NPR : News

Filed Under:

At Health Care Hearing, Republicans And Democrats Clash Again

Play associated audio

(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/.

NPR

Lisa Lucas Takes The Reins At The National Book Foundation

Lucas is the third executive director in the history of the foundation, which runs the National Book Awards. Her priority? Inclusivity: "Everyone is either a reader or a potential reader," she says.
NPR

The Shocking Truth About America's Ethanol Law: It Doesn't Matter (For Now)

Ted Cruz doesn't like the law that requires the use of ethanol in gasoline. So what would happen if it was abolished? The surprising answer: not much, probably.
WAMU 88.5

The Latest on the Military, Political and Humanitarian Crises in Syria

Russia continues airstrikes in Syria. Secretary Kerry meets with world leaders in an attempt to resolve the country’s five-year civil war. A panel joins Diane to discuss the latest on the military, political and humanitarian crises facing Syria.

NPR

Twitter Tries A New Kind Of Timeline By Predicting What May Interest You

Twitter has struggled to attract new users. Its latest effort at rejuvenation is a new kind of timeline that predicts which older posts you might not want to miss and displays them on top.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.