But Sebelius is scheduled to attend the Kennedy Forum on Community Mental Health in Boston Wednesday evening and travel to Phoenix the next day, making her unavailable to appear before Upton's panel Thursday at 9 a.m. Earlier Monday, an HHS spokeswoman said Sebelius intended to testify and the department was in contact with the committee to find a date that worked. The panel later announced Sebelius's expected appearance on Oct. 30.
For Thursday's hearing, the Energy and Commerce Committee also invited representatives from CGI, QSSI, Serco and Equifax, contractors that are working on the law's rollout, to testify. So far, CGI, Serco and Equifax have all confirmed their attendance, the committee said.
Sebelius has been under heightened scrutiny since the abysmal launch of the federal health insurance exchange three weeks ago, which caused President Barack Obama to tell Americans on Monday that no one is “madder” about the website not working effectively than he is. The president's remarks did not satisfy House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who last week vowed to continue fighting the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act through aggressive oversight.
“Americans didn't get any answers from the president today, but the House's oversight of this failure is just beginning,” Boehner said in a statement Monday. “Secretary Sebelius must change her mind and appear at this week's hearing in the House,” he continued. “With more than 1 trillion taxpayer dollars being spent on a completely defective program, Congress is going to get to the bottom of this debacle.”
With some Republicans calling for Sebelius to lose her job over the rollout, Obama's press secretary has said she still has the president's “full confidence.” She was present Monday for Obama's remarks on the rollout, though not at his side as she was three weeks earlier when the president marked the launch of open enrollment for coverage on the exchanges.
Follow Jessica Zigmond on Twitter: @MHjzigmond