Hard to believe they lied to us, huh?
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in frequent contact with President Obama and senior White House aides before the disastrous launch of the federal ObamaCare exchange last year.
While Sebelius has said the president was not aware of HealthCare.gov’s problems, more than 750 pages of documents obtained by The Hill through a Freedom of Information Act request show she made scores of visits to the White House.
The documents reveal that Sebelius met with or attended calls and events with Obama at least 18 times between Oct. 27, 2012, and Oct. 6, 2013, including at least seven instances in which the two were scheduled to discuss the new healthcare law, according to the secretary’s draft schedules.
She had breakfast or lunch with Pete Rouse, considered one of Obama’s closest advisers, at least three times. Moreover, Sebelius had scheduled calls or meetings with Valerie Jarrett, an Obama confidante, and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough.
Sebelius also met with or had calls with Chris Jennings, then a White House senior healthcare adviser, at least seven times in the roughly yearlong period.
The schedules suggest Sebelius was an active White House presence in the months leading up to the botched rollout, and raise new questions about why Obama wouldn’t have known about the problems that were exposed on Oct. 1.
HHS said in a statement to The Hill that Sebelius is often on the White House grounds.
“She is frequently at the White House for meetings on a wide range of topics, including the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. As we have also said, the Affordable Care Act is more than just a website, and consistent with other significant policy initiatives, there was coordination across the Administration on a broad range of policy and implementation topics,” said the agency.
Since last fall, when lawmakers began calling for her ouster, Sebelius has maintained that Obama was in the dark about the glitches that plagued HealthCare.gov.
“No, sir,” Sebelius told CNN’s Sanjay Gupta on Oct. 22 when asked if the president knew of problems before the site’s launch.
Obama has similarly said that he wasn’t aware of any issues.
“On the website, I was not informed directly that the website would not be working the way it was supposed to. Had I been informed, I wouldn’t be going out saying, boy, this is going to be great,” Obama said in a Nov. 14 press conference.