Nightly News   |  October 30, 2013

Sebelius apologizes for healthcare website debacle

Hammered by questions, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took the blame for the Obamacare rollout, admitting she and her department failed to do enough testing to catch and fix flaws in the enrollment website.  NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening. this was the day congress got to ask the health secretary some questions about how it is the rollout of the new health care website went so wrong. and in response today, she said in effect the buck stops with her. but that may not be enough for everybody. with each new day, we learn of new frustrations with the system. and americans are are learning what it really means for them. we are going to begin here tonight with two reports including the reporting of our national investigating correspondent michael isikoff over concerns with the website's security. first kelly o'donnell from the hill. good evening.

>> reporter: good evening. this was a day of aggressive questioning. the top official for the rollout of the health care law vowed to get it right and said in just another 30 days the persistent b problems will be fixed. secretary sebelius says no need for an extension. there will be plenty of time for people to sign up for coverage. a crisis on her watch.

>> would you consider giving people more time to enroll?

>> some democrats are asking for that.

>> reporter: as the cabinet secretary in charge of the problem prone health care .gov website kathleen sebelius drew a crush of media attention. and even a long line for spectators who came to hear the secretary explain what's gone wrong.

>> you deserve better. i apologize. i'm accountable to you for fixing these problems. i'm committed to earning your confidence back by fixing the site.

>> reporter: hammered by questions sebelius repeatedly took the blame for a rollout she even labeled a debacle.

>> hold me accountable for the debacle. i'm responsible.

>> reporter: sebelius admitted the department failed to do enough testing to catch and fix flaws in the enrollment website before the october 1st launch.

>> do you believe two weeks was enough time to complete testing of the entire system?

>> clearly not.

>> reporter: beyond website issues, frustration and confusion over a promise off made by the president.

>> the president kept saying if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. is he keeping his promise?

>> yes, he is.

>> reporter: lawmakers from both parties complained constituents without employer-provided insurance say their policies are being cancelled or premium prices hiked. in part because the health care law requires more services like preventive care , be covered.

>> they don't offer the minimum essential benefits. is that correct?

>> that's correct.

>> reporter: sebelius responded that only affects a small number of americans who can now look for a better deal.

>> consumers have a right to shop anywhere to compare plans. they have choices now they have never had before.

>> reporter: after almost four hours on the hot seat republicans say they still have many questions.

>> she has provided some clarity, not enough. not enough detail.

>> reporter: secretary sebeliusle told lawmakers she will come back in december with a progress report . kelly o'donnell, nbc news, the capitol.