Kathleen Sebelius is scheduled to testimony tomorrow morning [correction: Wednesday morning] before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The hearing — “PPACA Implementation Failures: Answers from HHS” — will start at 9:00 a.m.
I assume that C-SPAN will carry the proceedings. If so, I will live-blog them, at least for a while.
It will be interesting to see whether, or to what extent, Democrats on the Committee criticize Sebelius and/or the administration during the hearing. I expect most of the Committee Dems to adopt a “mistakes were made; it’s time to move on” attitude. But some will likely express a bit of frustration, as well.
For reasons of my own curiosity, I hope Sebelius is asked about the expected effect of the website problems on the extent to which people are likely to purchase insurance policies offered on the exchanges in Year One. I also hope that members will explore the impact on the program if the number of purchasers falls short of administration targets.
Ezekiel Emmanuel repeatedly told Megyn Kelly that the number of people who have signed up to date is irrelevant. I suppose he meant that anyone interested in purchasing insurance through an exchange will have ample time to do so in Year One once the technical glitches are fixed. Thus, to the extent there is a shortfall now, it will be offset as those who wanted to purchase insurance early eventually purchase it later on.
But it seems likely that some who would have purchased early won’t log into the system later — either because of the frustration they encountered initially, because they no longer trust the competence of the exchanges, or due to the fact that people are simply more likely to do something once than to do it twice. There may also be questions of timing, such as those raised by Yuval Levin, after talking to CMS sources, pertaining to the importance of having the system fully operational throughout an advertising campaign that will begin six weeks before Christmas.
There’s a reason why Democrats — Ezekiel Emmanuel excepted, at least for purposes of public consumption — are so freaked out about the website problems. I’m hoping that these reasons will be articulated tomorrow.