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Kathleen Sebelius apologizes for "miserably frustrating" Obamacare website glitches

The Cabinet secretary responsible for overseeing the roll out of the national Affordable Care Act website apologized for the glitches and delays.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing about the troubled launch of the Healthcare.gov website October 30, 2013 in Washington, DC. The federal healthcare insurance exchange site has been plagued by problems since its launch on October 1. (KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

The Cabinet secretary responsible for overseeing the roll out of the healthcare law apologized to Americans on Wednesday for the glitch-filled debut of the HealthCare.gov website.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a congressional panel that the "vast majority" of consumers would be able to shop for health care plans on the troubled website by the end of November.

"In these early weeks, access to HealthCare.gov has been a miserably frustrating experience for way too many Americans, including many who have waited years, in some cases their entire lives, for the security of health insurance," Sebelius said before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"I am as frustrated and angry as anyone with the flawed launch of HealthCare.gov," she said. "So let me say directly to these Americans: You deserve better. I apologize. I'm accountable to you for fixing these problems."

Sebelius' apology came a day after the website suffered another setback when a data center owned by Verizon went down on Tuesday.

Republicans have been calling for Sebelius to resign over the troubled launch of the website, where consumers are supposed to be able to compare health plans, calculate federal tax incentives and shop for coverage. 

Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, accused Sebelius of not adequately testing security measures on the website before asking Americans to hand over their personal information.

"This is a completely unacceptable level of security," he said, adding, "you know it's not secure."

CNN reports that an internal memo it obtained on Wednesday warned of a "high" security risk because of a lack of testing of the website, just days before the website's launch.

"Due to system readiness issues, the (security control assessment) was only partly completed," said the memo from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

"This constitutes a risk that must be accepted and mitigated to support the Marketplace Day 1 operations."

Sebelius responded that more testing was not done because they did not have time and no one recommended they delay the Oct 1 launch.

The troubled website has cost $174 million so far, including $56 million for technological support.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/131030/kathleen-sebelius-apologizes-miserably-frustrati