By Sam Baker - 10/08/13 03:51 AM EDT
Stewart pressed Sebelius on the decision to delay the law's employer mandate but not its individual mandate, and on reports that employers have capped workers at 29 hours per week in order to avoid providing healthcare benefits.
He then criticized the law for leaving in place the private healthcare market, rather than transitioning to a government-run, single-payer system.
"I understand your point, and I understand if we could have perhaps figured out a pathway, that may have been a reasonable solution. But … I think the president did not want to dismantle the healthcare that 85 percent of the country had," Sebelius said.
Sebelius also said HHS will be able to fully implement the healthcare law, despite myriad problems with the initial rollout of healthcare.gov, the main portal for consumers in 36 sates to enroll in coverage.
"It's frustrating to have to defend something that is less than ideal, or that is functioning at what seems to be a level of incompetence that is larger than what it should be," Stewart said.
Sebelius said the site would find its footing by the end of the six-month enrollment window.
"It started a little rockier than we'd like," she said. "It's better today than it was yesterday."