Part 2: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Testifies Before Congress

Sebelius under attack following troubled rollout of new federal insurance marketplace HealthCare.gov.
3:00 | 10/30/13

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Transcript for Part 2: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Testifies Before Congress
Here is his point of personal privilege I just think the record ought to be clear. About Jeffrey signs. He was invited with less than two weeks notice to come before this committee he could make it that day asked for some other day he went to OMB. And had nothing to do with these cylinder contract. And he did come before us and talk about it. But his sole role was to represent OMB and I don't think he ought to have any got to be any disparagement of Jefferson -- They're very well regarded. Boxer Jim notices -- Austin. Ms. -- Thank you mr. chairman welcome -- secretary. Now we all agree that web site province -- resolved. His his country. In -- do about -- Internet in the concept of the web sites so their high expectations. The fact that hire private contract -- could not -- they're ready web site nearly three years is inexcusable. And after its fixed I hope the administration -- hold those of -- a Campo. That we can't lose sight of the big picture. That win this is -- hadn't done every American or have affordable quality health insurance and health care. This is -- I believe of -- Democrats and Republicans. The ACA's working in California and is working in my district in Sacramento and I just want to tell you -- -- -- -- constituent. Dear congressman -- silly as a south employee contract employee. I've had individually purchased health insurance for eleven years now. He -- has gone up every year -- ties more than once. Insurance that would let me and my daughter on my ex has been stopped his insurance policy that covered them vote. Shares that under used for fear they would drop me. Insurance says just struck me anyway because -- -- they were no longer offer individual plans this could happen to me at any time. I so -- -- it -- for the care act provisions make it possible and to get health insurance beginning in January from me and my daughter. As this is happening I had finished graduate school and started my own business. Slowly but surely things are happening and expecting high in my first employees and next six months. The petitions and VA CA are helping me in this too I can clearly see what -- cost me provide. Health benefits for my future employees. Understand these costs and build my business plan accordingly. And that is which is one of the letters I've received. Now. I've also heard from. My colleagues on the other side -- complain again and again about how Health Care Reform is increasing health care costs. But the empirical evidence shows something quite different. The recent trends and Medicare spending growth -- -- quite remarkable. Medicare spending growth is at historically low levels -- and -- fitness and one half of 1%. And fiscal year 2012. -- slow growth in 20102011. The same is true on the private side of health care. President consumption expenditures on health care everything from health insurance to -- to hospice care rose by just over 1%. In the past year this -- slowest increase in nearly fifty years. And secretary what -- -- data tell us about what has happened to health care costs since CA CA became law. But -- -- -- actually read in the last three and a half years since the president signed the Affordable Care Act we have seen a great slow down in the extraordinary cost increases -- inning you're out for health care in the Medicare. In. Private insurance and an underlying health care costs which affect every American some of that -- to do with. Some of the features that are currently in place around different care delivery and different payment systems that we -- Helping to drive given the tools that we have with the Affordable Care Act more quality outcomes trying to prevent hospital readmission is looking at a hospital acquired infections. Medical homes. That prevent people. In the first place or help them stay healthy in their own homes in their own places so is true that the private insurance costs are growing exposed rate in decades -- action is true. So in my house a corrected -- ACA act premiums are coming in even lower than predicted by experts like the CBO. While there about on average about 16%. Lower. -- was estimated. That those premiums would be and that's that premium not accounting for. The number of uninsured or under insured Americans who will then qualify for financial help. Since it down employer coverage they get some help from taxpayers paying for that coverage thank you -- secretary. That -- -- thank you mr. chairman madam secretary. When you spoke of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last September 1 on the first statement you made about the -- Affordable Care Act was quote. But for us Democrats Obama care is a -- Because no matter who you are -- -- linebacker in this -- a good -- first if you already haven't church like you can keep. And I in the quote. -- call this the -- hearing that misled voters intentional or not now perhaps had you known that millions would lose their coverage. Off -- -- would face financial disaster as one constituent recently told me. Or that the exchange rollout would be plagued battle -- the multitude multiple delays we have seen. You would not consider such a backhand. The fact is your words and those of the president as -- campaign last year that. If you already have insurance you like you keep it seemed to be directly refuted. About the millions of cancellation notices already sent to Americans just in the past few weeks read your statement was an accurate. Arguments before you said yes -- I not precise enough. It does strike me that millions of individuals who -- listening to speeches like yours voted believe in one thing. Now found themselves about coverage and are now scrambling. To bag covered -- marketplace and office more expensive plans. With fewer options. In response to my constituents call for -- I created a portable portal on my web site. No patches or fixes needed. Bad allows those who have experienced problems to reach out and tell me about their personal experiences. In just the last few days my office -- receipt. Dozens of complaints regarding increases in their monthly premiums artsy ones such notice from a mother early fifties. Who just received notice that not only will -- insurance premiums double. But you'll also have to switch insurance. To insurers to keep her doctor's beauty of -- effect of the Affordable Care Act can you imagine -- being. Notices like this -- to -- -- that just in my district the eleventh of Georgia. Me any more or experience and the so it's a -- Madame secretary this is akin to telling seniors that in a few weeks their Medicare coverage will be draw. Are -- premiums would double. Now -- know that need to you know all the administration would ever advocate for such a policy -- you -- subjecting. Those currently in the individual market to such government intervention. And our hope that you would agree with me in wreckage asking that these increases are -- hit -- hard she. On my constituents are all -- and stick with Republican or Democrat. Now get to my questions. You know the health care law included a hardship exemption. From the individual mandate. Yet the administration has failed to finalize the application form for the hardship exemption. Three and one half -- after we pass this wall. As of today. Can an individual plot -- hardship exemption from the individual mandate -- on healthcare dot go -- -- -- I don't know I do it's -- -- -- October 15 Politico reported that if -- online system for getting into Obama care coverages rickety. The system for getting out of the mandate doesn't even exist yet. -- -- yes says it will take another month at least. But the administration to analyze the forms -- the hardship exemption from the individual mandate. Why has taken three and one half years -- -- it's a simple. Application form -- exemption from individual mandate. Well -- as you know the individual mandate is not in place until next year we have made it very clear that if somebody is Medicaid eligible in a state. That. Doesn't. She's not mile an -- a west Alton in my -- and I -- -- -- -- sixteen million people in the individual market. Have all were received cancellation notices stating their health insurance coverage does not meet -- -- covered -- -- of the Affordable Care Act. The bill specifically -- you madam secretary the power department the criteria are hardship exemption. Will you provide all of these individuals -- hardship exemption since the Affordable Care Act is taking away their plan would you do that. No sir and I think those numbers are far from accurate -- 95%. Of Americans who have health insurance. Will be in a continuous plan Medicare Medicaid. Employer based VA 95%. 5% -- in the individual market a portion of those 5% -- -- them. About twelve million people a fraction of those twelve million. Will have a plan that doesn't meet the criteria and has not been grandfathered in they are indeed receiving notices many of those individuals half of them. Will be eligible for financial help getting in new plan and they have many more choices in the marketplace so we will not have a blanket exam. -- like a -- Indiana and there Afghanistan is expired ms. Christensen. Thank you mr. chairman and thank you madam secretary for being here and thank you for the -- Ali you and your staff at ages as has done. In implementing the Affordable Care Act to ensure that it would -- the many benefits to children and two women to Medicare beneficiaries and to ensure. Security to those who already have insurance as well as lower costs. Of course the biggest complain is have been about this. Application and new enrollment website that we have heard over and over from you that those are being addressed. But he wouldn't call and I know my cup colleagues had to call that congressman rush and I have always been concerned about those who do not have Internet access. Those who our -- -- the balloon using. The Internet and and would not use -- so I just what it is just remind everyone that there are other avenues for enrolling. Either by telephone. Or by paper either alone or with the help of a certified. -- -- up application assistant. But my question. Goes to one of the of rumors that circuit been circulating -- many rumors about how the Affordable Care Act -- affected part time workers. And some of my colleagues on the other side claim that the companies are moving workers to part time jobs because of the Health Care Reform line that low wage workers are being. That's -- mentally affected. And I understand why these claims are being made. As just another part of the ongoing effort to undermine -- law. Would you take a few minutes just set the record straight -- The part time. Issue. Certainly. 