work beautifully, but right now there’s just too much demand. Does that tell us anything?

  • 4sanity4all

    Traffic has declined because people are giving them time to fix it, instead of going back time and again to see an error message. The Republicans don’t understand that concept, though, because they keep doing the same thing over and over, even though it doesn’t work. And they do not understand why they keep getting the same result. I called the telephone number, and the nice person explained to me that they are working on the web site, and it will take time to fix, and he agreed that I should check back in a few days.

  • charleo1

    I got two robo calls today, (same recorded message.) That advised the fight to
    stop the, “disaster of ObamaCare,” was not over. As it went on to say, the
    Supreme Court left open a way, it could still be stopped. By sending a petition with
    10 millions signatures to all the Governors. And if half of them refuse to cooperate,
    the horrible situation of 30 million Americans finally having a regular doctor, and an annual check up, could still be averted! Okay, I added the part about 30 million getting a doctor. But, I really did get the same call twice.

  • They want the head of the department to resign because of problems in a technical area that she has nothing to do with…smells like the Ye Olde Republic tactic of disrupt everything & distract everyone.
    I wonder if this software is another example of why off-shoring development doesn’t work?
    Just ask DeLoitte how they did in Massachusetts with the unemployment system they built for 150 MILLION that doesn’t work.

    • She was responsible to successfully deliver the project. For her to have chosen, or for Obama have forced her to have picked CGI Federal. Blame fully lies at her feet along with the failed CGI Federal organization.

  • docb

    When shopping for critical services the average consumer reviews at least a dozen times…That is what happened in Mass BEFORE BUYING..Plenty of time to get the glitches out!

    More repub bagger insanity and lies:

    • That article is just silly.

      “Under President Bush in eight years, we added $4.9
      trillion to the debt. Under President Obama, we’ve added $5.3 trillion
      to the debt in the 3.5 years he’s been in office.”


      And this is from liberal organization politifact. You can try to spin things as much as you want but the raw debt numbers don’t lie. 17 TRILLION dollars does not lie.

      • docb

        Another comment from a newbie of the right wing kindergarten grads of the month! Please..swarm somewhere where they do not see you old bagger talking points for lies and delusion.

        • I wish i was delusional and that the 17 trillion dollars of debt we have was just psychosis!

  • rogerscorpion

    Well, you know, these would be reasonable complaints–except that Social Security & Medicare weren’t initially flawless. They, like now, had to be tweaked a few times, to help them attain their original mission.

  • DaveJ

    In other words, “She should be fired for her failure to perfectly implement the system that we have have failed to destroy”. No doubt that is because their primary concern is finding a replacement for her that would get the job done and get it done right. Hmmm… if only there was someone with strong management experience like the Arabian horse association and FEMA.

  • m8lsem

    I rather doubt that the Secretary has any particular skills at very large interactive database programming, even more doubt she should be held responsible.

  • ikesambobby

    F-ing amazing!! That jerk needs to resign for being a JERK!

    • CPAinNewYork

      Which jerk are you referring to? Cruz?, Boehner?, Rubio? Please be specific.

  • Jose Sellman

    Oh, yeah,, can use their words exactly,, “They are being mean and vindictive” They got stuffed on their shutdown and not just in whiney baby fashion, they are going after her for unforeseen techincal problems because of server overload due to excessive traffic. But,, I thought nobody wanted ACA??? Sooo confuuuzzed

    • They were only unforeseen by willful ignorance. The system never functioned properly. The system was not tested until days before it went “live”. Also for the level of failure this is, I don’t believe they were unforeseen, there are only lies upon lies.

  • tax payer

    Why not go for the top and Impeach the real Culprit, so we can take our country back.

  • The comments on this blog are entirely laughable. This is not surprising as no one other than myself is likely an accomplished software architect/developer. was given 3 years for implementation. It was delivered with numerous known deficiencies from not processing income verification, to not applying smoker ratings properly which are 2 of the most glaring just does not exist portions. THEN you have the failure of the application itself. The system that just does not function.

    This is not an issue of lack of bandwidth or lack of server capacity; it is a fundamental failure of CGI Federal. CGI Federal an Obama & Clinton affiliated crony organization. CGI Federal has a track record, a track record of abysmal failure after abysmal failure. was placed with a no bid contract to CGI Federal for 90 million dollars, the current cost exceed 300 million and could be as high as 640 million. These amounts also likely don’t include backdoor dealings that they’re able to use to cook the books to attempt to lessen these staggering figures.

    Obama and Sebelius repeatedly stated that they will be ready. That it will be easy to use their website. did not undergo full system testing until days before it went live. Basically they said all of America will be alpha version testers and lets hope for the best. Unsurprisingly, it exploded into giant fireballs.

    Sebelius needs to resign for either she is a bold faced liar or incompetent. There is absolutely no way a competent leader would have entrusted our nation’s healthcare to an organization such as CGI Federal. But, this is Obama’s America where government cronyism is at the highest it has ever been.

    @Elissa you might also want some basic grammar lessons. It is “Sebelius’s Resignation” for it to be “Sebelius’ Resignation” this would mean there are multiple copies of her and heaven help us seeing as 1 is already too many!