In a much anticipated hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testified today on the disastrous roll out of the HealthCare.gov website, but more than occasionally found herself fielding questions concerning the Affordable Care Act, as reported in two separate articles by The Washington Post. In one, the embattled Sebelius was accused of telling “doozies” to Congress, while the other openly questioned her credibility and honesty.
Leadership by (Non) Example…
When asked by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), “Should you be any different than any of the other Americans out there who are losing their insurance today?” the HHS secretary responded:
If I have affordable coverage in my workplace, I am not eligible to go into the workplace.
Not quite satisfied with her answer, Gardner fired back:
With all due respect, I would encourage you to be just like the American people and enter the exchange and agree to find a way to do that.
Catching more than a few by surprise, Sebelius flatly stated, “It’s illegal.”
However, according the Madame Secretary’s own website, there is no reason why she can’t be an actual participant of what she’s responsible for ensuring the rest of the American citizenry abides by. According to the questionably functioning ObamaCare website, any and all can acquire their health care insurance through “the Market” if they fall into all three of the following:
- must live in the United States
- must be a U.S. citizen or national (or be lawfully present)
- can’t be currently incarcerated
Described by the WaPo as a “law professor at Washington & Lee University, and arguably the one human being on this entire planet who knows the Affordable Care Act the very best,” Tom Jost points out that the only thing “illegal” would be that Sebelius “could not get premium tax credits both because she has employer coverage and because she is Medicare eligible.”
Is a Case of the Doozies Covered by ObamaCare…?
The second article by Jennifer Rubin chides the Secretary with some rather damning conclusions. Among these:
- She claims not to know how many people have enrolled because the site is not functioning. This contradicts what insurances companies have said…
- She says the president was given updates. She either knew so little that she conveyed false information or she informed him of problems but he continued to tell voters the site was 100% ready to go.
- Neither she nor the president seem to understand that the “grandfathering” provision was not going to let all people keep the insurance plans they had. In the administration’s own regulations the qualifications for grandfathering were so rigid that millions, as we now see, are not going to keep their plan.
- The Democratic Party, which has long claimed the mantle of compassion, now stands for refusing to grant hardship waivers to those people who tried but couldn’t get on the website. When asked if the waivers would be granted, Sebelius sternly replied, “No.”
- Democratic members of Congress now resort to arguing that Obamacare has been undermined by Republicans. No Republicans voted for it. A Democratic administration wrote the regulations. A Democratic administration is implementing it. Good luck with that one, guys.
- Sebelius claimed she was “accountable,” but this means little. She isn’t resigning. She still insists contractors were at fault. It’s a kind of no-consequences accountability, I suppose.
In light of the fact that the the Department Health and Human Services is a cabinet position, New York’s Cornell University Law School notes that Secretary Sebelius is 11th in line to assume the presidency.