Posts Tagged ‘Sebelius’
April 17th, 2014 at 1:58 pm
Sebelius Back to Kansas as a U.S. Senate Candidate?

Say it ain’t so!

Soon-to-be-former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “is considering entreaties from Democrats who want her to run against her old friend, Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas,” reports the New York Times.

It’s hard to see how this news is anything other than an attempt to put a softer spin on Sebelius’s disastrous tenure as the face of ObamaCare.

Considering how much the Left loathes her mismanagement of – driving down public confidence in government to record lows – it’s no surprise that friends of Sebelius are trying to rehabilitate her image by saying the former two-term Kansas governor could be just the candidate to topple Roberts.

Making the GOP spend money and time on a race they would otherwise win easily could burnish Sebelius’s ‘good soldier’ credentials. Actually winning the seat would give Democrats their first U.S. Senator from Kansas since 1939.

Still, whatever goodwill Sebelius had as governor has been forgotten long ago. In the current reality, it’s difficult to see how she could step down from such a bad job at HHS into an underdog Senate campaign and emerge as anything other than a twice rejected public servant.

April 14th, 2014 at 4:57 pm
Will Sebelius’ Replacement Follow Her Lawless Lead?

Here’s a suggested question for GOP Senators to ask Sylvia Burwell – President Barack Obama’s nominee to succeed Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services – at her confirmation hearing next month.

Studies by the RAND Corporation and Goldman Sachs estimate as much as 20 percent of the claimed 7.5 million ObamaCare enrollments have not paid their first month’s premiums.

When enrollees start seeing how much their deductibles are – commonly $3,000 to $5,000 – many more may choose to stop paying ObamaCare’s higher out-of-pocket expenses.

If that happens, it’s really bad news for doctors and hospitals.

“Section 1412 of the health law gives consumers a 90-day ‘grace period’ before their subsidized plan is canceled for nonpayment. But insurers only have to keep paying doctors and hospitals for 30 days. The next 60 days of care on the care provider,” explains Betsy McCaughey.

“[I]t could pose a significant financial risk for medical practices,” the American Medical Association warns.

The HHS Secretary has no express power to bail out such care providers.

However, under the previous Secretary, the Department of Health and Human Services didn’t shy away from spending $8 billion without congressional authorization to hide Medicare Advantage cuts before the 2012 presidential election.

This and many other extra-legal actions by Secretary Sebelius have come to define HHS as the most powerful domestic federal agency.

Ms. Burwell, Do you think the absence of express authority to bail out care providers in the above situation limits you in any way from spending money for this purpose?

February 21st, 2014 at 5:24 pm
Contra Sebelius, ObamaCare Already Killed at Least 33,000 Jobs

“There is absolutely no evidence – and every economist will tell you this – that there is any job loss related to the Affordable Care Act [i.e. Obamacare],” Kathleen Sebelius said earlier this week.

The Health and Human Services Secretary was responding in part to a report by the Congressional Budget Office estimating that President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy will result in 2.5 million job losses by 2024.

The only explanation that renders Sebelius’ statement (barely) plausible is her phrasing in the present tense: “no evidence… that there is any job loss related to” Obamacare. Sebelius is talking about the present, while the economists at the CBO are projecting into the future.

But even this generous reading won’t survive the fact that Obamacare has already killed 33,000 jobs in the medical device industry, according to the Advanced Medical Technology Association.

Thanks to a 2.3 percent excise tax on each medical device sold since January 2013, industry members report shedding 14,000 jobs, with an additional 19,000 openings left vacant.

The biggest losers were research and development branches, and manufacturing. Regarding the latter, 10 percent of companies surveyed said they moved their plants overseas.

These numbers show just how democratic is Obamacare’s impact on jobs. R&D positions are some of the highest paid in a firm, while manufacturing jobs can range from low- to middle-income.

On the bright side, to date the medical device tax has netted the federal government a cool $3.8 billion, so at least Secretary Sebelius has some extra money to funnel through Medicaid and Obamacare exchange subsidies.

Somehow though, decreasing the number of jobs and increasing the amount of tax revenue doesn’t seem like a long-term formula for success.

Maybe an economist should tell Madame Secretary.

November 20th, 2013 at 5:55 pm
Security Experts Agree: Americans Should Not Use

All four of the cyber security experts that testified before a House committee yesterday agreed that Americans should not use until its security features are enhanced, or in some cases, built.

Three of the four said the website should be shut down until the security problems are fixed; preferably by rebuilding the site from scratch.

While that may sound drastic, an Obama administration official responsible for developing says that up to 40 percent of the site isn’t finished yet – including the parts that deliver subsidies to insurance companies on behalf of qualified Obamacare enrollees.

And it’s not like the roughly 60 percent of the website that is completed is running smoothly, as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius discovered when it crashed while she was demonstrating its (in)effectiveness to the public.

