"Hold me accountable for the debacle, I am accountable," said Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as she testified in front of a congressional committee on Wednesday.
That Sebelius is taking responsibility is no surprise to Tama Wagner of St. Joseph. The employee at Heartland worked as Sebelius' public information officer in the Kansas Department of Insurance in the late 1990s. Wagner considers Sebelius her mentor.
"Kathleen and I spent a lot of time in cars, in a small plane, traveling throughout Kansas for at least a couple years," Wagner said. "You get to know someone pretty well to work that close to someone. I have complete confidence in her."
Wagner describes Sebelius as a tough and demanding boss.
"But it was the sort of thing that was ok because she was that way because she never asked of any of us to do anything she wasn't doing herself," said Wagner.
"You work for people who actually teach you how to be good employees, how to be consciencious workers."
As the nation watches what is going on in Washington, D.C., Wagner wishes she could be there for her friend.
"Because I know her and she's someone I adore," she said. "I hate to see her in this situation. But I can't think of anyone better prepared to be in the hot seat."
Wagner is confident her friend and mentor, along with her current employees, will fix the problems with the Obamacare website.
"She's very focused and she's kind of prepared her whole life to be in this position," Wagner said.
"Those people are not going to sleep, they're not going to eat, they're not going to leave that place until they get it right. She's going to see to that."