A Tennessee lawmaker Tuesday again took the lead in questioning the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as hearings shifted to the Senate.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, told the panel his constituents, in large numbers, continue to experience large rate increases or see their policies canceled.

Meanwhile, he said, the White House website continues to say that if Americans like their current insurance they can keep it. Alexander held up an iPad showing the site.

Belying that promise, the GOP senator said, are experiences of constituents such as one he identified only as "Emily," who suffers from lupus, a disorder of the immune system. Emily, he said, wrote that coverage she regarded as "a lifeline" was being canceled on Jan. 1.

Reading aloud from her letter to him, Alexander said she was one of 16,000 Tennesseans losing coverage under CoverTN, a program involving cooperation between state government and the private sector to cover the working uninsured.

Under new insurance, the constituent wrote, her premiums would be 400 percent higher.

"I beg of you to continue to fight for people like me," she added. "Please help me understand how this is affordable."

Alexander's comments followed last week's much-publicized questioning of Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood. Blackburn got Sebelius to accept responsibility for problems associated with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act since Oct. 1.

But Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, chairman of the Senate committee, painted a vastly different picture of what Americans are experiencing under the health reform law.

Harkin said working families in his state are getting good coverage for premiums of around $100 a month.

"Let's not lose sight of the big picture here," he said of new people coming into the insurance system.

The law, he said, is fulfilling its promise of providing coverage to those who couldn't get it before.

"We'll have some tough questions, fine," Harkin said as senators prepared to take testimony from Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "And let's get the website (HealthCare.gov) fixed."

Harkin said he was paying close attention to the tone of the questions about the rollout.

"Is this in order to help fix this system so we can move forward to make this Affordable Care Act work or is it another means to try to tear it down and discourage participation?" the Iowa senator asked.

Tavenner said various aspects of the website are being rapidly improved.