Sebelius: “I apologize, I’m accountable”; Update: Nat’l Journal wonders why “accountable” means “blame everyone else”

posted at 10:01 am on October 30, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

What is the meaning of accountability?  In the Obama administration, it’s mostly just a defense mechanism to defang critics and keep your job.  Kathleen Sebelius offered an apology for a “miserably frustrating” launch of the Healthcare.gov website, and told Congress, “I’m accountable”:

Sebelius also pledged to continue improvements on the site, a promise which came at a very bad time:

Sebelius told the House Energy and Commerce Committee she apologizes for access problems that have been “miserably frustrating” for many Americans and said she’s accountable for fixing them – by the end of November.

She added that the system is getting better by the day.

But as the hearing got underway, consumers trying to log in from Virginia got this message: “The system is down at the moment.”

D’oh! And in another headscratching moment, Sebelius doubled down on the “you can keep your plan” lie:

House Energy and Commerce Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) pressed Sebelius on why the president had made that statement, given recent reports of individual policies being dropped prior to 2014, which is when the law’s major market reforms take effect.

“Mr. Chairman, there was no change,” Sebelius said. “The regulation involving grandfathered plans, which applied to both the employer market and the individual market, indicated that if a plan was in effect in March of 2010, stayed in effect without unduly burdening the consumer with reducing benefits and adding on huge costs, that plan would stay in effect and never have to comply with any regulations of the Affordable Care Act.”

“That’s what the grandfather clause said. The individual market which affects about 12 million Americans, about 5 percent of the market. People move in and out. They often have coverage for less than a year. A third of them have coverage for about six months. And if a plan was in place in March of 2010 and again did not impose additional burdens on the consumer, they still have it. It’s grandfathered in.”

Be sure to read the NBC report and HHS itself on the “additional burdens” imposed by HHS to ensure that few plans would meet those requirements. So much for accountability!

Update: Let’s not forget that Sebelius had $400 million and 42 months to get the website done. If HHS can’t handle a web portal in that time frame with those resources, then “accountability” is hardly forthcoming.

Update: Here’s a split screen that the White House won’t like much:

Update: Sam Baker at National Journal moves in for the kill:

Over the past three days, the Obama administration has blamed almost everyone but itself for the debacle that is HealthCare.gov and the wave of cancellations that consumers are now receiving.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius did take some responsibility for the website on Wednesday, telling a House panel to hold her accountable for the site’s failures.

But that concession came only after HHS had pointed the finger at three other parties in less than three days.

Accountability.


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GOP = wuss heaven. How in the world can we ever win anything with this bunch of milquetoasts.

rplat on October 30, 2013 at 10:04 AM

“Accountable” involves more than saying “I’m accountable.”

In the real world people get fired when they are held accountable for clusterf**ks.

myiq2xu on October 30, 2013 at 10:05 AM

If you like your incandescent light bulb, you can keep your incandescent light bulb. We will just make it illegal to make and sell new ones.

Chris of Rights on October 30, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Please someone have the guts to call her a liar because that is what she is.

Time to call a spade a spade.

gophergirl on October 30, 2013 at 10:06 AM

If she were really accountable, the words “I’m accountable” would be followed by “and thus I have tendered my resignation to the president, effective immediately.”

AZCoyote on October 30, 2013 at 10:07 AM

indicated that if a plan was in effect in March of 2010, stayed in effect without unduly burdening the consumer

 
It’s neat that I could’ve stopped paying for that policy if I didn’t like it and found another that suited me better.
 
We’re a nation of Julias.

rogerb on October 30, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Gatsu on October 30, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Whatever. Congressional hearings are performance art. Everybody gets up, has his five minutes of mic time, tapdances for the camera, nothing comes of it.

It disgusts me to watch both sides.

S. Weasel on October 30, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Did Obama tell her to get infront of the bus?

Oil Can on October 30, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Fewer and fewer are buying your crap Kathleen, and that’s just what it is.

diogenes on October 30, 2013 at 10:09 AM

“I didn’t know the feature that allowed applicants to browse the insurance plans before enrolling was eliminated.”

These ass clowns don’t really know a damn thing, do they?

Pack of liars.

fogw on October 30, 2013 at 10:09 AM

By adding all sorts of unwanted or unneeded mandates on insurance plans, the government effectively made most plans uncompliant and thus had to be terminated.

Their answer is that you have a “better” more comprehensive plan.

However, if it become unaffordable, then the consumer ends up losing insurance completely.

It would be like mandating that only $50,000.00 plug in hybrids could be purchased and if you have an existing car you have to get rid of it and buy one of the government motors approved POS hybrids.

txdoc on October 30, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Synopsis of the hearing this morning …….

Republicans questioning Sebelius’s actions and competency.

Democrats questioning Republican’s extreme motives.

fogw on October 30, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Seppuku or it’s insincere.

Joe Mama on October 30, 2013 at 10:12 AM

If she were really accountable, the words “I’m accountable” would be followed by “and thus I have tendered my resignation to the president, effective immediately.”