Bombarded as we are with the epic ineptitude of this fiasco, it’s hard to improve on Charles Krauthammer’s sentiments: “…this is a level of incompetence that is indescribable. And it stands to reason. We have a president who never ran anything. He was never a governor. He never ran a hot dog stand in his life and he presumed that his team could remake one-sixth of the American [economy] and this is what happens.”

Brace yourself. There is much more to come.

October 11th, 2013 at 1:55 pm
Fire Sebelius?

Tom Bevan thinks so.

“Any corporation that allowed a COO to mismanage a new product line as important to its image as the Affordable Care Act is to Obama’s would be contemplating their severance package,” writes the Executive Editor of RealClearPolitics.

“The fact that Republicans haven’t called for Sebelius’ scalp should tell Democrats all they need to know about how much conservatives think she is hurting Obamacare’s cause. If the president cares about rescuing his signature policy initiative, he should consider putting it under new management right away.”

Though cathartic, I’m not sure Bevan’s idea helps the GOP all that much.

True, if Obama fired Sebelius it would touch off a huge confirmation battle over her successor as Secretary of Health and Human Services, the agency overseeing Obamacare’s implementation. But since Democrats control the Senate, confirmation would be won eventually.

Better, I think, to schedule a series of high-profile congressional hearings to grill Sebelius, her deputies and the contractors responsible for the glitch-heavy federal insurance exchange website. Sebelius is fast-becoming the bureaucratic face of Obamacare – let her try to defend it.

The tone coming from House GOP members should be sharp but measured. Already, Speaker John Boehner has used a line that would be devastating to repeat to every pro-Obamacare witness at every hearing:

“How can we tax people for not buying a product from a website that doesn’t work?”

Then there are the simple questions Sebelius couldn’t answer in a cringe-inducing appearance on The Daily Show.

Host Jon Stewart – an Obamacare supporter who thinks America deserves a single-payer system – got no good answers from Sebelius about why stinks and businesses get a one year mandate delay but individuals do not.

In response, Sebelius said – without a shred of evidence – that the site is getting better, and that individuals can delay the mandate, so long as they pay a fine.

If that’s the best she can do with a friendly host, imagine the possibilities under good cross-examination at a House hearing.

No, Obama shouldn’t fire Sebelius until House Republicans get a chance to turn up the heat.

September 13th, 2010 at 10:06 am
Kathleen Sebelius as Soviet Commissar?
Posted by Print

In Friday’s Liberty Update commentary “The ObamaCare Fit Hits the Shan,” we noted how quickly the negative consequences of ObamaCare are arriving in the form of higher health care spending and insurance rates.

Well, Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama’s Health and Human Services Secretary, seems to believe that she can terrify the economic laws of supply and demand into deference.  Attacking private health insurers for doing nothing more than adjusting their bottom lines to meet business realities imposed by ObamaCare mandates, Sebelius ordained:

There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases.  We will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections.”

Karen Ignagni, who leads America’s Health Insurance Plans, provided an Economics 101 primer that Sebelius should have received in college by saying, “It’s a basic law of economics that additional benefits incur additional costs, and the impact on premiums depends on the type and amount coverage policyholders had before.”

Simple economics aside, who does Sebelius think she is?  A Soviet-era commissar who can cow American citizens and businesses by thundering such threats?  Ms. Sebelius, you’re about to receive a true lesson in “zero tolerance” when Americans head to the ballots in November.

June 4th, 2010 at 4:12 pm
So Why Didn’t You STAY in Britain, Dr. Berwick?
Posted by Print

Dr. Donald Berwick, the Obama Administration’s nominee to oversee the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, once praised Britain at the expense of America by saying, “at last a nation where healthcare is a right and carrying a semi-automatic machine gun is a privilege, instead of the other way around.”

Dr. Berwick had worked with Britain’s National Health Service, and callously wrote in 2002 that “most people who have serious pain do not need advanced methods – they just need the morphine and counseling that have been available for centuries.”

Naturally, the Obama Administration said that Dr. Berwick’s comments were “taken out of context” in attempting to sweep the rising controversy under the rug.  The statements, however, speak for themselves.

Get a good look at the potential future under ObamaCare, America.

August 17th, 2009 at 3:16 pm
Call it What You Want, It’s Still Government-Run Health Care

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made headlines this weekend when she signaled that the Obama Administration is open to dropping the so-called “public option” from legislation to overhaul heath care in an effort to reach a compromise.   Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union yesterday, Sebelius said the public option “is not an essential element” of President Obama’s plan for health care reform.   

Almost immediately, the media’s attention turned its focus to “insurance cooperatives,” or co-ops,  as an alternative to a public option.   Don’t be fooled!

As Michael Tanner at the CATO Institute points out, “Government-run health care is government-run health care no matter what you call it.”  Tanner writes:

The health care “co-op” approach now embraced by the Obama administration will still give the federal government control over one-sixth of the U.S. economy, with a government-appointed board, taxpayer funding, and with bureaucrats setting premiums, benefits, and operating rules.