Sebelius Describes ‘Most Terrifying’ Moment Of Obamacare Launch


Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Tuesday that her “most terrifying” days of Obamacare’s rollout were those leading up to Dec. 1, when the Obama administration had pledged to have fixed.

“I think probably the most terrifying couple of days were Nov. 29 and 30,” Sebelius told the crowd at a panel discussion in Washington, D.C., hosted by the pro-Obamacare group Enroll America. “I remember thinking, ‘I really hope this is going to work.'”

After the website’s disastrous launch in October, which resulted in fewer than 30,000 people signing up in the first month, HHS set a Dec. 1 deadline for fixing it. And while the administration always expressed public confidence that the goal would be met, Sebelius’ comments indicate there still was some internal doubt in the days before the re-launch.

The site’s performance did improve after Dec. 1, and sign-ups accelerated in the following months, eventually hitting 8 million in April. But the failed October debut remains Sebelius’ biggest regret about the rollout, she said Tuesday.

“Better would have been a website that was fully functional,” she said.