95%. Businesses in this country are small businesses under fifty full time employees. And there is no. Responsibility. That any of those employers and a to provide health coverage for their employees on the other hand there are. Now tax credits available for some of the smaller employees employers who want to offer coverage actually come into the marketplace. For the other businesses that businesses hiring fifty or more -- is a standard. That says an -- is considered full time. If he -- she works thirty hours a week. And that really came from a market snapshot with help from the Small Business Administration where employee benefits were in the private market. Based on hours of work what was a part time or full time and place. What we know about the economic data is the high point of part time workers was in 2000 innate in 2009. -- -- Last recession it has been. There is an uptick based on the impending. Affordable Care Act I am sure that there may be some individual employers making some business decisions about. Many workers and one full time and how many part time. But I can tell you there is no economic data out more employment data that supports the notion that this is in effect of the law. To -- in fact it's my understanding that part time workers at the lowest percentage of workers. And and many many years right now and. -- for the first time as you know congresswoman part time workers. Will have options for affordable health -- that never had that before. They never have options in the marketplace that never had some help purchasing. That. Coverage for themselves and their families. Their full time colleagues have but they have not so they will have options. And -- just to be clear I had another really long question but the last part of it it would be fair to say that. At every point along the way you expected this web site to work based on everything that you had been told by this contract is up until that point. -- I expected it to work and I. Desperately want to get it working -- more than anyone else you have breast or that I am and we are committed to fixing in and the only thing that. I think builds back the confidence of the public is fixing it. Thank you -- you know ladies tennis fired mrs. -- Thank you mr. chairman for holding a hearing and thank you secretary Sebelius for being with thoughts on last week when the contractors. The built the system -- here on -- small growth if they had actually delivered the system they were contract to build an all for them answered yes saw when I ask you. Did the contractors. Deliver the system that you contract -- them to build. I don't think I can accurately answer that question what we know it's we have a system that doesn't function properly -- definitely -- that things -- as we fix things. We will know more about what is broken along the way and I'll be -- so with someone and you're off. -- what I mean somebody in your office oversaw this implementation and received the product. And they either said this is the product would contract -- and paid hundreds of millions of dollars to build or wasn't just somebody in your office have the ability to get a well. I think that we can say that the products. Tested individually. Verified individually but clearly was -- -- growing consistently don't work well together. And well but -- you know I used to write programs for living -- develop software products for living if you're developing an integrated system. It's. One of the questions I had another -- Somebody interagency made a decision. Weeks literally weeks before the deployment to change the system instead of going from a browser ability -- somebody just like on kayak or. Are just like on Amazon.com. Could go shop for products look at prices before they purchase which is how consumers are used to -- -- this. Don't made the decision to change Guerrero and gather other information first before you -- let NC prices was and you made that decision. -- was that must have -- -- It was missed Abner and a team who look dad did not imposing additional -- that on. On you make the decision because they knew once people actually saw the prices and were getting reports from all of our constituents of dramatically higher prices than what they were expecting. Did you. Make the decision because you knew that when he saw the prices -- -- I want to buy the products he wanted to gather their information first sir first I. Did not make that decision. I was informed about the decision we did agree with that remember rolling off a number of features. And clearly they can see the products now there is no requirement look -- over two hours trying to get into the system. I never once got to point markets he price I did get kicked out many times that's -- those blank screens of people got. I do want to share some stories with you from some of my constituents because -- we started -- a page on our own FaceBook and on Twitter we. Are collecting what's called share what's police people -- sending -- stories and we're getting lots of stores from my constituents. Want to read you a few well -- Randall from Mandelson my health care premium went up 30%. Votes over 350 dollars a month increase. We had Michelle from Slidell our insurance premiums are going up 400 dollars a month and are deductible -- increased. And then you've got -- from Covington who said my current plan through UnitedHealth -- is no longer being offered in 2014. Due to obamacare in fact I received a letter stating that the new health care law was indeed the reason for the removal of -- her current health care plan. Madam secretary what would you tell Shawn who liked his plan and now has lost it. And he was promised by you and the president -- be able keep that plant what would you tell -- now that he's lost his plan. -- -- -- to shop in the marketplace and out of the marketplace he really think I acceptable candidate price answer to Sean if -- Again if the united chose. Not to keep shuns plan in effect for shot because of the land along like this -- the letter the law said. If you keep John's plan in place if he liked his plan if you only or like -- -- lines to shine like and the plan is still. You and I may disagree over who you work for I worked for show on you work for shown that secretary Sean lost his plan that he -- in there are thousands and millions. A -- -- throughout this country that lost the planet like because some bureaucrat. In Washington said we think your plans not good enough even though you'll like it even -- -- promised you can keep it. You're now not able keep that plan I think -- -- you deserve to get shot a better answer than you just after the shop for something else even or you lost a plan. -- -- -- Challenge time is that mr. McNerney. Famous chairman thank -- mr. secretary for coming to date hum. I'm gonna follow up on mr. Doyle's line of questioning one concern I have with the road fallout from the web site. Is that many users who tried to sign up and were discouraged because of the -- Will now be too discouraged to come back. -- -- -- -- -- -- So what he planned to do to get those folks -- to combat. Us -- we and tend to invite them back. Formally by email by message but we don't want to do that into we're confident that they will have a different experience so. Fixing the site is step one and then inviting people back to the site to make it clear that. -- our timetable is fulfilled they have four months to shop for affordable health coverage on a fully functioning site. We know we're gonna have to spend special time and attention on. Young and healthy Americans to. Don't start out thinking they need health insurance aren't aware of the laws certainly don't want to use a -- -- -- site so we're gonna have to spend some particular attention on them. Thank you come. Have the software specifications. For the web site and its related software elements including the test specifications. Has that changed since the initial roll out. I know that they are certainly are some changes because. Since October 1 and sense and so assumes the roll up as well we usually. The specifications haven't changed we are certainly fixing. As I say speed it. And reliance is is one of the issues we're taking a look at that's the performance side but they're also are some functionality sides that things do not. Work as they can including. The enrollment. Passed on to insurers so we are fixing functionality and I don't think that's a change in that respects I think it is actually making the system work the way Chad. Well are you. Org or is the department doing their -- worked as they shouldn't on the problems. Yes did you describe that a little bit. Yes as of last week -- when. Jeff sciences joined us for this short term project we asked him to lead -- sort of management team we have. Pulled in all of our contractors as well as additional talent that they may have available we have. Talked to. -- Folks in an out of the private sector and insurance. Some of their. Tech experts to get all lies in years made a full assessment develop -- Plan. For fixes along the way have a punch list are going after those fixes and we are doing. Eight dale Lee. Tech briefing and blog to tell people what we have found what we have fixed what's coming next. What the functionality is and we intend to do that until it's fully functional. Well thank you -- most secretary looking past the initial problems with the EC you rule out. Do you think that the Affordable Care Act will be successful in bending the health care cost curve and reducing the fraction of our national economy goes for health care. Well I think that we have already had some some success I think that the goal is to continue to achieve that. A fully insured population. Arguably with preventive care with an opportunity to see a primary care doctor and not go through the emergency room. Will in an -- -- reduce costs having people identified earlier who may have serious problems in managing those problems. Will reduce health costs but I think the delivery system also. Need some considerable. Helping in. Paying for not number of procedures number of test number of prescriptions but paying for health out. Thank you mr. chairman mr. lap. A favor much much chairman and madam secretary thanks for much for being with us today. Appreciate. Your testimonies for a -- Of -- throughout like to do is get these futures assuming we've received these are questions that we've received from our constituents back home specifically about what's going on with the web site and for them. And -- abroad -- like get those to you but there's a lot of questions here and I threw a lot of thoughts on -- a lot of these questions. But if I could start with last week's testimony when are the for the contractors -- here. And in one of the questions that I had posed to ms. Campbell from CGI. And her customers -- stated that they delivered the Medicare dot gov and also the federal reporting dot gov. And -- -- at that time were the sites more or less complicated than this site that whoever we're talking about here today. And she -- of course the site today was more complicated and in the questioning -- from her testimony. I end here we've been hearing about this and then testing that wasn't happening that we've. Had there individuals out there saying there's about two weeks have been I've done. But I ask you her proud to -- sufficient enough time when they did Medicare dot gov and the response that you -- that she gave -- -- was. On Medicare dot gov which was a less complicated site and she stated we had sufficient time to test the system before one life. And I asked her and a follow up then what was that sufficient time and she said re hitting number of months before the system went live at that time. And then and I just want to make sure because again you know sometimes things -- -- reported accurately. But in the US -- -- report on October 18 of this year. And answer questions going back and forth as want to make sure that there you know that you were quoted properly. -- after two weeks to review the HHS secretary concluded we didn't have enough testing that's specifically for high -- for very complicated project. The online insurance marketplace news five years construction a year of testing she said we had two years and almost no no testing. Is that correct. I don't know the quote I. I'd never suggested that we. Needed five years -- I don't know its assets from Marva letter that's sort of thing check. We finally did not ever have five years the law was signed in OK Tony Dan Woolley and then last week you were when you're down in Texas. -- being asked by reporter about. The system in the launch. And one in parts of the question was. That at what point you realize the system wasn't going to be working the way that you envision before the launch from why didn't we stumping for launch. In again this is what was reported. -- muted if we -- another six months republic tests further but I don't think anyone fully realize both the volume caused such problems. But -- also expose some of the problems we had. Now going back though to. Ms. Campbell statement that they tested more extensively. On a system that was not as complicated. But HH SC. -- -- decide to go forward. With going to very short period testing giving those -- -- McClellan looking back from it would have been -- deal to do it differently. We had a product that frankly people have been waiting decades to have access affordable health care. Medicare existed well before the web -- Medicare as a program that started fifty years ago the web site. It was an additional feature for consumer. Ease and comfort and so they were not launching Medicare they were not. Delivering health benefits to seniors they were putting together an additional way to enroll in Medicare. I would suggest sir that we had deadlines in the law that people had benefits starting January 1 we -- and any. Extensive open enrollment period so that a lot of people who were not familiar with insurance didn't know how to -- -- choose a plan had never. In in this marketplace or people who needed to understand fully what the law offered had ample time to do that. So the date that I was again. Required to select for open enrollment that's again part of the statute how long would open -- -- -- we picked that date. All the contractors. That began early in this process. In the fall. 20101. Week issued -- -- 2011 when we issued. The initial contracts to CG in QSS I knew the October 1 date. That was not changed it wasn't added to as we get closer to the system. One of the reasons again that we. -- down what needed to launch on October 1 was an attempt to. Minimize the risk to the system to get people to. Their ability to see clearly what they were entitled to what the plans were -- if they chose to to enroll. Clearly. That testing should have -- longer should've been more sufficient. