Obamacare investigation: White House pressured

Congress tackles new health care website issues

By Tony Statz - Producer

Since the government's website healthcare.gov opened for business on Oct. 1, it's been plagued by glitches, frustration and consumer complaints.

President Obama launched a major effort this week to get the website fixed, and to remind Americans how the Affordable Care Act is already helping Americans.

However, the president's sales offensive hasn't stopped Congress from raising the pressure level on the White House to make sure the system is working. Hearings in the House of Representatives come just weeks after Republicans shut down the government while trying to kill the program all together.

On Oct. 24, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will open its hearings on what's gone wrong with the website, and evaluating the impact of Obamacare on Americans so far.

"If we're ever going to fix it, you gotta recognize what the problems are," said Representative Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan. Rogers sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and he'll be in that first hearing.

He says the administration should seriously consider extending the deadlines to sign up, especially since President Obama approved a delay in compliance for big business.

"We should also give an extension to average working people so they don't get hit with the fees and the fines, and all of the pressure trying to go through a website on a deadline," Representative Mike Rogers told Ruth to the Rescue.

Longtime Michigan Democrat, Representative John Dingell is also on that committee. He says he's waiting to hear more facts before deciding if any extensions are necessary. "One of the things the hearing will do, if its properly conducted, will be to tell us what it is that we should do about extending the time on those things or other matters," he said.

Waiting For Sebelius

Congress has been asking to hear from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for weeks. Her office says her schedule has not allowed her to testify before Congress. Under intense criticism and facing calls for her resignation, Sebelius has agreed to speak to Congress on Oct. 20.

During an interview with CNN, the Secretary says she's not ready to push back any deadlines.

"Well, I don't think that that really is the question right now. The issue is will people be able to sign up for affordable health care in the six months' open enrollment period? And, I think the answer is absolutely yes!"

Fixing The Website

The White House says specialists from the Silicon Valley will be brought in to work on the website. President Obama has tapped a trusted advisor to clean up the mess and clean it up quickly. Jeff Zients was the nation's first Chief Performance Officer, whose job was to make sure the government works smoothly.

Some critics are also asking if the White House ignored red flags that the website wasn't ready by October 1st. The Washington Post claims warning signs, like a failed test, were ignored.

Congressman John Dingell says it's time for lawmakers to be part of the solution.

"This is the settled law of the land, and our people should be working together to see to it that it works," he told Ruth to the Rescue.

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