Sebelius: Delaying Obamacare Website Was ‘Not an Option’

The Health and Human Services Secretary said health care improvements were needed immediately

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is sworn in prior to the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing about the troubled launch of the Healthcare.gov website on Wednesday.
National Journal
Clara Ritger
Nov. 6, 2013, 5:40 a.m.

Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­ret­ary Kath­leen Se­beli­us test­i­fied Wed­nes­day at a Sen­ate Fin­ance Com­mit­tee hear­ing that delay­ing Health­Care.gov was “not an op­tion.”

“Delay­ing the Af­ford­able Care Act wouldn’t delay people’s can­cer or dia­betes or Par­kin­son’s, it wouldn’t delay the need for men­tal health ser­vices or cho­les­ter­ol screen­ings or pren­at­al care,” she said. “Delay­ing the Af­ford­able Care Act doesn’t delay the fore­clos­ure no­tices for fam­il­ies forced in­to bank­ruptcy by un-pay­able med­ic­al bills. It doesn’t delay the high­er costs all of us pay when un­in­sured Amer­ic­ans are left with no choice but to rely on emer­gency rooms for care.”

“So for mil­lions of Amer­ic­ans delay is not an op­tion,” she said. “People have been wait­ing for too long for af­ford­able health in­sur­ance.”

Se­beli­us ad­ded that the con­tract­ors in­volved in cre­at­ing Health­Care.gov did not re­com­mend shut­ting down the fed­er­al health in­sur­ance ex­change while HHS works to fix the bugs in the sys­tem.

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