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Thank you mr. chairman. Madam secretary people who -- watching this hearing might. Be under the assumption that there's some kind of political debate going on over the Affordable Care Act. I think people on Iowa but don't care anything about who's winning the political debate. They want these problems fixed and they want them fixed now and I think that's the responsibility of everyone in this room to make sure that that happens. I tried to go into the market place on October 7. And I encountered problems immediately dealing with the security code questions. Which required you to select dates one of them is type a significant date in your life today is my birthday so I put that again. I tried three different ways of entering that date and got a message each time important this is not a valid answer. Same thing for the third data entry. And a lot of times when your red drink registering on line for any thing in you have to put a date -- There will be a little -- there that tells you what the format is your required to enter. Do you know have we solved this problem in the security code area. Yes or one of the initial. Issues was just getting people into the site and the ID proofing. Which is a two step process one is that he gives some preliminary information and you set up a password but the second to ensure. That your personal data can't be. Packed can't be. Interfered with is the second step where some personalized questions which only can be verified by you are indeed part -- that. Again that was a an initial. Holed up in the system we focused a lot of attention on than in the first several -- it it was fixed only to then discover that there were. System problems throughout the application. And that peace has been fixed but I would -- it also was a function. Trying to make sure we had. The highest security standards that we -- not. A cavalier about someone's personal information being able to be. Addressed in attached and it it was a functionality that didn't perform properly but does now. One of the things keeps coming up in this hearing because you are from kansas' preferences to -- reserve -- And people want to see the wizard because of the wonderful things that he did. And the Affordable Care Act -- doing a lot of great things and Iowa. After the Moines register wrote that I -- buying health insurance on the government's new online marketplace will face some of the lowest premiums in the country. It's increasing competition and our state I what consumers are able to choose from forty health plans in the marketplace. You've mentioned the growth of health care spending is at the slowest rate in fifty years 50000 -- with seniors have received prescription drug rebates. Bans on pre pre existing conditions are allowing people to get coverage and switch carriers. And now insurance premium increases are subject to review and can be rejected by the that the people of reviewing those plans. But all of these good things don't mean anything unless we solve these problems and what I need to know is how confident are used that. The problems will be fixed by December 1. Well again congressman. I am committed to that date because that is the assessment of both inside and outside. Experts have. Analyzed and I think they kicked all the tires and looked at all the system I know that there's no confidence -- that date until we deliver on the day I am. Well aware of that and and that's on me. Since Americans were supposed to have six months to sign up. Would you support ensuring they still have six months by extending the open enrollment period for two more months. At this point congressman. They will have. Fully four months of fully functional all ways to sign up and again. There are alternate ways and the web site right now that people are getting through. The open enrollment period is extraordinarily. Long it's about six times as lying is a typical generous open enrollment period and it's important for the insurance partners to know who is in their -- so again they can stay in the market next year -- know who -- -- insuring. So we think that. The timetable. Will allow people for months time to fully use the web site they can use it right now they can use the call -- they can go to navigators they can roll. Time is expired. -- -- Thank you mr. chairman thank you madam secretary for being here today I'm sure there are other things you'd rather be doing that we welcome the opportunity to have this conversation. I'm gonna ask the court to bring you a document people look at so -- -- ask you a couple questions. If you can go to. Page eight on that I have highlighted. An item they're. But this is a copy of the a CGI slide show from October 11 discussing technical issues that must be addressed within the web site. They don't page eight to one -- -- -- you. CTI recommended that CGI and -- the C -- heavy review board to brio which issues can technically be solved and which. Should politically. Be solved. Was such a review board convened. -- sir I can't tell I have never seen this document and I'm not aware of this recommendation -- bid is CGI is responsible for the website correct. The -- EI operate possible for the application -- for the applications this. Does it surprise you that in the slide show that they gave in October 11 they acknowledge political. Reasons for her -- again by this I've never seen this document I've no idea what that means. Did you ask CGI when they came last year and can you find out for us it's such a review board was done and if you -- decision for Natal political reasons -- the other. The reasons and find that out for us. Sir -- that question needs to go to CGI but I can I can ask them to report to you. Will they Q isn't -- document if I understand that yes not -- -- Would you turn to page nine of that document please. In eight states challenges on page nine in this a presentation by CGI and it says. Under challenges unable to determine at this time -- low enrollment counts are attributable to system issues. Or duty users choosing not to -- -- an appointment. So those are two completely different issues obviously if it is the system -- that's something you have confidence at some -- will be resolved correct. Answer it if it's a user selection issue that's an entirely different. Story is -- not -- -- now. You know when you use a phrase -- earlier about a punch lists. That's that's like -- somebody move into -- house. Someone's buying a new house and they they go through and they've been told this house -- to be rated. And they get in and it's not finished part of the plumbing not write the in the wiring wrong in the -- they go win this this creates the situation -- You know we. Health care shouldn't be a zero sum game. I mean we want to be fair to everyone we want -- we want to help people who were vulnerable. But the same time we shouldn't have to hurt folks we get people in and in my district in my state. You are getting notices of cancellation they're being told the higher premiums that they're having in these are great concerns that we have been had a we work through that. And I want to say I appreciate you accepting responsibility. For these initial rollout failures that we've had. But who is ultimately responsible it is the president correct. For the web site that -- resident -- the president is alternately responsible for. For the roll out ultimately no more no -- that we are responsible for the -- but but who do you answer to. I answer to the president fight so is the president not ultimately responsible like a company CEO would be. -- he's the president United States I have given him regular reports and those. I am responsible for that implementation of the Affordable Care Act that's what he. He asked me to do that's went out -- -- saying that the president is not responsible for HHS. Sir I didn't says that okay. So the president ultimately is responsible I think it's great that your team player taking responsibility it is the president's ultimate responsibility correct. And you clearly. Whatever yes he is the president he is responsible for government but time is its -- kind of expect mr. line. Mr. chairman thank you very much for -- began I'd like to ask unanimous consent Smit and the record some articles. From New Mexico publications Albuquerque journal in Albuquerque business journal first entitled. Small business owner health exchange we'll -- me -- thousand dollars a month without objection. Thank you mr. speaker and -- in my time did you -- and -- so I'll try to get through this mister chairman. Madam secretary. I was intrigued by a line of questioning by congressman green. Asking questions about the individual market place how volatile with the individual marketplace before the Affordable Care Act became law. I would say it was in a marketplace at all it was. Kaiser Family Foundation reports -- over 50% churn out of individuals that have coverage in the individual market. Churn out coverage air -- year they either lose coverage they're priced out or drop it it is that. Consistent with which are aware of. That's an accurate snapshot about a third of the people are in for about six months and. Over half are in front a year or less so individuals that were in the individual market place both for. The passage of the Affordable Care Act -- not have the same protections as those that -- group coverage that's true. And would those individuals in the individual market place sometimes have higher -- -- Higher co pays and limited out of pocket costs for often. Coverage that was medically underwritten or excluded whatever medical condition they -- in the first place. So these are typically one year contracts if they use the plan because they got -- -- in a car accident or a victim of domestic violence. Sometimes -- be thrown out their plans -- the rates would go out. Yes. I think that's important to note madam secretary and I'm intrigued as well that my understanding is last month HHS conducted an analysis that found. The nearly six out of ten uninsured Americans getting coverage to the marketplace will pay the hundred dollars per month -- -- cracked. And I have a plan available for less than a hundred dollars -- that's their choice yes. And that number would be even higher would be better. If more states chose the option of using federal funds to expand Medicaid to cover their low income population. Now very definitely that's just a marketplace snapshot those are people who will be in the marketplace. Madam secretary. I don't think favored anyone from the other side of the -- Today my Republican colleagues. Ask -- how can congress work with you and support you in fixing this website and fixing this problem. I hope that we all agree we want this web site fixed I would -- tell anyone that would disagree. -- one accepting that I'm glad to hear that we agree with this now madam secretary what can congress do to work with -- To fix his web site. Well I'm not sure that there is hands on work that you can do. -- may -- we have some. Technical expertise but I would say getting accurate information to constituents is helpful. Letting people know that they can check out the facts and the law. That they may be entitled to some financial support that cancellation of policies means that the policy that they had. May not exist but they have a lot of choices of new policies and a law -- now says they must be insured. In a new policy that they don't have to be insured but -- company at a higher price. I appreciate them -- of secretary. Going back to the individual marketplace madam secretary did this congress. In previous years before the Affordable Care Act make