October 30th, 2013
09:05 AM ET
11 months ago

Highlights: Sebelius on the hot seat

Washington (CNN) - They want her fired and the health care reforms she champions dismantled, Wednesday Republicans got their chance to question Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the rocky rollout of the Obamacare website, as she testified before a House Energy and Commerce Committee.

12:36 p.m. ET: The hearing ends
Hearing length: 3 hours 33 minutes.
Members of Congress who asked questions: 51.
When Sebelius apologized for the HealthCare.gov problems: a few minutes into the hearing, during her opening statement.
Number of members who referenced the Wizard of Oz: Three. (Sebelius is from Kansas.)

Most frequent topics:
– – The President’s past assertion that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” and news that after 2010 some plans have been cancelled.
– – Whether the individual mandate should be delayed given the website problems and the delay in the employer mandate.
– – Who is to blame for: a) the lack of adequate testing (Answer: no one specific was named), b) the decision to make individuals register before they could browse plans (Answer: Michelle Snyder of CMS) c) the decision to launch the website when it wasn’t ready (Answer: Sebelius said she told the president the site was ready, based on staff guidance. She stressed that no one predicted the avalanche of problems that happened)

12:35 p.m. ET
After a sharp exchange with a Republican Congressman, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday she would "gladly join" the new health insurance exchange under Obamacare if she didn't have affordable coverage under the federal program for government officials.

12:32 p.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Wednesday the decision to require people to sign up on the Obamacare website before they could shop for rates was "wrong." Outside contractors have said a change in plans shortly before the botched October 1 launch of the website prevented people from "window-shopping" without signing up, increasing the initial volume that officials cite as the main cause of the online problems. Sebelius said the decision to make the change came from Marilyn Tavenner, who heads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in her department.

12:31 p.m. ET

To the best of your knowledge, has a man ever given birth to a baby? As the hearing moved toward its end, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-North Carolina, asked Secretary Sebelius that question, aiming to highlight that some men may be forced to buy maternity coverage as part of an insurance package under Obamacare. Sebelius responded that some men do need maternity coverage for their spouse and family, who could be covered under their policy. Ellmers insisted this is an example of why health care costs are going up, insurance coverage that may not be necessary for everyone.

12:18 p.m. ET
By the way: While Sebelius was still getting grilled at the hearing, Roger Daltrey, lead singer of the legendary band “The Who,” was performing at an unveiling of a Winston Churchill bust in the Capitol Rotunda singing “Stand by Me” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

12:04 p.m. ET
A member of Congress has sparked some applause. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, blasted HHS Secretary Sebelius for not getting her own health care through the exchanges set up by Obamacare. Sebelius explained that by law she receives the Federal Health Employee Benefits plan, which includes most federal workers. Gardner held up a letter that he said was a cancellation notice for his family's police and as he continued to ask Sebelius why she herself wasn't in the exchange, some scattered but noticeable claps came from the crowded hearing room.

12:03 p.m.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that she told President Barack Obama the website for his signature health care reforms was "ready to go" for its October 1 launch, adding: "Clearly, I was wrong. We were wrong."

11:57 a.m. ET
An internal government memo obtained by CNN and written just days before the Obamacare open enrollment warned of a "high" security risk due to a lack of testing of the healthcare.gov website. "Due to system readiness issues, the (Security Control Assessment) SCA was only partly completed," according to the memo from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "This constitutes a risk that must be accepted and mitigated to support the Marketplace Day 1 operations."

11:56 a.m. ET
Rep. John Barrow, D-Georgia, is highly critical of and has repeatedly voted to limit Obamacare. He's a Blue Dog Democrat.

11:43 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urged members of Congress on Wednesday to help inform their constituents about Obamacare, calling on them to raise awareness of available federal subsidies and make clear that people don't have to stay with the same company because they now have choice.

11:37 a.m. ET
Bad luck for the junior Congressmen on the committee. In an attempt to end the hearing on time, Committee Chair Fred Upton just announced that members will be now limited to two minutes of questioning each.

11:31 a.m. ET
A question about President Barack Obama sparked a seeming verbal exasperation from Secretary Sebelius. Rep. Greg Harper, R-Mississippi, repeatedly asked if Obama, as the chief executive, is responsible for the problems with HealthCare.gov. Sebelius demurred, insisting the website rollout was her responsibility. But on one final try, Harper stipulated, "it is the President's ultimate responsibility, is it not." She searched for words, saying, "you clearly ..." then added a rare "whatever." She concluded, "He is the President of the United States."

11:26 a.m. ET
Time check. A spokesman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee tells CNN that about 15 more members are waiting to ask questions of Secretary Sebelius. At five minutes each, that would take well over an hour. The spokesman says initially the Secretary had asked to leave by noon, but the committee may ask her to stay longer.

11:19 a.m. ET
Who's the man with the mustache and red tie behind Sebelius? That's Mike Hash, who leads the HHS office of Health Reform. He is a key coordinator of policy between the White House and HHS and is a go-to briefer when Congress wants Obamacare answers. Off camera, Hash has passed a few notes to Sebelius during the hearing. He also has a resume line that may be a bonus today: he used to work as a staff member for this committee.
Mike Hash, head of HHS Health Reform office

11:03 a.m. ET

House Speaker John Boehner's office just sent out an e-mail questioning and making hay out of Sebelius' comment (at about 10:05 a ET) that "the website has never crashed". The e-mail includes a screen shot of the HealthCare.gov error message this morning.

11:00 a.m. ET
Because of the flawed launch of the Obamacare website, the administration expects the figure for initial enrollment "will be a very small number," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House committee hearing Wednesday.

10:55 a.m. ET
Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, just mentioned a CNN.com story about the HealthCare.gov website being vulnerable to hackers. Since we are CNN.com, here's a handy link.

10:47 a.m. ET
About an hour and a half into the hearing, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-North Carolina, became the 20th committee member, out of a possible 54 members who can participate, to ask questions of Sebelius.

10:46 a.m. ET
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee accused Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of putting private information of Americans at risk by failing to properly test security measures in the troubled Obamacare website."This is a completely unacceptable level of security," said Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, adding that if the website is not functioning, "you know it's not secure." Sebelius said testing occurs regularly, but told Rogers she would get back to him on whether any end-to-end security test of the entire system has ever occurred. Rogers responded that he knows there have been no such comprehensive security tests.

10:37 a.m. ET
States running their own Obamacare health insurance exchanges instead of turning them over to the federal government are "doing well," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a congressional committee Wednesday."Everything we hear is that they see the same demand, they are eager to enroll folks, and that is going smoothly."

10:29 a.m. ET

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that no "reliable, confirmed" information exists on how many people have signed up for Obamacare health coverage, rejecting a request from a Republican congressman that she allow insurance companies to release their figures. Sebelius reiterated earlier statements that figures on initial enrollment will be made public in mid-November.

10:26 a.m. ET
The outside contractors that built the troubled Obamacare website never recommended delaying the October 1 launch, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House committee Wednesday. Her comments came in response to questions about an August report by one of the companies that cited problems.

10:21 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House committee Wednesday that "we did not adequately do end-to-end testing" of the troubled Obamacare website before its botched launch on October 1, adding that the various components "were not locked and loaded into the system" until mid-September.

10:10 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that contracts with the private companies working on the Obamacare website do not have any "built-in penalties" allowing her department to charge them for disappointing or faulty work. However, she said the agency will not pay for work that is incomplete.

10:09 a.m. ET
The exchange a few minutes ago between Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pennsylvania and Secretary Sebelius hit on perhaps the widest number of issues with HealthCare.gov yet. In his five-minute questioning period, Pitts asked:

- Had Sebelius herself tried to signup on HealthCare.gov herself? Answer: she had an initial sort of dummy account. (It was not clear from her answer if she had tried to go through the process after the website was launched.)

- Who at the agency initially decided to require users to register before they could browse, a decision that may have caused some of the biggest problems in the first weeks? Answer: Marilyn Tavener, head of the Medicare & Medicaid Services.

- Did Sebelius think two weeks of testing before launching the site was enough? Answer: clearly not.

- When was Sebelius made aware of the problem? Answer: in August, contractor CGI Federal listed some problems and she understood they were fixing them.

