Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius brushed off a question from a member of congress Wednesday who pressed her to say that President Barack Obama ultimately bore responsibility for the problematic health-care rollout.
“I want to say I appreciate you accepting responsibility for these initial rollout failures that we’ve had,” said Mississippi Republican Rep. Greg Harper during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “But who is ultimately responsible? It is the president, correct? … The president is ultimately responsible for the rollout, ultimately.”
“No, sir,” Sebelius said, saying that HHS was responsible for it.
“But who do you answer to?” Harper shot back.
“I answer to the president,” she responded.
“All right. So is the president not ultimately responsible like a company CEO would be?” Harper asked.
Sebelius replied that while she gave him “regular reports,” “I am responsible for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. That’s what he asked me to do. That’s what I’ll continue to do.”
“So you’re saying the president is not responsible for HHS?” Harper asked.
“Sir, I didn’t say that,” he said.
“So the president ultimately is responsible,” Harper said. “I think it’s great that you’re a team player and taking responsibility, it is the president’s ultimate responsibility, correct?”
“You clearly — whatever,” Sebelius said, sounding frustrated. “Yes, he is the president. He is responsible for government programs.”