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    Health Secretary Apologizes as Health Care Law Draws More Heat

    US Health Secretary Apologizes as Health Care Law Draws More Heati
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    October 31, 2013 4:47 AM
    U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has apologized to the American people for the problems preventing many from signing up for health insurance coverage, as President Barack Obama said Wednesday the health care law is still the "strongest protector" for health care consumers. Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee accused the administration of deceiving Americans, criticizing the rollout on everything from website flaws to increased premiums. Carla Babb reports.
    Health Secretary Apologizes as Health Care Law Draws More Heat
    U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has apologized to the American people for the problems preventing many from signing up for health insurance coverage, as President Barack Obama said Wednesday the health care law is still the "strongest protector" for health care consumers. Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee accused the administration of deceiving Americans, criticizing the rollout on everything from website flaws to increased premiums. 
     
    Kathleen Sebelius, the public face of the government's online health care exchange woes, told Americans she is sorry for the troubled launch of the so-called Obamacare website when testifying before a congressional panel Wednesday.
     
    "You deserve better. I apologize. I’m accountable to you for fixing these problems," said Sebelius.
     
    Cases abound of Americans struggling with the new system, such as John Tankersley, who has spent three weeks trying to sign up for a health care plan on the website, and Robert Schlora, who's also been trying to get a health care plan since October 1.
     
    "I really have no idea whether or not I'll be offered a better plan, whether or not the government will help me subsidize it," said Schlora.
     
    With recent elements of his health care program under attack, President Obama has defended its promise.
     
    "Today that promise means that every plan in the marketplace covers a core set of minimum benefits like maternity care and preventive care and mental health care and prescription drug benefits and hospitalization, and they can't use allergies or pregnancy or a sports injury or the fact that you're a woman to charge you more," said Obama.
     
    The president promised millions of uninsured Americans that they could purchase comprehensive health insurance plans at affordable rates.
     
    "Nearly half of all single, uninsured 18-34 year-olds may be able to buy insurance for 50 bucks a month or less, less than your cell phone bill, less than your cable bill," said Obama.
     
    However, back on Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers told Sebelius their constituents are not happy with the changes, which have led to health insurance companies raising costs on some plans and cancelling others.
     
    "The result is, this person from Cove, Oregon said 'I was paying $600 per month for a $3,000 deductible. Now it costs me $800 a month for a $5,000 deductible,'" said Greg Walden, a Republican representing Oregon’s 2nd district.
     
    "Many of my constituents are reaching out to me, those with individual policies, and they are saying to me that 'my rates are going up 400 percent. My rates are going up 127 percent,'" related Renee Ellmers, a Republican representative for North Carolina.
     
    The administration is promising frustrated Americans that the website’s problems will be fixed by late November. Officials say the most important thing is that millions of uninsured Americans will now have access to affordable health care.

    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her bylines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and Egypt.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    October 31, 2013 10:14 AM
    It goes beyond affordable healthcare to something only Mr. Obama knows. Surprises me how easily Americans become pulp under a delusive deceit. Mr. Obama referred to maternity costs in his address, who does he deceive with that? Who are the ones to use the maternity healthcare when the men and the women no longer have need for it in USA? Or does he mean mothers of adopted children?

    Surprises me how a high-brow society is gulled by one man under a press system that has become worse than a third world praise singer of a potentate. It is well, and until the end of 2016, Americans will have to live in delusion of orchestrated abduction till a messiah comes to their rescue in another president with balanced view of life and living. For all the frustration I see in the country called USA, I can only bemoan, like Cymba in Lion King: 'All I used to know to be true are all lies'. The once quintessential America has become a banana republic, a republic of lies and misrepresentation.

    by: Leigh Cote' from: Presque Isle, Maine,
    October 31, 2013 9:21 AM
    Hello, "TRICK or TREAT", WE need the best its got to be perfect and proffesional with no leaks or mistakes at all, "How about those "BOSTON RED SOX" This was all "TEAM EFFORT" "How to Fix the GLITCHES"Hillary Rodman Clinton, Chancellor Angella Merkel, Samantha Power, Kathleen Sebelius, Susan E. Rice, Rebecca Mairone, Ann Skakel McCooey, Dorothy Moxley, Cheryl R. Campbell, Ann Rauel, Jeanette Weinberg, Janette Sadik-Khan, Linda Rabbitt, Penny McIntrye, Joe Biden, Gary Cohen, Jeffrey D. Zientis, Marylyn Tavenner, not to mention "FILE","EDIT,""VIEW,""SPECIAL,""LABEL,""Sorry a System Error" 16TH of January ,2014 and 16TH of February, 2014, right around the corner of "unclear" 160 Days Left to Enroll can "WASHINGTON,D.C. get their "ACT" together with the "Congress and the Senate" in "WASHINGTON,D.C.!!?? It's "HALLOWEEN".

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    October 31, 2013 2:39 AM
    I would like to ask those who pay $600 to 800 per month for $3,000 to 5,000 deductible their incomes. I also would like to ask those constituents whose insurance rates rise up 127 percent or 400 percent their incomes.

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