it -- -- for health insurance companies to raise rates on someone. After they submitted a claim for one of the -- -- becoming sick or getting rid of preexisting condition -- Madam secretary one last note here it seems that we've received some. Horrible news that there are bad actors party taking place of fraudulent web sites to imitate the health care exchange or misleading seniors into disclosing the personal information. I've signed onto a letter to -- led by my colleague representative rolled Ruiz out of California. Request that you private prioritize. Fraud prevention efforts what's administration -- to prevent these fraudulent acts protect personal information. I can take congressman that the president. Felt very strongly that that needed to be part of our outreach effort which is why the attorney general and I convened. Representatives of state attorneys general insurance commissioners. The US attorneys. And the Justice Department and the -- Federal Trade Commission which has jurisdiction. To make sure that we first got out ahead of some of this developing consumer outreach. No one should ever give personal health information because personal health information is not -- Where these policies any -- that's a red flag we want to make sure that people. Turnover. Potential fraudulent acts we -- -- training in place for navigators we have our law enforced. Gentleman's time has expired. I would just did note that we. -- -- in his secretary were. And we're hoping that we can have all members asked some questions but we also -- -- with four minutes we're gonna have little trouble so I'm gonna ask unanimous consent that we. Cried to limit our review our questions and answers to no more than. Two minutes of time he's the mr. Waxman. And it is that okay. Because otherwise wounds. They a lot of folks who automobile -- -- question at all. Realist and mr. chairman I would have to admit to -- that questions that get submitted we would be happy to provide timely OK I'll -- it. -- so can I do that so would that will try to minutes. Now mr. Lance. I guess I've won the lottery on the two minutes -- -- -- that is really tired -- it. Two money second set mister chairman. On the web site madam secretary the contractors testified last week that they needed more than. Two weeks four and two and testing why in your opinion. -- was or not more than two week. Again. We had products -- the insurance policies themselves by companies. Were. Loaded into the system so we hit we could -- up until then but it wasn't until September mid September that that was done -- the -- and the contractors said. We would've loved more testing time but we think we're ready to go ahead. I've I -- -- that will ultimately be a dispute between CM -- and HHS and the contractors and if there's anything we can be regarding that because. Obviously that didn't work and I had thought of in this as the signature issue the president that the web site would be ready. Number two in my judgment the president's statements were over statements. The four Pinocchio is is an indication of that. There's a report in the in New Jersey newspapers this morning -- 800000. People in New Jersey. Who purchase their policies -- individual or small employer markets will be affected. By this. Mr. Walton in a previous question. Mention the fact that. In an individual market you would be able to keep -- policy grandfathered. Yet regulations -- issued by HHS. Say that grandfathered status would not. Be a continued. For so much as a five dollar change in eight cope way. Is that accurate -- do you believe that that is a significant. -- -- -- gave I think in the grandfather regulations. A guide for were how. Pricing could change medical inflation and I think it was in most cases it. Plus 15%. There were some individual consumer. Out facing issues that were more rigid than that. But I would say that in terms of having companies being able to collect a profit margin that was certainly built into the grandfather. I think that's too little a changed its -- Gentleman's time is expired -- -- Thank you mister chair and welcome. -- -- secretary. Thank you for feeling their questions and for. Responding. When you were extended the courtesy to offer -- response. Has a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act. I'm frustrated and I think it's fair to say that the American people are frustrated as well and I heard you hear it many times this morning say you're frustrated. I think by and large people want this -- work. When I talk to folks back home of the -- the region of New York that I represent. Even people who oppose the law initially. -- rooting for the failure. The Affordable Care Act instead they want congress to come together the fix these problems. So that we can move -- real issues that matter like creating jobs in growing the economy. But home State of New York which also experience web site problems at the outset has now completed enrollment determinations on over 150000. New Yorkers. With more than 31000 having already signed up for quality low cost health insurance. Given that many states have had success in overcoming these initial web -- issues. Has HHS looked at what the state web sites are doing as it searches for solutions to fix health care. Absolutely and we shared a lot of information going in. I think that the hub -- -- that we have in our web -- that all states are using including the State of New York is is fully functional and that's good news for New York in California and others who are running their own. State web -- but we are learning from them -- Shared information with them and we we are eager for all the help and assistance moving forward. Thank you similar in many states made the -- choice of rejecting Medicaid expansion contained in the ACA that would. Help some of their -- citizens get access to this health care a situation. This is despite the fact that Medicaid expansion is almost entirely financed by federal dollars. Can you comment broadly on HHS has planted the future to encourage more states to run their own marketplaces and expand Medicaid to the clock -- function as designed. Well absolutely most recently last week the state of Ohio did. Move -- -- that Medicaid market and we now have. Thirty governors I think 27 states have fully completed the process another three are in the process Republicans and Democrats. Who some of whom sued us about the constitutionality. Of the act two are now. Deciding that for the citizens of their state. They want to be part of the expand -- Medicaid and we will continue to have those conversations it's not just about the marketplace it's also -- -- thank you -- time -- expired mr. Katz doctor Cassidy. You said that only if and an individual policies only canceled -- -- changes significantly. But to be clear after may 2010. If co insurance went up by any amount. Even by a dollar according to your regulations. That would not qualify as a grandfather clause just have just to have that out there for the record. -- gathering them by a dollar that said I get a read a letter from someone in my district Adrian she says that down how she lost her coverage. She lost her coverage because spousal coverage is gone she's gone on the exchange doesn't qualify for a subsidy. But -- -- premium out of pocket cost under any plan is 101000 dollars a year she feels -- -- since she feels betrayed by her government. Now she have to sit -- asking ourselves is this fair. -- -- she do you think that this would be fair. Actually Cassidy -- want to start by the. And -- that you gave is not accurate I was told him five dollars not -- -- -- that's for that's for the co pay enough for the Cohen parents for the coinsurance it to any amount. But I have limited time he think that it's fair if you where she if you -- Adrian do you think this is fair loses her spousal coverage announced ten K no subsidies. Sir I don't have any idea what she's looking and I can tell you that again based on. What we've seen in remarkable scene in the plans people will be getting full insurance for the first time as well at a. And again this is what she reports. Do you think it's fair what -- reports is true do you think it's fair. I can't answer -- fair not fair I don't know what she was paying her what chats are hidden let's move on it she had -- -- insurance Richard writes that his daughter. Received a note that is premiums going up because -- -- won't put over costlier patients. Now it's possible that the only people that sign up will be those who are more costly. There's HHS have plans on what to do if only those who are more costly sign up -- premiums rise for everybody. I think sir that's what we're trying to do to make sure that but if only the cost -- sign -- Do you have plans if and accept the importance of the individual mandate that you just outline. Getting rid of preexisting condition but if only that if only the -- -- -- please sign up you have backup plans. We will encourage others to sign up that's why there's a penalty as -- -- that there are -- tobacco plants and animals dying man is expires. -- -- -- Thank you mr. chairman madam secretary nice to see you. I come to this hearing with a little bit different perspective Kentucky's doing a great job with our exchange as of this morning we have 350. Didn't. Thousand people explore the web site. 59000 started applications 31000. Are now fully enrolled in new coverage and 5000 just in the last week. And I think very very importantly more than 400 businesses have begun applying for their employees as well so the idea that somehow this is -- Going to be bad for businesses is not borne out -- Kentucky. Would it be safe to say that of 36 states have done what Kentucky and new York and California done instead of fourteen that. The rollout would have been much smoother -- that web -- would have been much easier to construct. I don't think there's any question that the you know. In January. 2013. We knew how many states were. Not running their own website in. I think mid February we learned about partnerships so it was not until that point that we learned that 36 states would actually be. Coming through the -- having said that. We should -- anticipated we should've planned better we should have -- better I don't think that's any excuse but we clearly are running a very different. Vehicle for enrollment that we thought we -- going to run in march of 2010. I'm on the subject of cancellation of policies isn't it true that first of all the federal government can't require insurance companies to sell insurance. That they can't federal government can't require insurance companies to sell insurance and in fact -- insurance companies all over the country are making very. Difficult decisions now about where they want to participate where they don't and in some markets are actually trying to get out of the market. Canceling people because they wanna play and other markets and so forth -- -- making those decisions now following now we have more insures 25%. More insurers in the individual market -- we did. Prior to the loving -- it. -- a lot of dynamics going on here that doesn't are not necessarily an indication that the president misled anybody the Republican business decisions -- made all over now. -- cancellation of policies again that one year contract notice is a routine in the individual market it has been in place for years. And for. A lot of people. They air policies now. They're being canceled because there being notified you can no longer be medically underwritten. We can't charge you more because your woman we won't ever. Have that kind of limitations on. What your policy can pay out or charge you exorbitant out of pocket rates of those policies will cease to be. Offered in the marketplace German's time is expired. Mr. Guthrie. -- -- sector for being here and last week. Mr. -- from circle was here know the president's talked about the alternatives to the website is phones that dot of calling or using paper paper applications. And what he said I think it's that it with a phone they take the paper applications but betterment of say -- portal. Saw -- you get around the issue of getting on and getting blocked -- but also but they're still issues with data within the web portal as you said weakening yet. -- -- -- he's even signed up so he also said because this surge in paper applications it's like six to eight weeks to process. So -- November 30 is when this will be ready to breaking news and it even if you do -- now -- which are getting close to January 1. If somebody does lose their insurance so -- signing up for this -- -- to January 1 even though you have a march 31 open enrollment. What happens to these are is -- a contingency plan for these people would continue their insurance. -- I I think that I am. We have. Improvements every day on speed at the site. Serpico was giving you early snapshots of difficulty. Accessing the site I think that's greatly improve the city's process in the -- Actually well I understand that it is the site for a public application into the site and get -- determination that's part of what the processes so. This site is. Part of the portal all the way right -- this is an integrated insurance vehicle and so that will improve and we again with four months of contiguous service which is far longer than most people had. Some of these cancellation numbers and mr. Garrity again pointed this out I am from Florida lacrosse but it's true and everyone else. These are not. January 1 numbers they are -- -- so over the course of 2014 when an individuals policy. Is due to expire that individually about Elizabeth's body had a good and. Our January 1 and not be able to get coverage if the website is and and Bender said they -- months to test they would like to had months and months to test this with things that. