Transcript for 1st Obama Administration Official Testifies on 'Obamacare'
This is a special group. I'm -- company -- is ABC news digital special report grilled on the hill the first Obama administration official defending Obama care. In -- front of congress today and Maryland have -- the administrator of the centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services is testifying in front of the house Ways and Means Committee. Discussing the problems with the rollout of health care dot gov and how to fix them. Here is -- governor's opening statements this morning. We know that consumers are eager to purchase this coverage. And to the millions of Americans who have attempted use health care -- have to shop and enroll in health care coverage. I want to apologize to use at the website has not worked as well as it shed. We know how desperately need affordable coverage. I want to assure you that health care not to have can and will be fixed and we -- working around the clock to deliver the shocking experience that you deserve. An apology and a reiteration that everything will be fixed soon the deadline given by the president's. November 30. So for more company. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Mary I wanna start with that November 30 deadline for a -- -- administration reached that day. That's -- the administration is now saying the by the end of next month this'll all be fixed. That's the date that they determined based off of their punch list that they're calling it their master to do list of things that need to be accomplished to get this site finally up and running. They've put an outside contractor group in charge of all of that to oversee this. Massive project to fix this but keep in mind and that means that this website will finally be operational two months after it was original was supposed to be up and running. There's still -- major embarrassment for this administration to full month out of that six month enrollment period where essentially the website was an -- -- So the good the question is I guess to kind of backing out because even hear it from health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius that she has really been sort of a poster child. For a lot of criticism from the rollout but from Maryland -- -- have a -- what -- -- that department's role in this -- out. She's been described as the quarterback of this whole process kind of an interesting analogy there but she oversees the centers for Medicaid and Medicare services. And that is where a lot of the technical work was done to develop this website so in effect she's up -- defending some of her subordinates and -- -- staff. That had to work on this -- that had to deal the technical side of this of developing this website and as you mentioned this is essentially a warm up act. Here on the -- the -- is will be up -- testifying. Tomorrow and so this is their first chance to have a stab an administration official in these hearings and this comes ahead of civilian says. Appearance -- tomorrow. And she will be on tomorrow that -- so house speaker John Boehner had a press conference as soon as that hearing started. A lot of play some of that. In all the problem of obamacare isn't just the web site it's the whole -- And I've heard from hundreds of my constituents. Or seen their premiums -- there seeing other policies are being canceled. Many there again are losing their plants. In I was at a small business in my district last Friday. They've got 46 employees they provide health care of their employees scared to death blow the hire anyone else because of they do. There their whole plan is going to be subject. Two more government approval. They don't wanna do this lives bill last week that obamacare like a wet blanket over our economy. American people are looking for more jobs better wages. About what all the uncertainty around this law employers. Are having a very difficult time making decisions. Time time to delay this it's time to fix this before it gets any worse. So -- were a lot of Republicans still adamant on delaying the bill we just heard from the house speaker saying it's not just the bill it's also not just the -- of the web site but the question is how likely is it that that bill's gonna get the late. Republicans. As you might expect are latching on to all of these delays all of these glitches. And showing that as an example of why obamacare is a failure overall they are using this. These -- as a chance today to highlight and to claim that the eat the entire Affordable Care Act is a failure and that's what we've been hearing in these hearings -- the we continue to hear from Republicans on the hill. But keep in mind they've now voted over -- -- close to fifty times to try and delay this bill. To try and and defund the bill that's not gonna happen at this point I think what Republicans would like to see at the very least is perhaps -- a delay in me in the mandates heading in -- delay in this enrollment process due to these glitches. -- some Democrats have voiced support for that but. But as of now this administration is not making any changes they're going ahead with -- Process in the fact that the fact the matter is that Republicans have been very adamant about trying to sway public opinion obviously in their favor against the Affordable Care Act and they just come out -- with a series of -- essentially spoofing those Mac PC commercials that apple used. -- here's one of them. -- in the private sector. Yeah -- Obamacare what are you doing down there. -- down for maintenance. I don't understand. I work all the time 24/7. Customers depend on it Taylor before you know we just -- the -- set the bar pretty high there -- -- the fall down again. Can -- -- should share something. -- so the fact of the matter is they've taken a serious town and obviously gone for the funny factor. This is obvious is that in the White House has not -- -- see out there. -- -- is -- not so subtle message of the Republicans about the failure of this website. But the administration continues to claim yes we're having these problems yes there are these -- but they are fixable they set that November 30 deadline. By at which they will be -- and the White House continues to highlight the positive things about the health care bill that people are starting to save money that the that it does work. Highlighting need the benefits of the program in trying to steer attention away. From nations with the web -- one of the benefits that the White House is touting is the insurance regarding young adults. That's right out with a new report today claiming that. 50% of young people should be able to. Enroll and pay a premium it's fifty dollars or less a month so they're trying to highlight the affordability of this -- some of that negative attention and staggered over to the positive aspects of this. Now there are some -- announced that it's possible that that those numbers might come down depending on. How much someone pays her for their premiums but also their deductible so it may not be quite as simple as they're trying to make it here. But again of the bigger point is that the White House is trying to highlight the positive here gets -- that negative attention away and -- back to the positive. -- again that is the meat of the bill the same time though the rollout has certainly taken center stage on a lot of people's minds on this written and the White House is refusing -- to extend the deadline to enroll in another have been problems with that -- that we. Is there any sign of movement that in fact they might change their mind. -- march 31 that is still the deadline to enroll before you go ahead and face that penalty that tax mandate there. But -- the administration says they're not changing it that this website is fixable they'll be fixed by next month and in the meantime you can -- the old fashioned way you can do it over the phone you can do it in person. But so far they are not budging on that date. March 31 all right ABC's Mary Bruce -- at the White House force today Mary thank you. Of course you can have a complete recap and continue watching the Maryland's Hafner testifying on the hill right here on abcnews.com. For non -- that's -- New York with this ABC news -- special report.
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