GOP Officials Press For Health Law Delay, Sebelius To Resign; Democrats Urge Patience
The troubles with the health website took center stage on the Sunday news shows and in the Saturday weekly addresses from the president and the Republicans.
The Wall Street Journal: Issa Calls For Sebelius To Resign If Fixes Aren’t Made
A leading House Republican said the nation’s top health official should step down if problems with President Barack Obama’s new health-care plan aren’t quickly resolved. Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday that if technical issues plaguing the new online health-insurance marketplaces aren’t fixed, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius “shouldn’t be there.” ... Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.) disagreed. “There’s going to be plenty of time to place blame for who’s responsible” later, she said on the news program (Patterson, 10/27).
The Hill: Sebelius The 'Laughingstock Of America,' Says Senator
A Republican senator called Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius the "laughingstock of America" after she was lampooned on "Saturday Night Live." ... Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) referred to the skit Sunday during an appearance on ABC's "This Week." "She's lost considerable credibility," Barrasso said of Sebelius. ... The health secretary was the target of several Republican attacks during the Sunday shows, just a few days before she appears before a House committee to talk about the rollout. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), a leader on the panel that will host Sebelius, said the former governor will testify on Wednesday before she's "out the door" (Viebeck, 10/27).
The Washington Post: Manchin: Sebelius Should Stay
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has been perhaps the leading Democratic skeptic of the health-care law, on Sunday gave Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius a vote of confidence. Amid GOP calls for Sebelius to step down or be fired, Manchin said on ABC's "This Week" said Sebelius will succeed. "I think she should stay, and I think she will get the job done," Manchin said. "I think she needs to bring people around here, and I think she can do that" (Blake, 10/27).
The Hill: Manchin Touts Legislation To Delay Affordable Care Act's Individual Mandate
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) touted his bill to delay ObamaCare's individual mandate Sunday as a way to establish a "transition period" to improve the troubled enrollment website. Manchin said he's not sure the Obama administration would accept the bill and added that he hasn't spoken with any administration officials about it in detail (Viebeck, 10/27).
Politico: Jindal: Pressure Building For Obamacare Delays
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Sunday pressure to delay parts of Obamacare is growing and he doesn't see how the administration can ignore the calls. "The pressure is only going to grow," the chairman of the Republican Governors Association said on "Fox News Sunday." "It's harder for them to justify why they wouldn’t delay the individual mandate." A host of lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans alike — have drafted legislation to delay all or parts of the law and the Obama administration has been considering an extension of open enrollment (Emma, 10/27).
NBC News: Governors Debate Obamacare's Troubled Debut
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, defended his decision to expand the state’s Medicaid program as part of the health care overhaul, despite opposition from the state’s GOP-controlled legislature, saying on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday "Ohio gets a good deal." Kasich explained that his state will get $14 billion of federal money over the next several years to expand Medicaid coverage for the mentally ill, veterans, drug abusers and other low-income people who need medical treatment. ... Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, said on Meet the Press Obamacare will work if given enough time. "The advice I would give the news media and the critics up here is: take a deep breath," Beshear said. "This is a process. Everybody wants to have a date where they can declare victory or defeat, or success or failure. That's not what this is going to be all about. It took us about three years to get Medicare really working" (Curry, 10/27).
The Hill: Cruz Calls For 'Grassroots Army' To Trample ObamaCare
The Tea Party senator said he’s trying to build a grassroots “army” of Americans to surround the U.S. Capitol, and bring down ObamaCare. Cruz said he launched a national website, MakeDCListen.org, for people to submit their stories about how the healthcare law is hurting them. The URL leads to another: JobsGrowth.org (Shabad, 10/26).
CBS News: Obama: HealthCare.gov Problems Are "Frustrating"
President Obama and congressional Republicans continued wrestling over the troubled rollout of Obamacare's online insurance marketplace on Saturday, with a key GOP congressman again calling for the delay of the law's individual mandate and the president mocking Republicans' sudden concern about how user-friendly the law is after years of attempted demolition (Miller, 10/26).
The Hill: Obama: GOP 'Rooting' For Obamacare Failure
In his weekly address, Obama suggested that the GOP's focus on the issue was in bad faith because Republicans have pushed for years to repeal, defund or dismantle ObamaCare. Republicans "spent the last few years so obsessed with denying … people access to health insurance that they just shut down the government and threatened default over it," Obama said (Viebeck, 10/26).
The Hill: Upton On ObamaCare Website: GOP Concerns Beyond 'Glitches'
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said Republicans have concerns about future problems related to ObamaCare, beyond website glitches. "The broken healthcare.gov website has captured the nation’s attention, but this is more than a website problem. We are also concerned about what happens next," he said in this week’s Republican address. "Will enrollment glitches become provider payment glitches? Will patients show up at their doctor’s office or hospital only to be told they aren’t in the system?” he asked. “And is the personal information Americans provide as part of the enrollment process safe from cyber hackers and identity theft" (Shabad, 10/26).
Politico: Michelle Obama Rips Shutdown, Defends Obamacare
First lady Michelle Obama on Friday joined in the battle over Obamacare, talking up her husband’s health-care program after a rough rollout and taking on those behind the government shutdown. “When a small group of folks in Congress shuts down our government to try to shut down Obamacare, and we watch as our President stands strong, that’s not just some political fight in Washington — it is a battle about our most fundamental values and aspirations,” the first lady told the audience at the Women’s Leadership Forum Conference in Washington, D.C. (Delreal, 10/25).