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GOP senator: Sebelius should quit over Obamacare flaws

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**FILE** Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican, leaves the Senate after assisting fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with his overnight fight on the floor against the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare,” at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 25, 2013. Cruz and other conservative Republicans were trying to delay a must-pass spending bill. (Associated Press)

Problems associated with the rollout of the new health care law have led at least one Republican lawmaker to call for the resignation of President Obama’s top health official.

Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas said Friday that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius should step down “for gross incompetence” in the run-up to the Oct. 1 debut of online insurance markets tied to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

The online exchanges are supposed to allow people without employer-based insurance to shop for private health coverage, often with the help of income-based government subsidies. But many consumers had difficulty logging into the websites, particularly the federally run HealthCare.gov.

“In the absence of a full repeal of Obamacare, which is my preference, we need new leadership from top to bottom. I am calling on the secretary to resign,” Mr. Roberts said.

The administration said the bugs were due to heavy interest and web traffic and the site, but some experts say there were major coding issues that made it hard for the site to handle high volume.

“Today, we know, the problems with the exchanges are systematic, profound and indisputable,” Mr. Roberts said. “And yet the secretary won’t shoot straight with the American people.

His call is unlikely to persuade Mrs. Sebelius or President Obama, who have indicated they are committed to improving the health care overhaul during its initial, six-month enrollment period.

Disagreements over the health care law were a key part of the spending stalemate that led to the government shutdown that is roiling Washington.

About the Author

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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