- Did she know that in September some insurers recommended a delay? Answer: I wasn't in that meeting and I don't think anyone estimated the degree to which we have had problems.

10:06 a.m. ET
In a sharp exchange with a Republican congressman, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday she believed she could provide legislators with a list of insurers in federal exchanges set up under Obamacare that do not offer coverage for abortion services.

9:56 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday she was confident the troubled Obamacare website would be running smoothly by November 30, adding "I have confidence, but it isn't fair to ask the American public to take our word for it."

9:51 a.m. ET
At 90 years old, Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, questioning Sebelius now, is the oldest member of Congress and was a teenager when Social Security was created. He has adamantly opposed Obamacare.

9:45 a.m. ET
A waiver of privacy rights on the Obamacare website was included in error and "will be taken down," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday, telling GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas that "we have asked them to remove that statement."

5 things we learned from Tuesday's hearing with Tavenner

9:44 a.m. ET
HHS Secretary Sebelius just said that someone named Michelle Snyder was responsible for coordinating HealthCare.gov prior to this week (when contractor CGI Federal took over). Who is that? Snyder is the top day-to-day manager for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Here's her bio.

Snyder's boss did not directly defend her but when Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, asked, "So is Michelle Snyder responsible for this debacle?", Sebelius responded "no". That's when the HHS secretary said that Congress should hold her (Sebelius) responsible.

9:35 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday before a congressional committee that Republicans should "hold me responsible" for the problem-plagued Obamacare website.

9:33 a.m. ET
So far, the Sebelius hearing is going according to a classic Congressional script. The chairman from the opposing party opens with a question about one of the hottest issues, in this case Chairman Fred Upton, R-Michigan, asked about the fact that some Americans will not be able to keep their health care plans. Then the ranking member from the president's party, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, asks friendly questions to defend their position. Now, we watch to see if there will be any news, anything goes off script. Will Republican questions elicit any new information and will any Democrats become especially critical of the HealthCare.gov roll-out.

Three states tell insurers to cancel plans that don't comply with Obamacare

9:32 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that people who bought their own health coverage before Obamacare was signed into law in 2010 can keep those policies if they choose under a "grandfather" clause included in the legislation. Her response to a question about people getting their policies canceled now defended promises by President Barack Obama that anyone who likes their health care plan can keep it, relying on the technicality that the coverage must pre-date the law. Asked if Obama was keeping his promise, Sebelius responded: "Yes, he is."


9:20 a.m. ET

What did the HHS Secretary just say? Here's a link to the eight pages of written testimony she submitted earlier this week.
Her spoken words to the committee were a shorter version.

Administration warned about site's trouble before launch

9:19 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House committee Wednesday that the "vast majority" of consumers will be able to shop online for health insurance under Obamacare by the end of November without the problems being experienced now.

9:17 a.m. ET
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized Wednesday to Americans for the "miserably frustrating experience" caused by problems with the Obamacare website.

9:15 a.m. ET
As Sebelius starts her testimony, HealthCare.gov is not working. The familiar error screen, "The system is down at the moment" appears.

9:13 a.m. ET
The top Democrat on a House committee examining Obamacare told a hearing Wednesday that the President's signature health care reforms mean that "the worst abuses of the insurance industry will be halted." Rep. Henry Waxman of California said the reforms mean better plans are available at lower premiums, and he urged Republican colleagues to "stop hyperventilating" about problems with the system's website.

Keep your plan? Maybe not

9:12 a.m. ET
Sebelius is taking the oath before the House Energy & Commerce Committee as many are watching to see if the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee will issue a subpoena for documents related to HealthCare.gov.

9:08 a.m. ET
Republican Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan opened Wednesday's hearing on Obamacare by the House Energy and Commerce Committee he chairs by saying news about the President's signature health care reforms "seems to get worse by the day," adding that "Americans are scared" and "may be losing their faith in the government."

9:04 a.m. ET
A congressional committee hearing Wednesday with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius facing questions about Obamacare has started.


Filed under: Congress • Health care • Kathleen Sebelius • Obamacare
soundoff (268 Responses)
  1. Question For Rudy NYC

    Dude, do you have a job or do you sit around all day and blog about things that you have no knowledge of whatsoever?

