Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas


October 30, 2013
Press Release

Washington, DC - Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) today questioned Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about problems surrounding the website where Americans are supposed to be able to enroll for health coverage.

"This morning I asked Secretary Sebelius about the mounting problems with the rollout of the online exchange," Olson said. "She did accept responsibility, but denied her own previous claims that more time was needed to get the site working properly. If they can't get a website to run properly, why should the American people feel confident they can implement this flawed law properly? It's time to repeal Obamacare and start over before it's too late," Olson concluded.

Click here to see the video exchange between Olson and Sebelius.

Olson: When did you know the exchanges were going down - a month, a day, a quarter - and did you tell the President what you knew?

Sebelius: Sir, I was informed we were ready to launch on October 1st. The contractors who we had as our private partners told us and told this committee that they had never suggested a delay and that is accurate. Our CMS team felt we were ready to go. I told the President that we were ready to go - clearly, I was wrong. We were wrong. We knew that in any big new, complicated system there would be problems. No one ever imagined the volume of issues and problems that we've had and we must fix it.

Olson: Yes m'am, credible journalists said you knew you needed six years to get this program up and running.

Sebelius: Sir, that quote has been repeated, I can guarantee you I never stated that because the law was passed in March of 2010. I chose the open enrollment date. I don't know where that quote comes from, but that is not from me.

Here is the Wall Street Journal story that attributes the statement to Sebelius. [Yet even some of the law's supporters criticize her management of the rollout, particularly after it became clear the site's troubles weren't just "glitches," as Mrs. Sebelius had first said, but broader design defects. After two weeks of review, the HHS secretary concluded, "We didn't have enough testing, specifically for high volumes, for a very complicated project." The online insurance marketplace needed five years of construction and a year of testing, she said: "We had two years and almost no testing."] - Health Law's Rocky Debut Puts Sebelius in Cross Hairs, WSJ 10/18/13


Media Contact: Melissa Kelly