Sebelius' Testimony Identical to CMS Head's Prepared Remarks

CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner testified Monday before the House Ways and Means Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If Kathleen Sebelius' testimony to Congress on Wednesday seems familiar, it's because it is.

The Health and Human Services Secretary's prepared testimony for a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing is a carbon copy of the prepared testimony delivered by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, who testified Tuesday before the Ways and Means Committee.

Save the perfunctory greetings for the committee chairmen and ranking members, the testimonies are six-and-a-half pages of word-for-word duplication. While the focus of both of the hearings is similar, it's unusual for administration officials to submit identical written testimonies — particularly when the political stakes are so high. Both appointees are trying to assuage concerns and criticism that the administration did not take implementation issues with the Obamacare website seriously enough.

Of course, Sebelius is likely to offer different oral testimony in person. Tavenner made remarks that departed from her prepared testimony. For example, she apologized to Americans for the failures of HealthCare.gov.

"I want to apologize to you that the website has not worked as well as it should," Tavenner said in a departure from her prepared remarks.

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.


Topics: health-care heal