Democratic NC Sen. Hagan Wants Probe of Obamacare Rollout

Image: Democratic NC Sen. Hagan Wants Probe of Obamacare Rollout

Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 04:08 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is pushing for a widespread investigation into the botched launch of HealthCare.gov.

The first-term North Carolina senator demands "transparency and accountability" from President Barack Obama, and says she plans to request that the Government Accountability Office and the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General conduct an investigation into the failings of the federal website that explains coverage options and premium costs, The Charlotte Observer reports.

But Hagan, who faces a tough re-election fight next year, quickly came under fire from Republicans who say her motives are self-serving, calling them "an act of pure political desperation."

While declining to say whether she thought Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius should be fired, Hagan said, "We need to figure out why this happened and make sure it never happens again."

"Once I'm able to look at this accountability, then I'll be able to make a better determination about what took place. Transparency and accountability from the administration is what we're looking for. The administration needs to show what the punch list is."

Hagan is collecting signatures in support of a letter to the GAO and Health and Human Services asking for a "thorough investigation to determine the causes of the design and implementation failures of HealthCare.gov."

"These problems are simply unacceptable, and Americans deserve answers and swift solutions. Taxpayers are owed a full and transparent accounting of how the vendors contracted to build the site failed to launch it successfully," a draft of the letter reads.

In a conference call to reporters on Tuesday, Hagan also revealed that she had signed onto a bill introduced by Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana that will allow people with insurance cancellation notices to keep their current coverage, Politico reports.

The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Pryor, an Arkansas Democrat, and Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat.

In 2009, Hagan said people who are "happy" with their healthcare plans should be able to keep them under Obamacare. But now her comments may come back to hurt the senator as she heads into a fierce re-election campaign in 2014.

She was elected in 2008, when Obama became the first Democrat to win North Carolina since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Brook Hougesen, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said, "Kay Hagan wasn't being honest when she promised that everyone could keep their health plans if they liked them, and as a result many North Carolinians are losing their healthcare plans and face skyrocketing costs."

According to the National Review, 160,000 people have lost their current insurance plans, and they are facing premiums that have more than doubled because of Obamacare. It points out that North Carolina is more susceptible to healthcare increases because Blue Cross Blue Shield represents by far the greatest portion of the state's insurance market.

The National Review says that a poll in early October, before the Obamacare rollout, found that only 19 percent of voters thought Hagan should be elected, while 56 percent wanted a replacement.

Another poll in late October showed 54 percent of North Carolinians oppose Obamacare.

According to a new poll by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, Hagan has lost almost all of her strong lead over North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tilis.

Hagan leads 44 percent to 42 percent, a huge drop from the 15-point lead she held in September, before the HealthCare.gov launch.

She has similar slight advantages to other potential Republicans in the race, but lags behind tea party candidate Greg Bannon by 44 percent to 43 percent.




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