The PJ Tatler

Jon Stewart Rips Obamacare, Sebelius

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had a rough time on The Daily Show last night. The Obamacare chieftain had to start off racing against time:

As the secretary sat down to begin the segment, Stewart opened a laptop on his desk. “I’m going to attempt to download every movie ever made, and you’re going to try to sign up for Obamacare, and we’ll see which happens first.”

Sebelius admitted the website rollout “started a little rockier than we’d like,” but said the administration had been working to make improvements. “It’s better today than it was yesterday, and it will keep getting better.”

At this point we have no way of knowing if it’s “better” or not, and even if the web portals are better — and not acting as magnets for all manner of fraud — the law is still a hideous, anti-freedom mess.

Sebelius stuck to the administration line that they don’t even know how many people have signed up.

When asked how many individuals had signed up for insurance so far, Sebelius admitted, “I can’t tell you, because I don’t know … we will be giving monthly reports.” She added that hundreds of thousands of accounts had been created, which indicated to the administration that those consumers “are going to go shopping” for insurance as the next step.

“Hundreds of thousands” is not a high number, considering what Obamacare is supposed to do.

Question: If states are capable of reporting hard sign-up numbers, why can’t the federal government?

Stewart was just getting warmed up.

The segment became more contentious as the Comedy Central host turned to the subject of the individual mandate, specifically the fact that while many businesses were given a one-year delay to comply with the law, individuals were not.

“If I’m an individual that doesn’t want this, it would be hard for me to look at a big business getting a waiver,” Stewart said. “I would feel like you are favoring big business because they lobbied you … but you’re not allowing individuals that same courtesy.”

Sebelius denied that was the case, but danced around answering the question directly, sticking instead to talking points.

After pressing her further on the issue to no avail, a somewhat exasperated Stewart finally smiled and asked, “Am I a stupid man?”

Later, as he threw to commercial, Stewart said he still was “not sure why individuals can’t delay” and asked the secretary if he could keep asking her that same question when they returned.

Later, while addressing the issue of businesses cutting back hours for employees to avoid having to provide health care under the new regulations, Sebelius held firm. “Economists, not anecdotal folks, but economists, say there is absolutely no evidence that part-time work is going up. In fact, it’s going down,” she said. The secretary also said that for the first time ever, part-time employees in the United Sates would now have the option to purchase health insurance under the new law.

No, individuals had the option to buy health insurance before Obamacare, if they could afford it. Now they are commanded to buy health insurance even if they can’t afford it. If individuals elect not to buy health insurance, they face a penalty which they will have to pay at the point of a gun leveled at them by the IRS.

That’s new. And it’s a fundamental shift in the relationship between citizen and state. We’re now less citizen than we are subjects of a law that the majority did not support when it was passed and Obama signed it.

It’s a big deal.