Saying “no private sector chief executive would escape accountability after such poor performance,” Tennessee’s senior senator on Tuesday demanded that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resign.

“Expecting this secretary to be able to fix in a few weeks what she has not been able to fix during the last three and one-half years is unrealistic,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said in a speech on the Senate floor this morning. “It is throwing good money after bad.”

Sebelius, no stranger to partisan fights as the former two-term Democratic governor of deeply red Kansas, is expected to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday for a grilling over the disastrous rollout of the federal online health care exchange.

She is also expected to speak in Memphis on Friday afternoon.

In response to calls for her resignation, HHS spokesman Fabien Levy said this morning: “There has been a longstanding political opposition to the law by some, despite the benefits it is delivering to millions of Americans. The Secretary works for the President and the American people, many of whom desperately need affordable health care. She is committed to getting this right and ensuring that HealthCare.govis working smoothly. It is notable that many of the people calling on her to resign have also tried to repeal the law.”

Opponents of the law were quick to jump on the technical failing of the web site, including Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican from Sebelius' home state, where she also served as insurance commissioner, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Roberts was the first senator to seek her resignation over the failed debut of Healthcare.Gov on Oct. 1.

Others point out that major health care initiatives, including the now highly popular Medicare and the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit initially had technical glitches that were in time worked out.

Alexander said in his remarks that Sebelius appears not to have forewarned President Barack Obama in the months and days before the rollout that it was deeply flawed.

“Despite repeated requests, she has refused to tell Congress or the public the reasons the Obamacare website continues to fail while insisting on more time and an undisclosed amount of money to fix it,” Alexander said.

“It is time for the President to ask the Secretary of Health and Human Services to resign.”

Sebelius rebuffed the Energy and Commerce Committee’s first request for her to testify earlier this month, citing a scheduling conflict. In addition to Alexander, Roberts and Cruz, at least 32 members of Congress have asked the president to fire her.

Some observers of the rollout are predicting that the problem is not exclusively technical and that other failings will soon become evident.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a fellow with the American Enterprise Institute following the Obamacare developments, said by e-mail that he assumed “her strategy to get the failed launch behind her is to try and fix the website, although I think the web site is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of other issues that are going to manifest as a result of the fact that the ‘marketplaces’ they tried to create through regulatory fiat have largely failed outside of a handful of states like California (which happens to be the only state they keep pointing to as a sign of success) and perhaps Maryland (and) NY.”

Asked why she would want to travel to Memphis to lay out her argument for enrolling in the Affordable Care Act in a speech scheduled for Friday afternoon at the Benjamin Hooks headquarters of the Memphis and Shelby County Public Library, Gottlieb suspected it might have to do with the location of major health care provider chains. The seven-hospital Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare and the 14-hospital Baptist Memorial Healthcare are based in Memphis, as is the University of Tennessee’s Health Science Center.