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House Obamacare briefing for Dems only; GOP shut out

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Kathleen-Sebelius

More than three weeks after its Oct. 1 rollout, the Department of Health and Human Services will finally brief Congress on the problems plaguing the online insurance exchange. Only one problem — no Republicans allowed.

Mike Hash, the director of the agency’s Office of Health reform, will brief House Democrats at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday in a closed-door session, according to The Washington Post.

The Post reported:

The briefing comes as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius published a blog post detailing some of the efforts the administration is undertaking to fix HealthCare.gov, including bringing on former Office of Management and Budget acting director Jeffrey Zients.

“We’ve also brought in additional experts and specialists drawn from within government, our contractors, and industry, including veterans of top Silicon Valley companies,” Sebelius wrote. “These reinforcements include a handful of Presidential Innovation Fellows. This new infusion of talent will bring a powerful array of subject matter expertise and skills, including extensive experience scaling major IT systems. This effort is being marshaled as part of a cross-functional team that is working aggressively to diagnose parts of HealthCare.gov that are experiencing problems, learn from successful states, prioritize issues, and fix them.”

By excluding the GOP, the Department of Health and Human Services is ignoring the majority of the House membership — something that’s not sitting well with House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

“Far too much information about Obamacare’s rollout is being concealed from the public,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said, according to The Washington Post. “All members – as well as the American people – deserve answers for this debacle. That’s why we have asked the administration to provide the same briefing to House Republicans. This snub is all the more offensive after Secretary Sebelius declined to testify at a House hearing this week. It’s time for the Obama administration to honor its promises of transparency and face some accountability.”

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