Nation & World News

At Health Care Hearing, Republicans And Democrats Clash Again

By Mark Memmott on October 24th, 2013

(Click here to jump to our latest updates — including a Democrat accusing Republicans of holding a “monkey court.”)

Republicans in the House have framed the central question they want answered about the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act this way, NPR’s Ailsa Chang said Thursday on Morning Edition:

Are White House officials clueless, or are they liars?”

Hearings about the problems with the federal government’s new health insurance website — HealthCare.gov — begin Thursday morning at 9 a.m. ET when the House Energy & Commerce Committee hears from companies that designed the troubled sign-up site. The committee will webcast its session here.

As Ailsa reported, GOP lawmakers will be zeroing in on things the Obama administration said in the months leading up to the website’s Oct. 1 launch. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, for instance, says he repeatedly asked the administration if the website was going to be ready. Burgess says officials told him not to worry.

So now, as Burgess says, “the obvious question comes up — were you purposely untruthful with me, or did you really believe this all was going to work and you just had no earthly idea that the system you devised was so flawed?”

Related: In a development that NPR’s Julie Rovner previewed on Tuesday, the administration has said individuals without health insurance will have until March 31 to avoid a tax penalty by signing up for coverage. Previously, it appeared that the last date to sign up and avoid a penalty was Feb. 15.

Update at 12:05 p.m. ET. Some Of The Headlines So Far:

— “Contractors tell House panel they did not have enough time to test health-insurance Web site.” (The Washington Post)

— “Contractors Point Fingers Over Health-Law Website.” (The Wall Street Journal)

— “Bipartisan Dismay Over Health Plan Woes at Hearing.” (The New York Times)

— “Partisan attacks dominate ObamaCare rollout hearing.” (The Hill)

— “Contractors grilled on the Hill.” (Politico)

Update at 11 a.m. ET. This Is A “Monkey Court,” Democrat Says:

As expected, Republicans have spent the first hour of the hearing talking about mismanagement and mistakes. Minutes ago, Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey angrily accused his GOP colleagues of conducting a “monkey court” and of misleading Americans about the Affordable Care Act.

Twitter, not surprisingly, is already beginning to light up with references to #MonkeyCourt. There’s also already an @USMonkeyCourt account.

We’ll embed the audio of Pallone’s outburst, including his refusal to yield to a GOP colleague.

Update at 9:15 a.m. ET. Webcast:

Now that the hearing has begun, we’ve embedded the committee’s webcast at the top of this post.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

A Malaysian forensic team personnel handles bags of human remains found at abandoned camps used by human traffickers on the Malaysia-Thailand border in Wang Kelian on Monday.

Police: Malaysia Uncovers 139 Mass Graves Believed To Hold Migrants

Most of the victims are believed to be Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar. They are held until their families pay more money, which few can afford to do.


Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced Monday to eight months in prison for accepting illegal payments from a U.S. businessman.

Ex-Israeli Leader Ehud Olmert Sentenced To 8 Months In Corruption Trial

Olmert, who led Israel until 2009, unlawfully accepted money from a U.S. supporter. He is appealing the decision to the Supreme Court.


San Marcos, Texas, resident Keith Varela checks out the damage done to his wife's truck in the San Marcos Mobile Home Park on Sunday.

More Heavy Rain Predicted For Texas, Oklahoma

Parts of the two states are reeling from weekend flooding that damaged and destroyed homes and killed at least three people.


Juan Pablo Montoya, of Colombia, celebrates after winning the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.

Juan Pablo Montoya Wins Second Indy 500

The Colombian native came from dead last to finish first. He won the event in 2000 as a rookie.


Defense Secretary Carter: Iraqi Forces Lack ‘Will To Fight’ ISIS

Ash Carter, in an interview on CNN, said that the ISF lost Anbar despite “vastly outnumbering” fighters of the self-declared Islamic State.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments