October 30th, 2013
01:54 PM ET
4 years ago

Frustrated Sebelius to questioner: 'Whatever'

Washington (CNN) - She had been in the congressional hot seat for two and a half hours. And many Republicans had been waiting just as long to ask her questions.

When Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Mississippi, got his chance, he pounded away at Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hard enough to elicit a rare, audible sign of frustration from her.

Sebelius blurted out a word common to exasperated teenagers and zen masters alike, "whatever."

Is it really 'illegal' for Sebelius to buy Obamacare?

It came after Harper repeatedly asked if President Barack Obama should be seen as responsible for the HealthCare.gov problems.

The first two times, Sebelius answered that she was responsible for the debacle, that it was her job.

And so Harper, asked a final and third time: "It is the President's ultimate responsibility, correct?"

Sebelius gestured toward him and the search for words found only frustration.

"You clearly, uh," (then a small pause, followed by), "whatever."

The Secretary put both her hands in the air, briefly, then resumed.

"He is the President. He is responsible for government programs," she concluded.

Filed under: Kathleen Sebelius
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. JC

    Geeze, I'll think twice before I vote for a Dem again...

    October 30, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    Listen, when you go to Hospital you know the costs involved in it. Had we had single-payer system–there would have been too much crowd in Hospitals, whether needed or not people would go there. With this intentions–introduced Healthcare Exchanges. The payment is you and insurance. Insurance needs operating costs. We can not afford to Nationalize Hospitals–it yields more repercussions. So ACA Law is drafted, passed, upheld. Every one has onus to pay. Be glad you are not denied. Nothing lie in it. O.k. GOP want Obama to fail. Bottom line?

    October 30, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Data Driven


    "To Gurgyl. How many times did we hear the President state our health care rates will go down $2,500 in premiums when in fact he knew that it would not. How many times did the President state that everyone will have the advantage of having the same health care when he exempted himself, congress, unions, and other groups. He knew this was a lie as well. Simply put for you, is you support and blindly follow a LIAR."

    Getting sick of unsupported conservative claims. Your claim that some people are "exempt" is a proven lie. And what's this about a reduction of $2500 in premiums? For all? For some? Over a certain period of time?

    Nothing in your comment is either verified or truthtful. Getting real sick of the liars who troll in here while responses - LIKE THIS ONE! –get moderated away.

    October 30, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. Izzy Malloy

    Witch hunt? What ObamaCare is really going to do is stick you with insurance options you don't want (like lactate services young man and pediatric medicine old lady). Since CNN offers a glimpse of the rate BUT NOT THE DEDUCTIBLES, and since those rates are revealed before they admit to how many really, really sick people's expenses you youngsters are going to have to pay for, I suspect you won't be laughing too long yourselves. A deductible of $4K means you might as well just pay for medicine yourself. And what about the failures this contractor has in its portfolio. Expensive programs that the Canadian government just ended up scrapping because they were put together so pathetically. Yeah, after spending millions, they just chucked the programs. More tea party lies? Okay, it's your future.

    October 30, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. bones1918

    Other Sebelius responses included I'm rubber you're glue, I know you are but what am I, and bite me.

    October 30, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. jinx9to88

    A lot of crying GOP bloggers on here, its kinda funny. Where the jobs, jobs and jobs the GOP promised in 2010? Say it isn't so, did the GOP lie and mislead the American people? No way Fox said the GOP never lies. GOP come outside the FOX bubble the weather is great!! bahaha

    October 30, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. James

    What hospital has the costs listed? You don't know what you're charged until you get the bill.

    October 30, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. A Pattern is Developing

    Hillary Clinton: "What DIFFERENCE does it make?!"

    Sebelius: "Whatever"

    Obama: "I read about it in the newspaper."

    Clueless, uninformed, disengaged, and yet they want to run your healthcare and your life.
    I think we all know how this will work out.

    October 30, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    Anything to keep from actually working right T-Publicans?
    They're too lazy to think, too lazy to read and much too lazy to work for the American people – but you can always count on them to be in attack mode.

    October 30, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Stan

    Why reinvent the wheel? Great medical healthcare models exist and are used in Germany, Israel, Netherlands, Sweden.
    Utilize them, at least learn from them. Only in America a person can work all his life, pay taxes, be a law abiding citizen, and in the end lose it all because he/she got sick. And proudly call it freedom. If there is one thing that needs to be nationalized that is healthcare-because medical assistance is a right ( at least in all Western countries except America). Somehow, in America , the word "universal" or "national" is automatically associated with communist or soviet invasion. On another note: Obamacare is a scam, he may had good intentions, but it was done very unprofessionally and needed at lest 2-3 more years of planning and consulting with domestic and foreign specialists.

    October 30, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. Name

    This is getting ugly every day in America, stop the hatred and make this country like the outside world think it is, every law starts tuff so republican stop your hatred for Obama and do the best for the people that elected your, Obama is not running again ,your campaign was all about this law and still lost in the house states and governor ship,hatred will never bill this great nation, all the hatred in the south is spreading every part of America just because of Obama, stop this stupidity and helped those uneducated people that think the president is Muslim because they can't check facts but they get their news from rush and the fox noise

    October 30, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Hairy reed

    My wife just came in and told me our insurance is being cancelled, I mean transitioned (because it make sense to me that in order for insurance companies to make money, they must cancel their source of income).


    October 30, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. just faking

    what is all the big hub bub about this fake scandal? this fake disaster? this is all fake, fake, fake, fake people losing their healthcare plans, fake people paying double/triple for their healthcare, fake web site bugs, it is all fake like all the other fake scandals. why do people keep making up all these fake scandals?

    what difference does it make? whatever.

    October 30, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. A True Conservative

    Wow – whatever – a bit dismissive coming from an appointee to an elected member of Congress, don't you think? Good to see DataDriven still posting – now I'm convinced he is posting from the White House basement!

    October 30, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. Tom Legare

    So it's utterly amazing to me that the Repubs have no plan but to deny health care to millions of Americans with no plan of their own. All they have become are name callers, obstructiionists and troublemakers!! Is that what our Governmentr s supposed to be. They have no jobs bills, no farm bill, no transportation bill, no tax bills, nothing but cry cry and cry some more . And then calll good people bad names and irritate the hell out of everyonne else. LOSERS!!!!

    October 30, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. stephennowlin

    I saw that exchange - in the context of a hearing specifically about technical problems with the website rollout, the idiot Mississippi Congressman was trying to get Sibelius to assign direct responsibility to Obama. Of course everyone already knows Presidents are held accountable for whatever happens during their administrations, so the question was disingenuous from start. Sibelius was correct to answer by asserting that she was charged by the President with responsibility for implementation of ACA - the exchange was longer than reported above, and she repeated that correct assertion a number of times. This was not a hearing on the global philosophies of governance, it was specifically focused on individuals and companies involved in directly managing the ACA rollout. Sibelius's frustrated "whatever" was thoughtfully appropriate and had nothing to do with a a fat head inserted in a tiny body opening which is the remark that Congressman Harper deserved.

    October 30, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. Peoples State of Illinois

    After Obamcare was passed, unions that supported its passage requested and received special exemptions

    Within months after Obamacare was passed, Obama gave some organizations an exemption from some of the requirements of Obamacare. As time went on, more than 1,300 organizations received these exemptions.

    More than half of the people who are covered by insurance plans that received these exemptions are in union insurance plans. These unions supported the passage of Obamacare. But immediately after Obamacare was passed, these unions wanted exemptions from the very same law that they wanted to force everyone else to obey. This reveals an extreme level of hypocrisy among many of the supporters of Obamacare.

    In addition, these exemptions are illegal for two reasons – because Obama granted the exemptions without approval from Congress, and because the Constitution requires the law to treat everyone the same.

    The Washington Times wrote of this:

    “Selective enforcement of the law is the first sign of tyranny. A government empowered to determine arbitrarily who may operate outside the rule of law invariably embraces favoritism as friends, allies and those with the best-funded lobbyists are rewarded. Favoritism inevitably leads to corruption, and corruption invites extortion. Ultimately, the rule of law ceases to exist in any recognizable form, and what is left is tyranny.”

    “The now-familiar monthly trickling down of new waivers is, at best, a tacit admission that Obamacare is a failure. So far, seven entire states and 1,372 businesses, unions and other institutions have received waivers from the law. The list includes the administration’s friends and allies and, of course, those who have the best lobbyists.”

    “More than 50 percent of the Obamacare waiver beneficiaries are union members, which is striking because union members account for less than 12 percent of the American work force. The same unions that provided more than $120 million to Democrats in the last two elections and, in many cases, openly campaigned in favor of the government takeover of your health care, now celebrate that Obamacare is not their problem.”

    October 30, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. Swedge70

    Well, Republicans asking the same question over and over until they get an answer they like (regardless of the facts) is pretty common. "You say Saddam isn't responsible for 9/11? Well, keep looking until he is. I wanna go to war!"

    October 30, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. jinx9to88

    The bottom line is if the GOP wants to replace Obamacare when some elections. GOP can start with Virginia, oh wait the Repub is losing by double digits to the Dem. (A little sarcasm haha). GOP won't win national election anytime soon thats why they gerrymandered their red district. GOP base is dying off and if you are not willing to change with the times you won't win elections.

    October 30, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. cc423

    Funny how the GOP was all for these same ideas ten years ago when they were THEIR ideas (most of them were crated by the Heritage Foundation)...but since they HATE this president so much, they will see this nation fail before they work to help him succeed.

    October 30, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. Tom

    These were the same people who voted for the bill without reading it. how could they know the impact of the legislation? Everything the president has said has been questionable. He said his admisitation will be the most transparent – he shoved ACA through without most of congress reading it, kept open Guantanamo, kept in place domestic surveilance, kept in palce foreign survailance, Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    October 30, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    And so Harper, asked a final and third time: "It is the President's ultimate responsibility, correct?"
    Someone should point out to Mr. Harper that they are all responsible, and it is the Congress that is ultimately responsible, not the POTUS. It is the Congress who has the "ultimate resposibility" for government oversight, not the President.

    October 30, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "Had we had single-payer system–there would have been too much crowd in Hospitals,"

    I've got news for you: this system is going to create pressure for hospitals and medical personnel as well. It will likely be a little frustrating at first, BUT it will create pressure and DEMAND on the industry (including the education component) to adapt and create more new professionals and more new centers where services can be provided, be they clinics or full blown hospitals. It will create DEMAND for more medical devices, pharmaceuticals and other goods used in the provision of medical services. In the long run, that's a VERY good thing. DEMAND SPURS ECONOMIC GROWTH AND INNOVATION, NOT SUPPLY.

    October 30, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. Karina

    Coming to the conclusion that a lot of Americans are dumb by blindly following the party of " WHATEVER " and a Presidency that is on auto pilot.

    October 30, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. A True Conservative

    @Woman in Ca – What in the world are you talking about?? You are either blind to the truth or simply choosing to ignore it. This administration is nothing if not incompetent. You and others like you continue to attack and demean anyone who disagrees with your opinion.

    October 30, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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