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- I would say we're testing as we go this is beta testing going on right now that's why we're fixing and how we can identify things people are getting through every day. And we now know a lot and -- about it at the paper prod. Says it does take even for weeks and it's November 30 and people's council in January 1 you that you the -- -- a contingency for that person. Well again typical insurance is two to four weeks of sign up they will have two full months of sun. Challenge time is expired mr. Boesky. Thank you madam secretary for bringing to millions of Americans access to affordable comprehensive. Health care coverage. That's going to be there when they they needed I want to thank you especially as -- -- woman. Women can no longer being a woman can no longer be considered being a preexisting condition. Women can no longer be charged more than demand for the same covered women have access to comprehensive benefits. Like prescription drugs -- pretty free preventive screenings and free contraceptive coverage and maternity care which is often left out of coverage. And the days of complicated pregnancy or -- -- -- or domestic violence being a preexisting condition. Those days are over. You know I want to say to my colleagues after a three and a half year campaign. Two. Repealed to discredit. To even shut down the government about over Obama care I want to say -- Over yet. We all agreed that there are problems but these are problems that I -- being fixed. And so I I want to to ask one and I what to say that. What we did under Medicare part he can be an example of how we can work to gather. And -- -- -- chairman Upton and I both sent a letter asking for more money for community based groups to help implement. The program and make it work we can work together. So if you could just briefly say -- the navigators how important I'd say in making this system work for the American people. While leveling -- congresswoman is that a lot of people are not. Web savvy. And are not. Frustrated by the website because they don't have a computer they don't -- use a computer they don't trust a computer they need a live human being to. Ask questions get questions answered talk about the planned talk about insurance. So the navigators playing a hugely important role we have about 2500 trained. Navigators on the ground right now we have. Thousands more community -- sisters who are trained and ready to go about 45000 agents and brokers have gone through specific. Affordable Care Act training but those individuals working with. There clients customers and in the case of navigators and communities sisters just the public at large. They're not paid by a company they are not collecting a -- they just want to help people get coverage -- hugely important. -- tenant mr. Olson. I think the chair and welcome men and secretary. Thank you let go with a quote. From American icon. Hold up a -- It says. If he -- having a problem. It's our problem. Am glad to hear you braces philosophy during your testimony today -- -- -- cited a law 1256. Days ago. And since then there's been user problem after user problem after user problem. Regarding health care dug up. Nor deputy administrator for consumer information. Gary Cohen testified one month ago where we are sitting. That this -- quote CMS has worked hard to test it. Structure that will allow Americans to enroll in coverage -- early simply. And securely. -- quote. Yet. -- The Wall Street Journal. You told them that you need five years of construction. And one year of testing. The program has crashed and burned at least three times. In the user is still having problems. -- -- -- It's spend down the whole time -- -- -- the system is down at this moment. My question -- very simple. When did you know. These chains are going down a month the day a quarter. And did you tell the president what she knew. Sir I was informed that we war. Ready to launch on October 1. That contractors who we had as our private partners told us and told this committee. That they had ever suggest. EMS team. Felt we were ready to ago I told the president that we were ready to go clearly. I was wrong. We were wrong I we knew that in any big new complicated system. There would be problems no one ever imagine the volume issues and problems that we've had and we must fix it. -- -- Credible journalists that you -- -- six years in this prayer I brought it exploded and repeated I can guarantee you I. I would have never stated that because the law was passed in march of Tony tan I chose the open enrollment date I don't know where that quote comes from -- jet is not for me. Gentlemen stand -- the -- mister mister Barrow. Thank you mr. chairman and things pertaining -- they madam secretary I suspect that deep down most people on this committee support the concept of reforming insurance market so the more people have access to better insurance coverage. We have disagreements about the means used to get of those -- -- alive. Voted against the Affordable Care Act. He sings it every -- -- -- some new going wrong I'm concerned the short term enrollment problems could be calm. Long term insurance market problems. My constituents already losing confidence -- regardless of the -- thing often I think that would begin restore their trucks just delayed the individual mandate penalties until we're sure the -- going to work. It's not fair to penalize consumers when their noncompliance is not their fault. We also need to take and make sure additional fits and starts will cause larger problems right now -- concern about. Who's to blame what is about what went wrong and how to fix it -- -- -- ensured that happen again. Nearly all of our constituents want and the health insurance -- be -- huge mistake you're so blinded by our love or hatred for obamacare we -- opportunities to address its flaws. Now the subject of technical problems becoming market problems. To hand problems of -- getting into the system snowball into risk pool problems where those who. And choose not to enroll and actually affect the cost of those who do choose to -- That's certainly -- restful need to balance markets are you need people who are. Older and sicker to be balanced with people who are younger and healthier that's helpful works at what point -- we -- -- a problem. Capping the risk pool if the -- problem's cause of affecting folks who are injuring. What are you gonna look forward to that -- -- -- -- used decides something needs to be done. Well again answer we will be monitoring during the six months of open enrollment as will our insurance partners. Who is coming into the -- that's why we want to give this committee and others reliable informed data about not only. Who it is but what the demographics are and where they live that's part of it -- Things aren't better by the end of this next mind. What point and start thinking about for the delays and it imposing penalties. Well again I think that having a defined open enrollment period is one of the ways that you then make an assessment if you have a pool that works or not you cannot have an unlimited. Open enrollment period with any insurance company because that really doesn't work. Mr. McKinley. Bankers chairman last week. Last week the -- here representative. Eric Campbell said that she admit her contracts. Obligations and met specifications. And -- -- dealer market was with pace that this case wasn't part of the specification. Do you -- and we after. What you which. You would do testified to did she she said you would testify that she did complete -- contract in accordance with the specification. We do you. Sir I don't think it until the product is working the way it's designed to worry that anybody has finished their job and that. Really -- and chances are we're time you know they've shortened our time with so. If she hasn't. She hasn't met their specifications the year we're still use here so worried the American taxpayers still paying the money to fix the problems that she didn't do part of the theater company didn't do -- The -- -- of -- contractors have been paid at the amount he beat out there for this work into the future as we go to correct this pro. He will make that determination as the work goes forward I would tell you -- that as we learned what needs to be Exelon invitational now they are about a -- start at that time for him because down. Who -- to software now that now that -- this has been developed it with taxpayer money to develop the software to do this. It is by the senators from Medicaid Medicare services -- its own biased okay will they be -- use of violations. With four other clients. Who not to my knowledge I think it is safe specifically designed for the marketplace with these are products in mind that the delay as questions are trying to -- -- the American public that. -- IB -- It she testified that she thought that was something we should have done under HHS use you -- commanders view the case. HHS recommends that for software development that they should have an independent verification and validation program. But it was used in this case can you share with us and it -- time it's gone why we didn't use -- -- -- -- And I don't think that's accurate answer at every point along the way there is -- here and -- -- testing their independent. -- you recommend outside verification and validation not someone -- there -- There is say there is a level of company itself attested testing there is a level of CM mass testing and then there is an independent. Test on each piece that contract an independent not only not -- Done independently and that's what you that the -- times than it needs to be done independently people that do not have as expire. No -- -- I am I will get you the information but there are three levels of testing one of them is independent for every. Every piece of this contract yes. This is cancer. Good morning. -- open enrollment began a few weeks ago the people back home in Florida who are helping their neighbors sort through the the new options for coverage that the navigators. Were taken -- back. By how grateful. People -- To have new pathway. To the doctor's office and the care they need affordable. Options. The there are no longer being discriminated against because they had cancer. And diabetes or asthma in their -- grateful they said. They said to me directly it's like they found water in the dancer. Right now they are it's surprisingly they said it's taking time because people want to sort through all of these options. Before they finally. Sign up at the end of -- 26 week enrollment period. It's so. We must fix the marketplace we months to to meet their expectations and we have very high expectations for you and for the administration. But I think it's an important to point out the Affordable Care Act is more than just a website. It in despite only obstruction by Republicans in my home state of Florida nationally they even going -- -- to shut down the government. Millions of Americans are already benefiting in their benefits it -- not. Tied to health care dot. Some madam secretary let's clarify what's -- despite health care -- -- Room -- that the AC it makes to employer coverage and Medicare where the vast