In Austin, Kathleen Sebelius Promises Obamacare Website Improvements
AUSTIN -- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has promised to review the performance of contractors who helped build a foundering website intended to help people buy health insurance.
Sebelius, who visited Austin on Friday, was on damage control as she's been criticized for the website's rocky rollout. She promised that problems with Healthcare.gov would get fixed. She said she would make sure taxpayers got their money's worth from the private companies contracted to build the website.
In Austin, Sebelius met with two people who had successfully used the website to enroll in a health plan. Both said they struggled with the site but were eventually happy with their policies and the prices they paid.
Sebelius said the website is getting better every day, but still needs improvement. She said the Spanish language version of the site was on hold until the bugs are worked out on the overall system.
Sebelius also praised mayors across Texas for supporting Medicaid expansion, and urged state leaders to join them.
"We’re hopeful that the decision about Medicaid will continue to be actively discussed in the Legislature," she said.
Sebelius also visited San Antonio on Friday. She was scheduled to meet with Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.
Critics are calling for Sebelius to resign because the federal website designed to help people buy health insurance has experienced myriad technical issues over the past few weeks.
The online health insurance exchange is supposed to allow the uninsured buy affordable health insurance and in many cases receive government subsidies.
President Barack Obama's signature Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to purchase health insurance. The White House recently extended the deadline.
"The majority of people calling for me to resign I would say are people who I don't work for and do not want this program to work in the first place," Sebelius said in Phoenix during a visit to a health center. "I have had frequent conversations with the president and I've admitted to him that my role is to get the program up and running and we will do just that."
In September, Sebelius visited Dallas to discuss the health care overhaul.