Sebelius visiting Phoenix to promote health law
PHOENIX (AP) — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is visiting Phoenix amid calls for her resignation after the clunky rollout of insurance exchanges under the new federal health care law.
The former Kansas governor and the Obama administration’s point person on the health law’s implementation will tour an HHS call center on Thursday. She then will go to a health center to talk with “navigators” who have been trained to educate people about enrolling for coverage.
The visit comes amid intense scrutiny of Sebelius because of the technology glitches that have crippled the new online markets. Thousands of people have been able to sign up for health care coverage but many cannot because of the computer problems.
Republicans want the health care law suspended until the problems are fixed. Democrats acknowledge the website’s problems but defend the law, saying millions of uninsured Americans are counting on it to get coverage. People have until March 31 to sign up for coverage or face a tax penalty.
Sebelius has said her agency is bringing in more experts and specialists from government and industry to improve the system. She is expected to testify before Congress this week.
GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, have called on Sebelius to step down. He recalled her earlier testimony to lawmakers that the rollout was going to be almost flawless.
The program requires large employers to offer insurance and offers subsidies to the uninsured.