Sebelius Testimony Exposes an Alarming Truth About Obamacare

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.

Obamacare Sebelius Testimony
Source: AP

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.

For instance, there's the issue of the blame game.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, pressured Sebelius to name the person responsible for the dysfunctional website. After some edgy back-and-forth, Sebelius mentioned chief operating officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Michelle Snyder.

"Michelle Snyder is the one responsible for this debacle?" Blackburn asked.

After a few seconds of silence passed, Sebelius responded, "Excuse me, congresswoman, Michelle Snyder is not responsible for the debacle. Hold me accountable for the debacle. I'm responsible."

In a similar vein, Rep. Greg Harper, R-MS, asked whether U.S. President Obama is "ultimately responsible" for the error-ridden rollout, as he oversees HHS. To this, Sebelius responded, "No sir, we are responsible for the rollout."

Another hot button issue was recent evidence challenging the president's repeated promise - a promise he relied on to get elected - that people would have the option of keeping their current health plans. Contrary to that promise, thousands of cancellation notices are now hitting consumers as their plans do not qualify under Obamacare regulations.

Blackburn asked, "Has Obama kept his promise that if you like your health insurance, you can keep it?"

To which Sebelius responded in the affirmative: "Yes, they can get new plans."

The answer left a feeling of evasion.

At least we can put one debate to rest - how much the website has cost taxpayers.

With vastly different numbers flying around media outlets, we can now affirm that, according to Sebelius, about $118 million has been spent, plus another $56 million more on "support." That's a total of $174 million so far.

All in all, although it was edifying to hear Sebelius take ownership of the Obamacare rollout failure, it was disheartening to see how much uncertainty still lies ahead.

That's why we're not waiting around to see how the rest of the Obamacare drama shakes out...

You see, no matter how Obamacare affects your health, your wallet, or your politics, we've found a way to profit from the shift in our nation's healthcare process. You can get started here.

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