Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) said on Monday that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius better come prepared to answer tough questions from the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.
The hearing is scheduled in the wake of a Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report that revealed the White House calendar records a single face-to-face meeting between President Obama and Sebelius over the last three-and-a-half years leading up to the healthcare.gov launch.
On Friday, NBC News reporter Peter Alexander and ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about the GAI’s findings. Carney attempted to knock down the report and claimed it was “safe to say Kathleen Sebelius has been one of the more frequent attendees to meetings with the president.” Carney admitted, however, that he “didn’t have the numbers” and was unsure how many one-on-one meetings Sebelius and Obama have held.
Similarly, HHS spokesperson Joanne Peters claimed Obama and Sebelius have had “countless” one-on-one meetings and said they have held “dozens” of private meetings in the last year alone. HHS, likewise, has failed thus far to produce a dated list of the unrecorded Obama-Sebelius meetings.
Rep. Gingrey says the committee plans to get to the bottom of the controversy on Wednesday.
“At the heart of these conflicting accounts are the issues of transparency and accountability, or lack thereof. President Obama and Secretary Sebelius must provide taxpayers more answers about who in the administration knew what, and when did he or she know it? When officials received warnings of problems, how high up the chain-of-command did they go?” said Gingrey in a statement.
Obama has promised that his is “the most transparent Administration in history.”
Rep. Gingrey said American taxpayers deserve honest answers from Sebelius and Obama about the Obamacare debacle and their roles in it.
There is too much at stake for these questions to go unanswered. Healthcare comprises one-sixth our economy, and Obamacare comes with a $2.1 trillion price tag. The botched rollout of Healthcare.gov, its myriad delays, and the lack of transparency from the administration demonstrate either total incompetence or political gamesmanship. Either scenario is disastrous for patients, taxpayers, and job creators.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee Sebelius hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.