Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is again pushing back against calls for her resignation over the rocky rollout of the Obamacare website, saying "we are determined to make it perfect."
While visiting a health insurance call center in Phoenix on Thursday, Sebelius stuck to the Obama administration's line that the functionality of the online insurance marketplace Healthcare.gov is improving.
"People are going through every day," she said. "It's better today than it was on October 1, but it's a long way from perfect and we are determined to have it be perfect. But what we are is three weeks into a 26-week open enrollment period, in football terminology early in the first quarter."
Responding to those Republicans in Congress who want her to step down, Sebelius said she remains focused on "getting the program up and running."
"The majority of people calling for me to resign, I would say, are people who I don't work for and who do not want this program to work in the first place," she said.
Sebelius toured the Wesley Health Center and met with call center employees whose job it is to help people purchase insurance via the government's enrollment hotline.
After the tour, she took questions from reporters, addressing some of the issues raised at a Congressional hearing earlier in the day in which four government contractors involved in the construction of Healthcare.gov pointed fingers when asked who was to blame for its early woes.
One contractor said that in the days prior to the site's launch on October 1, the government ordered the removal of a feature allowing users to review plans and premiums without creating an account.
Sebelius said that was a decision to prioritize the final product over the ability for consumers to shop anonymously.
"A decision was made to prioritize how to get the site up and running and you cannot figure out what exactly you will pay in a premium unless you submit some personal information, because your premium is really based on whether or not you qualify for a tax credit," Sebelius said.
Just as President Barack Obama did in a speech earlier this week, Sebelius emphasized that the website is just one way to purchase a new insurance policy, and recommended that those who run into problems online should call a call center or seek in-person assistance.