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Sebelius Admits She Might Have Handled Obamacare Rollout Differently

Health And Human Services Secretary Grilled By Illinois Republican Shimkus

CBS New York (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSNewYork.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSNewYork.com/Health

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It is crunch time for the Affordable Care Act. The White House released new enrollment numbers Wednesday, just as the administration had another confrontation with Congress.

The numbers are getting better. But will the rolls fill up fast enough?

For millions, if you want or need coverage by Jan. 1, time is running out. In the meantime, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was once again on the hot seat on Capitol Hill.

Illinois Congressman John Shimkus grilled Sebelius, and good, CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported.

“But you’re telling us that those who just shop are enrolled,” said Shimkus, a Republican.

“I have told you, sir, who is enrolled,” Sebelius said.

“That’s why we are frustrated because we just don’t get the truth out of you,” Shimkus responded.

“I  think what a lot of actuaries will tell you is if you have preventative care and prevent a more costly hospital stay, cancer that down the line that cost is actually …,” Sebelius said before being cut off by Shimkus,

“We are just going to agree to disagree. It’s like talking to the Republic of Korea or something,” Shimkus said.

Sebelius announced an investigation into the botched rollout of the website, while acknowledging she might have done things differently.

When asked if knowing what she knows today, if she would have backed the White House’s plan to launch on Oct. 1, Sebelius said, “I would have probably done a slower launch, maybe with fewer people and done some additional beta testing, which is part of what has happened, frankly, in the early months of the launch.”

Sebelius said the Affordable Care Act now has more than 364,000 enrollees. But that’s only a third of original projections. So, far, 1.9 million have gone through the system but not picked a plan.

“There is actually a significant number who are actually following through and enrolling,” said White House spokesperson Josh Earnest.

However, a Dec. 23 deadline looms in order to get coverage by Jan. 1.

“I think when we get to Jan. 1, it’ll be clear that more Americans will have lost their health insurance than will sign up under the new Obamacare policies. This is not what the president promised the American people,” House Speaker John Boehner said.

State websites still continue to do better. California leads with 107,000 enrolled. New York has more than 45,000.

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