majority of Americans receive their coverage are not dependent. On health care -- up. That's correct. And so the delays and problems with health care dot gov do not affect the millions of individuals thanks to -- ACA can no longer have to worry about -- time. Monetary caps on their coverage it previously sent them to bankruptcy. That's ads -- and I think the quote that the president was quoted recently saying if you have. Health care you can. You don't have to sign up for the new marketplace was referring to. That large -- -- -- 95% of injured Americans his plans are silent stay in place and move forward and I understand the frustration with a website what I don't understand what people are not similarly outraged. By -- lack of Medicaid coverage and many of our states do you find that hypocritical. Well I think it's very troubling that millions of low income working Americans will still have no affordable option if states don't take advantage of the expansion program leaving. State. -- the cost of uncompensated care families -- the cost of parents who can't take care of their kids workers not able to go to work and people still accessing care through emergency room doors the most expensive least effective kind of care they can -- gentle lady's time has expired. Mr. Gardner. Thank you mr. chairman and thank you secretary as serious are being here. Here's my letter this is the letter the my family got canceling our insurance. We chose to have our own private policy back in Colorado so we could be in the same boat as every one of my constituents. And yet my insurance policy has been canceled the White House web sites if you like your health plan you have you can keep it. -- -- -- -- Against -- I don't know how -- you've had your policy year why aren't you losing your insurance. -- why aren't you losing your health insurance. Because I'm part of the federal employees why are you in the exchange you're in charge of this law correct why aren't -- in the exchange. Because I'm part of the federal employee health why aren't you in the -- why when you go into the exchange you're you're part of this law you're literally in charge of this law. Should you be any different than all the other Americans out there who were losing their health insurance time part of the 95%. With affordable available health coverage at -- -- -- -- most Americans -- available to them. Why will you not agree I am not eligible for the exchange. I would -- -- have coverage you -- decide to drop your coverage sugar import you have the choice to decide not to use that is not true answer I chose not to -- members of congress are now part of the exchange thanks to an amendment can't forget it by congress but I -- had -- with all due respect if I have affordable coverage in my workplace I am not eligible to go into the marketplace. The -- that started at law. I would madam secretary I would encourage you to be just like the American people and entered the exchange and I agree to find a way to really -- -- clear that secretary. And I would like to show you an advertisement that's going on in Colorado right now. This is an advertisement that a board member. Of the Colorado exchange has -- do you agree with this kind of advertising for obamacare. I can't -- -- and again it's a college student doing a keg stand. If the Colorado exchange did that you're a parent of this -- advertise marketplace do you approve of this kind about my -- I. Don't see -- I don't know what it is and I did not approve it this is estate based -- that's a pretty big font. That's a pretty big picture -- -- And you pass it until I approve of it that you can't have the ability to opt out by the way as federal employee you could take the insurance so I just I have to make available employer based coverage I would also like to submit a waiver for my district from obamacare -- you'll consider waiving the Obama care for the fourth congressional district. Tenements generous time is expired. -- your policy covered the -- Mr. Matheson. Well thank you mr. chairman and madam secretary thanks for your your time. -- UNESCO on the issue of the fixes health care -- we've we've we've had a lot of conversation about that today. And we talked about confidence levels for being ready by certain time but I think one question that a lot of us have is. Can you define what the man to the problem is there -- scale -- metric by which we understand. How bad this is today and how we're gonna get to where we go to have -- fixed. Well against her I've been. Informed that the problems are yen and the reports I've seen are really into areas. They are in the performance area which is speed and reliability. It's too slow. It doesn't have reliable transfers and and functionality there are parts of the system that just don't make accurate. Transfers so -- We have done an extensive assessment they are prioritize. As I indicated earlier one of the priorities is the enrollment. Features which pass individual information to the company's where they want to enroll that is not reliable at this point that companies are not getting accurate data. So it's an example of the kind of thing we know we need to fix. And is -- -- way to give you set up your metrics to figure out if we're making progress in terms of you for fixing those issues with. Speed and performance for performance and functionality. Again with with the team and Jeff science at the head of -- reporting to Maryland there are definitely. Comprehensive set of issues going forward that will be measured and an accelerated. Do you have target dates along the way if you want to meet the November 30 time to assume it's. Functional what you want your target metrics along the way to make sure -- on that path. My understanding is yes they're sort of groups of targets that fixes as you know can be. Loaded together and it is at one at a time so they don't take days but they're trying to. Determined with a specific pet that's one of the charges that US SI has. Really looking at. The umbrella of what needs to be fixed prioritizing them figuring out what. Destabilize is -- something else is fixed how they can be grouped together and that report will be in later next week that. Tenements that time inspired ms. Pompeo. Great thank you thank you for coming -- this about surprise like to talk rock Kansas a little bit today. Much like -- some of Michael as it made references to the wizard -- -- I don't think anybody -- from Kansas should be able to do allegory but. My my my story with the -- I think about it those folks worked awful hard but on the yellow brick road. In the end of the day when they got there and pull back the curtain it down there was nothing that they didn't. Already -- And that at -- that occurred on the Affordable Care Act I think people finding that it's not exactly what they're gonna have worked so -- to find their way cute as well. But public to stores -- there's this commitment that that if you like your plan you can keep have a collateral submit for the record from mr. Brito against human elements on the of the nine Benton. He got the ball out from blue cross blue shield says because your current plan does not opt for the benefit standards specified. You'll be discontinued on December 31 of -- that's good news. And then there's group of folks pizza -- you know the company from Kansas. Franchisees found that there lots of those folks have got taken employees. Families. Who were working there and they've gone from having full time jobs to part time jobs. So they aren't able to keep the health care plan that they. Why why -- the plans these folks had good enough when you -- the insurance commissioner in Kansas and when you were kansas' governor. But those plans today aren't good enough for those hardworking cans -- spam. It's. -- tell you in man rolls away. Had the honor of serving up in Kansas I worked every day to try and eliminate some of the discriminatory features of the insurance industry that finally with the Affordable Care Act are gone. Night successor. An elected insurance Republican commissioner sandy Prager and I work done a whole series of plans to expand coverage so I did. Good work on these issues we were not able to. Necessarily that you'd you'd have these two -- Georgie cities were I think -- -- lousy plan to -- tab owners said not true insurance. You think that the -- that were offered when -- the insurance commissioner war true insurance. In the individual market the insurance commissioner in Kansas and virtually every place in the country. Does not -- -- regulatory authority over the planes have been a lot of the hard questions really true insurance plans when -- and a lot of them are not that your insurance fund thank you. -- back. -- from Vermont to Welch thank you I'm gonna try to just summarize quickly what I've been hearing. Number one on the web site must be fixed you've been very forthright in your gonna fix it. Number two. I'm here to -- change we've had a real battle about health care. We had a battle in this congress it was passed the the president signed -- -- -- court affirmed at a really brutal battle there was some. Election where the American people affirmed it. And then the last gasp effort was -- shut down and the threat of debt default. But what I'm hearing today is that there are problems in people want to fix -- because all of misrepresent people who are gonna win or lose depending on how effectively this. Is rolled out. Third there's some significant question about existing insurance policies but the presence -- and so -- But let's acknowledge something. A lot of insurance companies were ripping off. Innocent American people by promising them insurance until they got -- and then it got canceled because they quote had a preexisting condition that -- quote disclose. That's gotta hand. The challenge for us going forward. Is to make health care affordable. So madame secretary my question is. Is there any indication that there's been a slowing of premium increases. As a result of the Affordable Care Act. Because unless we can keep those premium increases down they can't rise faster the rate of inflation wages and profits all of us are gonna lose -- I would say that trends in -- private market. Over the last three and a half years -- that. Cost increases have slowed down our rising at a lower rate than. The decades before and in -- in this individual market old individual market. That typical increase was 16% Nigerian -- -- out rate increase and often that came with additional medical underwriting so. It gives you a sense of how. The costs were. We know that Medicare costs are down we know that Medicaid costs actually headed. For -- and an underlying health care costs are down. These rates in the new marketplace. Have coming in about 16%. Lower on average than was projected not by spent by the Congressional Budget Office. And we know that in many of these markets they're much more competitive I believe in market competitiveness in that actually drives down rates. States where the most companies are participating have the lowest rates and new companies have -- man. Significantly below the old monopoly companies that often dominated this individual market place so. We're on a -- are we there now but you're absolutely right affordable coverage at the end of the day for everybody is the -- Can't yield back thank you manage the man said Graham kinda mentioned that your -- -- 1230. Before we started second questions have been missed. Mysteries there's -- mr. -- mr. Kissinger. -- -- -- -- -- -- I see sheer panic madam secretary thank you for being here. You stated earlier to mr. harper that you give the president -- regular updates on the marketplace. The president stated that he knew nothing about the status and functionality of the marketplace how often and what were the subjects of those updates. Well I think there were. A series of regular meetings. -- with. The president -- some ever federal partners with offices of the White House from the OMB two others. On a monthly basis. Giving. Reports on and policy and where we were going none of those I would say. Involved detailed operational discussions that wasn't the level it was are we coming together -- we have companies to either. Plans and I understand that and I. Obviously when it comes to the president United States certain level of details yet to see -- the 1020000 foot overview but in terms of the actual functionality whether it's the website of the marketplace. He was legitimately caught off -- -- mark -- -- I assured