After avoiding Congress for a week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finally addressed the Obamacare launch disaster yesterday (Wednesday) - three years and roughly $175 million in taxpayer dollars later.
As Sebelius reached for the microphone to begin testimony, Rep. Fred Upton, R-MI, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, dryly commented, "You've got to use that mic - you don't know how many people want to hear you this morning."
Sebelius began with a prepared statement in which she made clear her personal accountability, including sound bites such as, "You deserve better," "I apologize," and "I'm accountable to you," before being peppered with questions for nearly three hours.
She also defiantly remarked that "the Affordable Care Act delivered on its product: quality, affordable health insurance."
But what good does the admittance do now?
"I'm happy Sebelius is attempting to take responsibility for this, but it's too little, too late," said Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald.
Fitz-Gerald noted that in private industry, any individual spearheading an analogous disaster would have been facing grounds for termination, not to mention grounds for lawsuits.
"And yet, she's going to remain in charge, and more importantly, responsible for fixes, when the problems haven't even been fully identified," Fitz-Gerald said.
But the most alarming part of the Sebelius testimony involved the issue of the website's security...
Considering the sheer amount of personal information people must input in order to apply for healthcare that they must procure by law, website security has long been a major concern.
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-MI, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, asked if the code had been tested for security and if there had been end-to-end security tests since the site launched.
"I don't know," said Sebelius. "I will find out what testing they're doing."
Rogers was outraged. "Amazon would never do this. This is completely an unacceptable level of security."
Fitz-Gerald agrees with Rogers.
"The security risks are absolutely enormous, and to put on any pretense whatsoever that this has been a success is disgraceful," Fitz-Gerald said. "As far as I'm concerned, this is yet another example of government at the people rather than for the benefit of the people."
Sebelius' Testimony: In Case You Missed It...
Besides the security dangers exposed, a few notable exchanges came out of today's testimony.