    October 30, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Is Obama going to blame Bush for this also? I don't think Obama blamed Bush, but I will. Obama inherited a republican crap sandwich in 2008, and the republicans refuse to help us get out of the mess they created.

    October 30, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair

    Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Lady Fair – Since you are a resident of MA, you already have an insurance plan that conforms to the new law.
    ---------–
    So what's your point? Not all people in MA have conforming policies. Not all people in MA have a policy at all. What exactly is your point?

    October 30, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. Dave in Arizona

    "11:03 a.m. ET
    House Speaker John Boehner's office just sent out an e-mail questioning and making hay out of Sebelius' comment (at about 10:05 a ET) that "the website has never crashed". The e-mail includes a screen shot of the HealthCare.gov error message this morning."

    Politicians need to stop pretending to be technical. A handled and prepared "technical difficulties" message is a lot different than a crash. If there were a crash you'd try to go to healthcare.GOV and not get ANYTHING.

    October 30, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  5. A True Conservative

    Funny Richard....multiple MSM news outlets were saying that the sie went down....even the ones in the tank for Obama were reporting it....I tend to believe them on this point....not you.....

    October 30, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Let's see. Does the huge pack of lies the RWNJs refer to include death panels, government takeover, taking our children away, death camps, and the end of civilization? Now those were lies.

    October 30, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Richard – Lies and minimum wage posters are all the republicans have left. They are going down big time, and are too stupid to realize it.

    October 30, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    "What don't you understand about EARNED? What don't you understand about EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT? Equating the federal government's contribution to its employees' health insurance benefits with the subsidy provided under the ACA is dishonest on so many levels it's not even funny. Those employees EARNED that contribution by providing their labor."
    --------------------
    You do realize that we're being needled by someone who's just a few years out of hgih school? Right?

    October 30, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Will

    Ok my Democratic friends I know that Obama was your guy, but after so many scandals you have to be questioning this administration right???

    Scandals: IRS targeting, NSA, Benghazi, Solyndra, Fast and Furious, Eric Holder Perjury (twice), GSA, and the Pigford Scandal. Obama's answer to all of these.... "I didn't know about it". Either he is part of the scandals or he is incompetent in leadership.....either way, the left should be disappointed and demanding answers.

    October 30, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. karl from az

    Ever think about how the major 'screw-ups' in Obama's administration all have been while women are in charge? For example, IRS – Lerner and that Sarah broad; Benghazi – Clinton, Rice; ObamaCare – Sebelius & Tavenner; Illegal Aliens – Napolitano. Hmmmm, just a thought.

    October 30, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. just saying

    Sniffit
    --
    "Why is Ms. Sebelius refusing to acknowlege that the insurance companies are sending letters to people saying they are no longer insured with their previous insurance companies. "
    -–
    Because they're not. They're sending letters informing people that their previous plan is ending and that they will be automatically rolled over into the new one that complies with the ACA. They are also desperately offering those same people the opportunity to pick new plans in hopes they will get them to stay away from the exchanges where they might find cheaper solutions than what the current company is offering. In other words, competition is starting to influence the insurance companies and scare them into lowering prices in hopes of keeping customers.
    ---

    geez, more lies when you thought the leftists had told them all! people that are having their healthcare plans cancelled are not being offered lower cost plans to enroll in. the new plans, that must meet obamacare requirements, and which contain many forced coverage options that the consumer did not want but must now pay for, are costing 2,3, 4 times what their old policies cost.

    nice try but we gotcha!

    October 30, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. ST

    Excuse me the media and don't confuse it with an apology. You are all bunch of do nothing people.You always report and talk much about negative matters. Is this what I used to hear when I was young from my grandma saying: "No news means good news, if they are good news, media never take any trouble to report it". They are a lot of advantages on ACA "Obamacare". BUT you are always focusing on: the President seeing things fall apart on his signature achievement; those who made the website fall apart and have no answer; Kathleen Sebelius on hot chair. Are you there to make other people's Blood Pressure go up or help them? Waiting for the answe please!

