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Washington Beat: Health And Human Services Secretary Testifies On Affordable Care Act

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TWC News: Washington Beat: Health And Human Services Secretary Testifies On Affordable Care Act
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President Barack Obama went to Boston Wednesday to sell his embattled health care law as the woman responsible for implementing it was grilled by lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Washington Bureau Reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report for NY1.

President Barack Obama is fighting to get his health care law back on track.

"I take full responsibility for making sure it gets fixed ASAP," the president said.

His appearance in Massachusetts Wednesday afternoon came hours after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appeared before a testy House committee and took responsibility for the botched rollout of healthcare.gov.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee: Who is the individual?
Sebelius: Michelle Snyder.
Blackburn: Michelle Snyder is the one responsible for this debacle?
Sebelius: Excuse me, Congresswoman. Michelle Snyder is not responsible for the debacle. Hold me accountable for the debacle. I'm responsible.

The website is where uninsured Americans in 36 states, though not New York, are expected to shop for health coverage before the insurance mandate kicks in next year.

It's been plagued by technical glitches since it launched earlier this month. In fact, it wasn't operating during Wednesday's hearing.

So far, the federal government has spent nearly $200 million on the site. Sebelius blames contractors for the problems, but believes the issues can be fixed by the end of November.

Republicans were annoyed about far more than the website. They blasted Sebelius over reports of people being dropped from insurance plans that don't meet the health care law's minimum requirements.

"Sean lost his plan that he liked, here are thousands and millions of Seans throughout this country that lost the plan they like because some bureaucrat in Washington said, 'We think your plan's not good enough, even though you like it, even though you were promised you can keep it,'" said Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

Democrats brushed off the attacks as political.

"I don't think, Madam Secretary, there's one person in this room who is naive enough to actually think that the Republicans want to see this law work," said Rep. Eliot Engel, whose district covers parts of the Bronx and Westchester County.

Democrats, however, have just a few months to get it together, or else their signature achievement could be put in jeopardy.

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