Dems press Sebelius to speed up Obama health law implementation

Senate Democrats raised concerns about the implementation of President Obama's signature healthcare law during closed-door meetings this week with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Sebelius met Thursday morning with the Senate Finance Committee, following a series of one-on-one meetings with committee members on Wednesday.

Senators said they pressed Sebelius on the status of the implementation effort — including delays in some their favorite projects.

"I've got real issues with some of the things they're doing over there, on rules and regulations and timing," Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said.

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Rockefeller said he wasn't satisfied with some of the answers he received, but that he also recognizes the monumental task of implementing such a massive law.

"She was getting bombarded a lot, and all of a sudden I wanted to say, 'Whoa.' You go take that job," Rockefeller said.

This week's meetings follow a Finance Committee hearing last month in which several Democrats similarly raised issues with the implementation effort.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) met one-on-one with Sebelius on Wednesday, where she pressed the secretary on the lack of progress toward implementing the law's Basic Health Program — an option to help states provide care to low-income people.

Cantwell said there doesn't appear to be any new progress since she asked the secretary about the program last month.

Rockefeller and several other senators who met with Sebelius declined to discuss the specific issues they raised.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the committee's top Republican and a staunch critic of the healthcare law, said Sebelius was responsive to his questions but he still has serious concerns about certain policies.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said only that the meeting was "wonderful" and about "everything."