    October 30, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. penguin

    I'm still waiting for the Republican alternative to the ACA. They obviously don't care about those who are uninsured

    October 30, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. GOP = Greed Over People

    Here, I did it for you, please pay close attention to the "tax break" nomenclature!

    A subsidy is a form of financial or in kind support extended to an economic sector (or institution, business, or individual) generally with the aim of promoting beneficial economic and social outcomes.[1] Although commonly extended from Government, the term subsidy can relate to any type of support – for example from NGOs or implicit subsidies. Subsidies have a long track record and today come in various forms including: direct (cash grants, interest-free loans), indirect (tax breaks, insurance, low-interest loans, depreciation write-offs, rent rebates).[2] Furthermore, they can be broad or narrow, legal or illegal, ethical or unethical. The most common forms of subsidies are those to the producer or the consumer. Producer/Production subsidies ensure producers are better off by either supplying market price support, direct support, or payments to factors of production.[1] Consumer/Consumption subsidies commonly reduce the price of goods and services to the consumer, for example in the US at one time it was cheaper to buy petrol than bottled water.[3]
    Subsidies can be hugely damaging or beneficial because they create distortions. They are designed to overcome deficiencies in the market, support disadvantaged parts of society, and positively distort activities such as pushes towards renewable energy, recycling and agricultural set-asides. Simply put they represent an attempt by Governments to control the behaviour of individuals, businesses and larger groups by offering or exacting economic benefits/taxes. Other benefits may spin off, primarily as subsidies may act as a form of protectionism or trade barrier to foreign imports thus protecting domestic goods and services

    October 30, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. cheryl

    Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-North Carolina, asked Secretary Sebelius that question, aiming to highlight that some men may be forced to buy maternity coverage as part of an insurance package . Women have been paying for Men Viagra due to there's sexual dysfunction , or related . But not birth control or women cancer's. but now we all share the cost LOL its suck OH well get over it women been during it for years... So put on some big boys pants......

    October 30, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. You Can Keep Your Plan If You Want

    @penguin
    I'm still waiting for the Republican alternative to the ACA. They obviously don't care about those who are uninsured
    --------
    Because 80% of the people in this country we satisfied with their insurance plans prior to Obamacare.

    October 30, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. Tony

    Just saying,
    As I said, some plans are grandfathered. Some plans that do not meet all of the requirements under Obamacare can still survive. For example, grandfathered plans do not need to provide free preventive care, or protect your choice of doctors and access to emergency care. It is true that some plans do become illegal. Still, the government prohibits, but does not cancel, plans that do not meet certain requirements. Insurance companies cancel the illegal plans and offer plans that comply with the law. They are not required to offer cheaper plans. Insurance companies don't have to offer cheaper plans, if their customers do not shop for better plans on the market. Once again, you do not need to get a plan through the Obamacare website.

    October 30, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. tom l

    "That's a gross misrepresentation and a lie. The subsidy is only available to people not receiving health insurance through their employer, who are buying their private insurance on the exchanges and who qualify based on their income level. Moreover, it's not 75% across the board...it's on a sliding scale based on income level. Yeah, we get it...you hate federal employees and you resent that you have to pay taxes to pay their salaries and benefits. That taxes pay for two extremely different and distinct things, however, does not turn them into the same thing. Cry me a river."

    So I understand the need for federal employees and don't resent all of them. I think we certainly have too many but that's not important right now with you ad hominem attack there. Let's stay focused. I think I get it; you're all worked up over the word "subsidy". Ok. Fine. How about this: they are receiving something from the govt to help cover their costs that will have increased. But what about everyone else who doesn't work for the govt? They don't get money out of thin air to cover for their extra costs when they go to the exchange.

    the main difference is that you just think that money can keep coming and coming because it's the federal govt and they never run out of money. I look at that as our (yours and mine) money which means that it is an actual cost to the US taxpayer. Just answer this: is more money coming from our taxes to cover the federal employee that is now on the exchange? The answer is yes. And I, as an employee for a corporation, do don't get money from US taxpayers.

    It's just funny to see how the left perceives facts. My new favorite is how you actually don't think that President Obama lied with his IYLYPYCKI line. It is so patently false, and now there are reports that he knew how untrue this was years ago, that I don't understand how you defend it.

