Rep. Issa subpoenas Sebelius

Anne Wernikoff

 

House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa on Thursday subpoenaed Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over ObamaCare's rocky rollout.

Issa (R-Calif.) accused Sebelius's agency of withholding documents that would shed light on why HealthCare.gov launched with massive technical problems on Oct. 1.

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The subpoena compels HHS to produce certain documents by Nov. 13. In a statement, Issa called the department's failure to comply with previous information requests "completely unacceptable."

“The American people deserve to know why the administration spent significant taxpayer money on a product that is entirely dysfunctional and puts their personal information at risk," said the California Republican.

Issa had raised the possibility of a subpoena in a letter to HHS last week. He issued a similar order to ObamaCare contractor Quality Software Services Inc. on Tuesday.

The Obama administration is under enormous pressure to explain why the healthcare law's online enrollment system is still failing.

Republicans on the Oversight Committee are seeking information about the site's construction and testing, as well as the number of people who have successfully enrolled so far.

Issa's initial Oct. 10 request fell during the government shutdown, when HHS's staff was severely curtailed.

Department spokeswoman Joanne Peters said the committee has now made five separate requests for documents and interviews with HHS officials.

"While we are working diligently to satisfy their interest and have repeatedly communicated our intent to cooperate, their timeline was not feasible given the vast scope of their requests," Peters said.