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Topics: Obamacare

Gunfight at the energy and commerce corral

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Beltway Confidential,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Obamacare,Health and Human Services,Health Care,House Ways and Means Committee,Kathleen Sebelius

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner told a congressional committee yesterday that the Obamacare program is working.

Yes, that's what she said.

“I’m saying it’s working, it’s just not working at the speed and success rate we want,” Tavenner told Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady during a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Tavenner was frequently pressed by committee members on a host of issues concerning the Obamacare program's Healthcare.gov website but she still managed to emerge essentially unscathed from the hearing.

Today will be different

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius isn't likely to be so lucky when she testifies today before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Sebelius will be grilled intensely by Republican members of the panel, led by its chairman, Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, on her management of the design of Healthcare.gov, the Obamacare program's main web portal.

Even before today's appearance, Sebelius didn't have the best of relationships with the committee, thanks to her department's frequent resistance to oversight requests from Upton and other House committees for documents and information about Obama administration programs.

Then there was Jon Stewart

Sebelius also didn't help her cause when she initially balked at testifying, claiming a scheduling problem prevented it.

That excuse didn't fly with Upton when Sebelius somehow found time the same week to appear on the Jon Stewart television show.

“The rollout has been a complete mess, beyond the worst case scenario, and yet those administration officials responsible have indicated they will not be available to testify next week,” Upton said.

“This is wholly unacceptable. Secretary Sebelius had time for Jon Stewart, and we expect her to have time for Congress.”

Yes, things could get a little heated today.

In today's Washington Examiner

Editorial: No, Obamacare won't let you keep your health plan.

Philip Klein: Here's why Obama said people could keep their health plan.

Tim Carney: You can keep your health plan if Obama likes it.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth: A Vehicle Mileage Tax could help states take back highway building from Washington.

Susan Ferrechio: As budget talks begin, hopes fade for a grand bargain.

David M. Drucker: Republicans urge colleagues to offer Obamacare alternatives.

In other news

The Washington Post: Cancelled policies spur furor over Obamacare.

The New York Times: Where the buck stops, some see a bystander.

NBC News: Five questions Sebelius must answer.

USA Today: Health chief on the hot seat today.

New York Post: Russia used goof-bag gadgets to bug G20 delegates.

Los Angeles Times: Obama's health care promises return to haunt him.

Lefty Playbook

Talking Points Memo: Why extending the Obamacare deadline could hurt Democrats in 2014.

New Republic: The secular Syrian opposition may be imploding.

The Nation: Is the NSA eavesdropping on President Obama?

Righty Playbook

The Weekly Standard: An opportunity for the Court.

Washington Free Beacon: Iran cracks down brutally on media, civil rights.

The American Conservative: A Scottish remembrance of Russell Kirk.

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