    October 30, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. JoMomma65

    Folks I don't suppose any of you are old enough to remember a start-up company by the name of AOL. Do you remember when AOL crashed? For about a month? healthcare.gov is currently up and running. I'm on there right now.....

    October 30, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Lort's

    Millions were spent by big corporations trying to defeat Obama as President, it didn't work, now they are hell bent on defeating Obamacare, don't think for one minute that they will not spend millions more trying to repeal Obamacare, the big corporation bosses have told their puppets in Washington that they had better tow the line on this matter. They are prepared to do anything to stop health care, there are billions at stake, Do you not think that hacking into the website has not been considered, Is there any possibility that the health care website has been compromised by people who have billions to lose, how much would they spend to have the best IT people available devise whatever it takes into the system to ensure it crashes. What better way is there to cause chaos and dissention, look at what it can do.

    October 30, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  21. LOL

    Yeah, it is slow, dumb, unreliable, untested, and unsecure ... but at least it is expensive!

    October 30, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "you're all worked up over the word "subsidy". Ok. Fine. How about this: they are receiving something from the govt to help cover their costs that will have increased. But what about everyone else who doesn't work for the govt?"

    You just answered your own question: THEY DON'T WORK FOR THE GOV'T SO THEY HAVE NOT EARNED AN EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTION FROM THE GOV'T. The gov't isn't handing out employer contributions to its employee health plans willy-nilly...THE EMPLOYEES ARE EARNING THEM. If people not employed by the federal gov't qualify for assistance, they can receive the ACA's subsidy (and other forms of assistance if they qualify).

    Your attempts to play semantic games just to try to tap into RWNJ resentment towards federal employees is lame.

    "They don't get money out of thin air to cover for their extra costs when they go to the exchange. "

    Neither do federal workers. You clearly don't understand these systems and are tripping yourself up in your efforts to pretend that federal workers are somehow getting something everyone else is not. They're not. They are being employed by a large employer who is providing their health insurance benefits and contributing to their costs. If they are not receiving said benefits (due to part time employment or for some other reason) they go to the exchange and, if they qualify, they can get a subsidy to help pay for it, just like everyone else can if they too qualify. There is no "double dip" and no "extra subsidy" and no "exemption" and no "special treatment." None.

    October 30, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Maybe It's Just Me

    Why is it fair to force people to buy coverage they will never use? If I'm infertile, why should I be forced to buy insurance that includes maternity services?

    October 30, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "Just answer this: is more money coming from our taxes to cover the federal employee that is now on the exchange? The answer is yes. "

    The answer is no. NOBODY can simultaneously be receiving an employer contribution AND a subsidy under the ACA. Not private employees and not federal/government employees. This appears to be your fundamental misunderstanding. Employees of the federal gov't are not getting 75% of their health care costs covered AND a subsidy. It is EITHER-OR. They are either an employee who qualifies for the employer provided plan and contribution (and therefore cannot go on the exchange and cannot receive a subsidy) OR they are not qualifying for the employer provided plan and therefore buying insurance from a private insurance company on the exchange, in which case they only receive a subsidy if they qualify for it based on income level and need. Therefore, it is no "extra" taxes being devoted to these people than are already being devoted to private sector employees who have to go on the exchanges and buy private insurance with a subsidy.

    If your main complaint is that we should, for some unknown reason, subsidize private sector employees but treat federal employees who aren't getting employer-provided insurance different than everyone else in the country, leaving them out in the cold and ineligible for a subsidy, then you're just wrongheaded and promoting something inequitable and unfair. Even more to the point, if you're complaining that the subsidies to anyone are just "more money coming out of our taxes" then you haven't read the reports showing how the ACA will reduce deficits and you certainly don't understand how the law works.

    October 30, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Data Driven

    @Sniffit,

    " Precedent from other cases shows that delaying the employer mandate and other adjustments made by Obama and his administration do not even come close to rising to the kind of egregious and extreme abuses of discretion where the court has previously found it was necessary to interfere."

    Thanks for your expertise on this subject. I don't agree with how this went down, but I knew that the delay wasn't "illegal", and this ruling proves it.

    October 30, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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