Sebelius to be grilled by Congressional committee

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Health and Human Services released the latest Healthcare.gov stats Wednesday, the same day HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is set to go before a Senate subcommittee to defend the site's troubled rollout.

HHS says 1.9 million people have applied and gotten their eligibility data since October and are now in a position to choose a health plan, and that enrollment in federal programs was more than four times higher than in October. This latter stat loses some of its luster, considering the site was unable to handle the expected web traffic and reports have surfaced that the project's release timeline was considered untenable long before the site went live.

Sebelius, who was also grilled by House members in October, is expected to have a tough go before the Congressmen. Politico notes that while the GOP's attacks have been vociferous ones, dissatisfaction is bipartisan. Politico notes, for example, that the White House has served up bland statements of support and that there have been several leaks about a less-than-warm relationship between the administration and the head of HHS.

Although Sebelius is the one being grilled, a Wall Street Journal poll indicates that President Obama is being singed by the legislation that triggered the website in the first place. The Journal said that 60% of the people polled said the 2010 healthcare reform law has shaped their opinion of the president, and that his favorability rating, which is about more than just the healthcare law, hit around 46% among the 1,000 adults surveyed between Dec. 4 and Dec. 8. 

The poll showed that Obama is not the only one being panned, and that more than half said the 113th Congress is the worst, a sentiment the Journal says “is the most negative verdict going back to 1990.”

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