WASHINGTON -- Top Republicans have threatened Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius with a subpoena if she does not provide them documents related to problems with the federal healthcare exchange's website by Monday.
In a letter sent Thursday to Sebelius, whose agency has been criticized for the botched launch of healthcare.gov, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) asked for specific information related to the opening of the exchange on Oct. 1, including a detailed description of all technical problems with the website and how much the government has already spent to address the problems.
The lawmakers chastised Sebelius for not responding to a request for information sent on Oct. 10.
"While you have refused to provide information to Congress, you have been a frequent guest on numerous news and television comedy programs subsequent to October 1, 2013," wrote Alexander, the ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Issa, the chairman on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "It is unacceptable that you are providing information to numerous other outlets, but not to Congress."
Since the site went live, users have had trouble signing up for an account, getting accurate insurance estimates and completing applications for enrollment.
In a hearing Thursday members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee grilled the website's developers on how much was known about the problems before the site's launch. The developers said a last-minute decision requiring users to create an account before shopping for insurance caused a system bottleneck.
Alexander and Issa have asked for Sebelius to comply with their committees' request by 5 p.m. Monday.