Alexander, 8 Other GOP Senators Ask Obama To Fire Sebelius

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The senior Republican on the Senate health committee today joined nine of his Republican Senate colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama requesting that he “immediately relieve Secretary Sebelius of her duties as Secretary of Health and Human Services.”

 

Senator Lamar Alexander said, “When you have good management and you have clear accountability, you usually get something done right—but in the rollout of this health care law, we have had neither.

Millions of Americans are losing their policies because of this law but are unable to find new policies because the website won’t work. It is time for the President to ask the Secretary of Health and Human Services to resign.”

 

Senator Alexander called for Secretary Sebelius to resign on Oct. 29, saying, “Expecting this secretary to be able to fix in a few weeks what she has not been able to fix during the last three and one half years is unrealistic. It is throwing good money after bad.”

 

Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), who led his colleagues in his sending the letter, was joined by Senators Alexander, John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

 

The full text of the letter is below:

 

November 7, 2013

 

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC  20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

            We write today to formally request that you immediately relieve Secretary Sebelius of her duties as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

 

After the failed October 1 launch of the federally-run Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchanges, HealthCare.gov, it must be acknowledged that the problems are profound, systemic and undeniable. The website repeatedly crashed. Many visitors were unable to create accounts. Individuals have reported waiting for days to register online and being put on hold for hours after calling the 1-800 helpline. Even after visitors create accounts, they are often unable to access accurate information about subsidies and Medicaid eligibility.  And when a user does select an insurance plan, insurers have reported that Healthcare.gov transmits error-filled applications to the insurance companies.  In addition, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials will not report how many individuals or families have been able to enroll in a plan on HealthCare.gov.

 

Regrettably, these problems were diagnosed early and ignored. The New York Times reports, “Confidential progress reports from the Health and Human Services Department show that senior officials repeatedly expressed doubts that the computer systems for the federal exchange would be ready on time” (From the Start, Signs of Trouble at Health Portal, October 12, 2013). The Government Accountability Office also issued warnings in June that HHS had to address many issues in a very short timeframe before theOctober 1 rollout. The contractor “status report” from early September warned that significant milestones were being missed and that timeframes were too short. Tests done just days before the launch reportedly showed the computer systems couldn't handle more than a few hundred hits at a time. However, the Secretary refused to give credence to these warnings. 

In the days immediately following the launch, when it was apparent that problems were deep-seeded, Secretary Sebelius misled the public by claiming the issues were the result of high volume. According to her statements to the press, she even failed to inform you, the President under whom she serves, until days after the website launch that there were systemic problems needing millions more dollars and man hours to fix.

            There is bipartisan agreement that accountability is paramount. Your former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, “When they get it fixed, I hope they fire some people that were in charge of making sure that this thing was supposed to work.”

 

While assurances have been made that solutions are forthcoming, we have little confidence that immediate resolution is imminent. After spending more than $400 million on the failed website, taxpayers should not trust the same failed leadership to fix it. We believe that action must be taken swiftly to protect the American people from further fallout. If a similar rollout from any other national company or private sector business resulted in overwhelming and sustained problems, a high profile dismissal would be expected and appropriate.

 

Even worse, millions of Americans will lose their existing coverage starting January 1, 2014, because it does not meet new Obamacare requirements.  These people could be left without any insurance at all if the exchange systems are not working soon.

 

            For these reasons, we ask that you relieve Secretary Sebelius of her position as Secretary of Health and Human Services immediately.


Circuit Court Jury Gives $20,599,000 Verdict In Favor Of Canyon Ridge Developers; Punitive Damages To Be Added

A Hamilton County Circuit Court jury on Thursday awarded $20,599,000 to the developers of Canyon Ridge on Lookout Mountain against a financial firm that allegedly secretly started working on a rival project. The jury also said the plaintiffs are due punitive damages. The amount will be set on Monday morning in the courtroom of Judge J.B. Bennett after each side gives 20-minute ... (click for more)

Rome, Ga., Trio Plead Guilty To Planning To Use Pipe Bombs Against Federal Agencies

Three Rome, Ga., men have pleaded guilty to conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction - specifically, pipe bombs - in attacks against federal government agencies. Brian Cannon, Terry Peace and Cory Williamson appeared in Federal Court in Rome. “This case is a startling example of militia activists reaching true extremes, as distrust and hatred of government led these defendants ... (click for more)

Erlanger Electronic Medical Records Purchase Doesn't Add Up - And Response

Erlanger has recently announced their decision to purchase a $100,000,000 Electronic Health Information System. Something smells. Erlanger's downtown campus has 760 licensed beds, according to hospital-data. That would equate to $131,578 per bed for this system (now that's a lot of ipads). Please re-read that simple math. I use to manage an Electric Medication Administration ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: General Boykin Helps ‘Warriors’

General W.G. “Jerry” Boykin is one of the most fabled warriors in modern-day warfare. He is also one of the most polarizing men who has ever served his country. General Boykin, retired after 36 years as a soldier, spent 13 years in the secretive Delta Force. At one time he commanded the Green Berets and was in one some pretty impressive engagements. In 1980 he was in on the ... (click for more)

Harris Leaves Tyner For Administrative Job At Dalewood Middle

Long-time Tyner Academy boys basketball coach Gerald Harris has resigned his coaching position to accept a job as assistant principal at Dalewood Middle School. Harris, 49, was offered and accepted the administration job last Friday and met with last year’s team on Tuesday to break the news to those players. “I’ve been coaching a long time and I’ve said goodbye before,” ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: Giving With A Cheerful Heart

Recently a program was started called, "Dining Out For Life," benefitting people who are affected by HIV. Tonight  several local restaurants will be partnering with Chattanooga Cares to raise money to support the organization's nutrition assistance program. There is a big need for fresh fruit and vegetables and the funds raised this evening will go to support that need. ... (click for more)