him. And that we were ready to go everyone new with a big plan that there were. Likely to be some problems no one look at. Anticipated this level -- -- a second -- quick question where is HHS getting the money to pay for these fixes are coming from other HHS accounts. Have you used -- transport authority to move money from non ACA programs to pay for the cost. A gentleman in the president's health care program and if so from which programs have been drawn money. -- -- defects is not a CA related. Well as you know congressman it's been two years since we've had a budget at HHS and we also have not had. Adam -- the president's requested. Implementation budget. Authorized by the congress. Each of those years we have. Used. Not only resources internally but I do have legal transfer authority that I've used and nonrecurring expense fund we will get you all the details of that great -- and the answers yet though there is some non -- CA money being -- and used for the implementation of -- there is money that is specifically designed for war either outreach and education so that health centers have hired education outreach people. As part of their outreach for health personnel I would say it's it's definitely related cause to get expanded health care thank you famous -- mr. Sheridan. It's. Thank you mr. chairman thank -- -- -- secretary for being here. My understanding is that -- a lot of the the companies. Insurers that have been offering plans. In the individual market the ones -- sending out these. Notices -- are actually. Repositioning themselves in the health insurance exchange. To offer alternative plans disaster correct at. I'm and in addition says to those insurers have been ending an individual market you know have a lot of other. Companies and insurers providing plans in health insurance market. That -- so the way I look at this is and I want to -- -- tickets. A while back when this season was still underway and I was standing in line. And I got up to the ticket -- -- -- -- closed the window. But I didn't have to go home because they open another window a few feet away. So essentially what's happening is people are coming up on the renewal period beginning up to the window of the individual market they're being told that windows closed but if you go. Right down the line here there's another window that's open and by the way when you get there. You'll get better coverage potentially reduce premiums and if you go down the -- three -- some subsidies in May also be. Available to you so this notion of people are being turned away. From an affordable. Products. That provides good quality care is preposterous in fact they're being steered. To a place where -- -- get. Good quality coverage. In many instances much better than the coverage that they had before. At an affordable rate that is supported by the subsidies it can be available to many many people this is this is. What so promising about the Affordable. Care Act and so I think it's important for people to understand that that. -- not being shot they're just being steered someplace else -- they can get a good. Opportunity. And I think the first option for those companies is to say we'd like to keep you here and hear the plans we're offering but. To be fair customers will now have an opportunity to look across and landscape which they couldn't before they will have. Entry into those other windows which. This in condition and as you say about 50% its market we'll have. Financial help in purchasing health insurance which none of them had before Thomas -- -- -- Griffith. Famous chairman early in your testimony here today you -- a couple of times plans we enjoyed it then it as you noticed with mr. Gardner's eloquent testimony that we're not going to be in the same plane that your in after January 1. I was one of those who thought it was a good idea that as a part of a proposal that was floating around the halls here in congress. That the president and the cabinet secretaries ought to also be in the marketplace and not have a special federal plan. That -- you'll have after -- everyone but that we will not the president while that was being discussed issued a veto threat. Did you discuss the veto threat with the president before he made it and have you discussed it with him since then yes or no source -- and not that I would have. The contractors involved in this -- have told us. That the Spanish website was ready to go. That they thought everything was was ready just as they did with the regular -- -- -- that didn't prove out but that they were told not to implement it. Likewise the shop and browse section was -- ago. Do you think that they were misleading this committee when they made those comments. I think what they believed is that that product. Independent out the entire operational site was ready and tested. What a determination was made I was involved with the Spanish -- -- in the Medicaid transfers to say let's minimize the risk. For the whole site lets alone and let. It's like that raises the next question because one of the the other contractors QSS. I believe it was. Indicated to us that that part of the problem was is that when she took away the ability to browse everybody had to go through the the business of setting up an account. And you stopped one of the browser or -- Seaman messed up one of the browsing options as well. And that that actually contributed to to the logjam and contributed to the problems. So it isn't you is he correct doormat that did not allowed him just to look without having to sign up -- that have made it easier for the American people. In hindsight I think that probably would've been advantageous I can tell you that the reason that decision was made going forward was to minimize risks that didn't work so well but adding additional features that. Didn't involve people actually wanting to get to what they would independently pay and what they would qualify form what the plans were seemed to be. It's things that could be. Added down the road it was -- -- time -- expired mr. bill practice. Thank you mr. Wright preaches -- -- that humans are concerned for testified today. But -- secretary over the week of the New York Times wrote the following. Project managers that the Department of Health and Human Services -- of the White House that any remaining problems could be worked out. Once the website -- -- Or other senior if officials predict a serious trouble. And advised delaying the role. Can you confirm if this is true did any senior department official predicts serious problems. And did -- senior department officials advised delaying the roll out of the exchange their parts of the exchanges on October 1. View. I can tell you that no senior official reporting to me ever advise me that we should delay. You heard from the contractors on the 24 that none of them advised a delay. We have testing that did not advise -- -- so as not to not to my knowledge that they can use that -- serious problem. They indicated to me that we would always Everest because this system is brand new and no one has operated the system like this before. To any degree so we always knew that there would be. The possibility that some things would go wrong no one indicated that this could possibly go this rotten names -- these issues that. -- -- -- -- -- -- Again -- we had. Series of meetings with teams. From CMS I was always advised that there is always a risk with the new product in a -- site. But never suggested that we delayed the launch of October 1 nor did our contract and partners ever suggest that to us. Thank you -- thank you mr. -- appreciate -- back. This Johnson. And secretary thank you for being here with this today CMS was the integrator of the web site prior to leading up to the -- October correct. You've testified that you now hired an outside company to serve as the integrator want to park contractors is -- is that an additional routes USS you have built up and to answer. This is the same company that told our committee last week that they were not only the developer of them called them the pipeline but also. And independent -- of the system. You've acknowledged in your testimony today that inadequate testing played a significant role in this failed launch -- you concerned that QSSI has lost its ability. To be an objective independent arbitrator and -- addressing the problems that plague the system mountains are part of the -- -- part of the developer part of problem. -- I haven't lost my my confidence in them I think that testing that they did is validating the pieces of the equipment -- said. Since the launch is that we did not do adequate and and testing that was not -- USS -- responsibility. All right and in this new role as immigrate or are you going to be playing -- -- more than -- work to be paid under their original contract diet I would expect with this expanded role they're gonna get. That discussion is underway in terms of what the role will entail what that outlines are -- OK well. -- hardworking American taxpayers have already paid for this implementation wants. Do you think it's fair to ask taxpayers to pay more so that US SI can now attempt to do something that administrator -- her and her. CMS team were unable to do right the first time. Well sir I think the American taxpayers expect us to get the site up and running. As I told to confirm that they did they expected -- the first I I understand and so did. We have not expended the funds that have been encumbered for the contracts we know were not. An animal monitor every dime we spend from here on -- and -- audit things that. Are going forward problem with that mr. chairman -- -- communion that. Mr. long. Thank you mr. chairman thank you secretary for being here today and given your testimony. Earlier and today you said that I'm responsible for the implementation Affordable Care Act. I've heard -- referred to might be yourself -- the point person for the roll out the architect of implementing Affordable Care Act so. You are kind of the president's point person are you not for this -- -- -- I. Earlier. You crashed -- -- -- a lot of things striking about the rollout of this -- about. Affordable Care Act altogether but the thing that's most striking to me. Is only have the point person for the roll out here. And you're not going -- the exchange now I've heard -- -- That and you Gottesman roster from the folks behind you but I'm asking you to -- can you tell the American public if -- -- behind you that. If -- happen -- -- -- some wrong information if that is possible. For you to go under the exchange. Like always millions of Americans that are -- -- the exchanges. Will you commit to forgo your government insurance plan -- -- on now. And join us in the -- come on in the waters on all congressman all of our staff. Have to go into the exchanges. Whipped going to the DC exchanges are well -- about try to get on the web -- I was successful in the hearing earlier. And I got to the DC exchange which -- -- I have to buy from I got. Part way through and then got to the park point in a -- Social Security number. I could not bring myself to do that from -- -- have heard from people like John McAfee and folks about the security. Will you tell if you're about Iran. And it is possible for use -- -- candidate but if it is possible for -- to forgo your government program you have now. Will you tell the American public but yes I won't go into the exchange's next year rock -- -- house. Sir the way the laws are written it's a yes -- I'm -- let's say that your wrong on that yes or -- if. If you're wrong I don't want to get -- this information to the American public you weren't there may be I don't wanna give this information I want you to -- -- if if -- if if if you're -- have a -- well you -- -- went to the -- -- if -- if you can't -- well you. That's a yes or not if you can what I would take a look at it I don't have any -- that's not an -- that's -- -- -- -- not. Gentleman's time has expired you're the architect of -- -- program and you won't -- went to the rest of America can't say that Sarah I think it's illegal for me if I had not LA artificially -- will you go in yeah and affordable coverage come on -- -- water. Then gentleman's time is -- -- I have a unanimous consent request. I'd like that better secretary. I'd like you to answer for the record. If you -- able to do what the gentleman just suggested. Or follow the recommendation of Cory Gardner -- our colleague from Colorado. And waited to the ought to buy individual policy. Would you be able