Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) tried and failed to get straight answers from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during today’s hearing on the Healthcare.gov debacle.
Shimkus first tries to get Sebelius to acknowledge that HHS has been handing out inflated enrollment numbers. “When Amazon.com recorded the books sold, they record a book sold based upon someone who has paid for it. Not what is in their shopping cart and not what is on their wish list. Our concern is 364,000 numbers fraudulent because it is not those who have purchased plans yet and so I would ask that when you return, that you give us actually to has purchased plans. Do you understand our frustration with that?”
Sebelius’ non-answer: “As you well know we did not take over the private insurance market.”
Shimkus tried again, only to have Sebelius cut him off: “I told you who is enrolled in.” Which is not the same thing as the number of people who have actually bought and paid for plans.
Shimkus moved on to try and get Sebelius to acknowledge that items the Obama administration is claiming are free now because of Obamacare are not actually free: “I had my phone on and when my phone rang on left on because I wanted to talk to a Democrat state senator from my state of Illinois, who was on the insurance commission and he said mandated preventive services are laid directly on premium prices. So you cannot say as you have numerous times that these preventative care services our, quote, free of charge, can you?”
Again, Sebelius stuck to the party line: “They are free to the consumer.”
This sparked a response from Shimkus, “There is no free lunch, Madam Secretary! If the premiums increase because of the mandated coverage based upon state senator from the state of Illinois, a Democrat, who is in oversight of the insurance of the state of Illinois and he said when you mandate coverage it is ruled directly on premiums, premiums increase, that is paying, you cannot say these are free of charge!”
“Consumers will not have a co-pay or deductible,” Sebelius fired back, and refused to acknowledge that anyone’s premiums have risen due to Obamacare mandates, despite the widely reported fact that millions of Americans have seen their health insurance premiums and deductibles rise sharply since Obamacare’s implementation.
An exasperated Shimkus, his question time expiring and Democrats rushing to cover for Sebelius, said “We’re just gonna agree to disagree. It’s like talking to the [People’s Democratic] Republic of Korea.”