to find one. That would protect you from cheap shots would you think that status to be mandated coverage. I think that the. Yeah pulpit for your review -- what we'll wait for that response to come back. Gladly line the exchange if I didn't have affordable coverage in my workplace I would gladly join it and the DC market is an independent state. Based market even -- DC is not a state we do not run the DC market in the federal marketplace. Channel 8 from north combine image -- commerce thank you mr. -- Airmen and I I have a couple questions thank you for being with us today -- secretary. I'd like to go to the issue that has been raised are not my colleagues -- on on the left here. About accurate information. Number wine I -- heard the issue of Medicare part. Although my my colleagues all voted now against it initially now there extolling the virtues of Medicare part. Is Medicare part DA mandate or is it voluntary. Is volunteer it is a voluntary program yes that's the first accurate he's an accurate information I would like to get. You know we're asking or where actually forcing. Millions of Americans to go. To find a health care premium in some way whether it's to go to the exchanged or whether they are to be -- -- Many of my constituents are being are reaching out to me those with individual policies. And they are saying to me that my my rates are going up 400%. My rates are going up a 127%. These are my constituents. Now you know we're talking about open enrollment that it it's it's forcing. -- issue is it not. That bit is an American does not have health care coverage they are essentially breaking the law is that not cracks. If someone can afford coverage and has that option and chooses not to buy coverage they will pay a fee. On there and I had it it is -- -- -- therefore they -- -- hearing a -- acts -- -- you also brought up the issue when you were in Kansas. That you fought against discriminatory. Discriminatory. Issues. Now I you know it's far is in the if I'm the essential health benefit that's correct me if I'm wrong do men not have to -- maternity coverage. Policies will cover maternity coverage for the young and healthy. Including on average thirty year olds will have a choice also of a catastrophic plan which has no maternity coverage. The cut catastrophic but. The men are required to her at an insurance policy has a series of benefits whether you use them or not and one of the benefits will be and that is a wide coverage -- and health -- -- -- high island is forcing them to buy things that they will never meet. Thank you madam chairman the individual policies cover families. Men often do need maternity coverage for their spouses and -- there. Families yes single male age 32 does not need maternity coverage to the your knowledge of -- as a -- at. Are delivered a -- in a lady's time. Has expired. Generally the Cathy McMorris Rodgers thank you mr. chairman madam secretary. In although we were told repeatedly that if you like your health insurance plan -- be able to keep it. We're now being told by the government that they have determined many existing plants to be lousy -- car. In reality this why is becoming quickly less about -- Americans purchase affordable coverage. And more about compelling millions of Americans. In to a struggling Medicaid program. In my home state of Washington 90% of enrollees will be in Medicaid. 161000. Of them coming into -- -- that they weren't eligible for. Colorado 89% Kentucky's two thirds Maryland 97%. And this is -- states and -- struggling with their budgets wondering how they're going to cover. Medicaid which is as we don't know for the most vulnerable populations so isn't it true. That in states like Washington. They're -- -- have new unexpected. Costs associated with a dramatic influx into Medicaid. A kind salmon. The Medicaid expansion provision -- the Affordable Care Act Adam. Is -- -- hit our State's gonna face new cost federal government pays a 100% of the costs of newly insured for the first three years and gradually -- either exit seeing -- is -- or aren't eligible compete and and we know that two out of three doctors don't accept new Medicaid patients. We know that current provider rates are gonna drop at the end of 2014. So isn't it true that existing Medicare Medicaid enrollees. Have further compete for scarce resources. In these states. If the citizens of Washington are signing up for eligible for Medicaid. They certainly will be entitled to enroll in Medicaid now. The newly injured while I'm while I'm concerned -- -- haven't -- the most honorable in this country are are going to lack access to. Here that they antagonists receive no time I think that's true and in states that are choosing not to expand Medicaid it's particularly dire so I'm at it it is staying on an -- -- finally I just wanted to and formed the secretary told us several hours ago when. When the -- started at the website was down. -- look at the screen several hours later health care health care. Dot. Is still down you promises system would be ready on October 1. It clearly wrong so before I leave you today I would just impress upon you this is more than a broken. Web -- this is a broken -- law millions of Americans are getting notices their plans are being canceled. Now that -- gentle lady's time has expired -- just. I would dead -- a couple things here first I'm gonna ask unanimous consent that the written -- -- statements for any member on the committee. Be introduced into the record -- without objection the documents will be here. House would ask unanimous consent to put the document binder and other documents presented to the secretary during questioning into the record without objection. So ordered. -- -- just say in conclusion. We do look forward. -- you back in December. To get an update. On where we are more quick -- scheduled to find. Right timing and -- early that that that week. I want you know -- we're -- want real numbers. You'll have them by then is that right terms of to sign up you know that's next couple weeks I've met them absolutely look forward it to get a nose had done. We appreciate we really do appreciate your time this morning to take questions and I apologize to all the member actually ended shorten the time. But that those things -- when he of this so much interest and we look forward to -- continuing to get an update in and look for a year continued work. Mr. chairman again from our side of the we want to work with you. And I hope by the other side of of the -- they would take that same approach let's do something constructive. Not just negative attacks against a bill that I think it's going to be a godsend for millions of Americans thank you for -- Thank you. Hearing is adjourned. -- listening to some very long testimony by secretary of health and human services Kathleen severely issues testify. And -- of the house energy and commerce committee about the troubled health care dot gov web site. And some other issues dealing with the Affordable Care Act we're gonna break down today's grilling. But maybe he's very -- -- the White House Mary act Kathleen civilians beginning her testimony. With I apologize which is something a lot of people had been waiting to hear but then she went on. To defend. Not just the affordable health care act but that -- -- the health care exchange for a lot of people are having problems what are your standouts from this testimony. While Republicans absolutely did their best to written. Kathleen Sebelius -- part here but there's one exchange in particular that really highlights the broader Republican argument here against obamacare. Congressmen -- -- a Republican of Mississippi really took athletes' abilities to task over who is ultimately responsible. Let's take a listen. Until -- saying that the president is not responsible for HHS. -- I didn't -- that okay. So the president ultimately is response while I think it's great that your team player you're taking responsibility it is the president's ultimate responsibility correct. You clearly. Whatever yes he is the president he is responsible for government program. Republicans here are arguing that this is goes beyond just being a broken website that this is really a broken law and that this indicates a much broader failure of this administration keep in mind the Affordable Care Act as president Obama's. Signature law this was the signature accomplishment of his first term Republicans are trying to make the broader argument here. That the president has failed here and that Democrats have -- and that while. -- may be responsible for health and human services and for the web -- the president ultimately the buck stops with -- That we saw the mention of the president and his. Level of responsibility time and time again we also saw a lot of no mention of the web site being down again throughout the entire course. Her testimony. This is beyond an embarrassment just as secretary Sebelius is sitting there trying to defend this web site. The website is down health -- dot gov is not operational right now. An end to hammer home that point of course Republicans had that the web -- broadcast on those screens inside. The hearing room which makes for just a brutal image to have -- -- sitting there trying to defend this claiming that the website will be up and running and right next to her is are those error messages running back and forth. -- -- another issue up popped up and she was asked several times about it by various congressional members. That a lot of people are getting notices that they will be that -- current health insurance policies will no longer be available because they do not comply. With the Affordable Care Act law. So is this a sign that perhaps opponents of the Affordable Care Act are moving beyond the web site web site is clearly. Imagine something that can be fixed over -- are they looking for other issues -- areas to attack to show that the law itself is not accept. Absolutely this hearing quickly moved beyond just health care dot -- to be a debate about obamacare -- you mentioned people getting kicked off their their health insurance is is a big topic of discussion right out here in Washington. And it centers around whether or not President Obama misled the American people as -- or call the president has said repeatedly over and over again as he was trying to sell this. Bill to the American people that if you like your plan you can keep your plan now turns out that may not be true for nearly fourteen million Americans. Who have private insurance insurance companies have been sending out a lot of cancellation notices for those people. -- and what that really is about is that. Many of these plans don't include some of the basics that now are required under obamacare doesn't include. Hospital -- doesn't include drug prescription drug coverage and that they may now be required to -- to adopt new plans that include all of these new standards. But this is again another issue and Republicans can. Beyond just a broken web -- this is about the failure of this bill a fundamental fundamental issue here with this Health Care Reform law. It seemed at times it's the -- -- wasn't. Able to communicate to some of that she was asked repeatedly about those letters that people have been receiving and she she never really quite explain. The reasons why someone would get that type of letter in fact some congressional members actually stepped up to the -- to try to explain for her. -- -- people who said her job could be riding off on on not just her testimony but the success. Of this roll out it is that -- the general consensus. Republicans have been trying to hold up securities as the person is ultimately responsible for this she is the head head of health and human services and ultimately -- she even said she is. Responsible she is accountable and she promises to fix this problem. But keep in mind she just a walk a very fine line here on one hand she needs to take responsibility for that on the other hand she needs to assure the American people. The Obama administration is on top of this and that they will fix these problems. All right ABC's -- Chris that the White House is certainly not last -- -- -- here. In terms of oversight of the affordable tactic so much for joining us and he can of course keep watching here -- I'm -- -- so -- keep up with our coverage on the -- -- right here at abcnews.com for now anti Hernandez in New York with -- ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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