AZCoyote on October 30, 2013 at 10:07 AM

And will personally, going forward, pay back as much of the hundreds of millions of dollars wasted so far as I’m able to do …

ShainS on October 30, 2013 at 10:13 AM

“What difference does it make now?”

vityas on October 30, 2013 at 10:14 AM

It would be like mandating that only $50,000.00 plug in hybrids could be purchased and if you have an existing car you have to get rid of it and buy one of the government motors approved POS hybrids.

txdoc on October 30, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Not entirely true. A more apt comparison would be you could keep your existing car as long as you want, until the price of gasoline changes. And then your car no longer meets the terms of the grandfather clause and must be replaced with a gov’t approved car.

kenro85 on October 30, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Okay, lets do some math:

$400,000,000 budget
At $200 per hour, that is 2,000,000 man hours of programming and work

If 1,000 employees worked on this for 50 months, at 40 hours per week, that would have eaten up the budget.

1,000 employees…for 40 weeks…you can bet that did not happen.

It is mind boggling that this simple math can’t be laid out to these guys.

It is basically impossible to justify, even if it worked, the amount of money spent.

right2bright on October 30, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Just another lying democrat baby killer.

crosshugger on October 30, 2013 at 10:16 AM

that plan would stay in effect and never have to comply with any regulations of the Affordable Care Act.

Pretty sure that’s a bald-faced lie, since the plans had to meet all the crap about 26-year-old babies and pre-existing conditions and benefit caps.

The Schaef on October 30, 2013 at 10:16 AM

GOP = wuss heaven. How in the world can we ever win anything with this bunch of milquetoasts.

rplat on October 30, 2013 at 10:04 AM

It’s unbelievable. I saw a few minutes of the hearing this morning. I couldn’t believe Marsha Blackburn, she was fired up but her questions were all over the place and didn’t lead anywhere. And she’s an attorney?

The Republicans clearly don’t want to get rid of 0bamacare. We are so screwed.

UltimateBob on October 30, 2013 at 10:17 AM

“I apologize, I’m accountable”

To be promptly followed by “I resign”?

ElectricPhase on October 30, 2013 at 10:18 AM

No matter how much the communists lie about Obamacare they are not going to hide the truth because the suffering is hitting millions of people… Wait until the employers begin firing their employees or making them work less than 30 hours a week in order to avoid Obamacare… This will start by mid 2014… The suffering will be immense…

mnjg on October 30, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Is this another deal where nothing happens, no one gets punished, Republicans don’t follow through? Wouldn’t it be easier to skip these hearings and let them do whatever they want?

Dongemaharu on October 30, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Sebelius: “I apologize, I’m accountable”

Typical communist response… Claim responsibility and accountability but then blame all the problems on someone else and avoid being punished at any cost… Obama does it all the time…

mnjg on October 30, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Update: Here’s a split screen that the White House won’t like much:

hehheh LOLZ!!!

ted c on October 30, 2013 at 10:21 AM

“They (website contractors) were ready to go in September.”

Really? And you just bought it? Maybe you should have tested it first.

fogw on October 30, 2013 at 10:22 AM

It’s unbelievable. I saw a few minutes of the hearing this morning. I couldn’t believe Marsha Blackburn, she was fired up but her questions were all over the place and didn’t lead anywhere. And she’s an attorney?

The Republicans clearly don’t want to get rid of 0bamacare. We are so screwed.

UltimateBob on October 30, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Only political junkies are watching these hearings… Hearings are theatrics… No matter how much the communists lie about Obamacare they are not going to hide the truth because the suffering is hitting millions of people… Wait until the employers begin firing their employees or making them work less than 30 hours a week in order to avoid Obamacare… This will start by mid 2014… The suffering will be immense…

mnjg on October 30, 2013 at 10:22 AM

The gift that keeps on giving.

BKeyser on October 30, 2013 at 10:23 AM

If you like your guns and ammo, you can keep your guns and ammo, but it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg, if you can find the ammo.

kirkill on October 30, 2013 at 10:24 AM

BTW Kathleen, the Govt. website is down as I type.

diogenes on October 30, 2013 at 10:24 AM

It took less time (3 years, 7 months) to defeat Japan in World War II than to implement ObamaCare (3 years, 9 months).

With gratitude to Mark Steyn.

Wander on October 30, 2013 at 10:25 AM

When Nixon lied, the young rioted. This generation just whines and wonders where their next free latte is coming from.

FerdtheMoonCat on October 30, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Re turning over enrollment numbers ….

“I don’t want to turn or anything that isn’t reliable or hasn’t been confirmed.”

But she will launch a website that crashes every ten minutes.

LOL

fogw on October 30, 2013 at 10:27 AM

1,000 employees…for 40 weeks…you can bet that did not happen.

It is mind boggling that this simple math can’t be laid out to these guys.

It is basically impossible to justify, even if it worked, the amount of money spent.

right2bright on October 30, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Like an irrationally expensive restaurant — what you’re paying for is the wonderful ambiance … ;-)

ShainS on October 30, 2013 at 10:28 AM

If American survives Dear Leader and his Socialists, it will take decades to undo the damage they have done…I do hope he brings down the State Run Media with him.

d1carter on October 30, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Oh, you’re accountable, are you?

Fine. The project is $600 million of FAIL. Cough up the 600 mega large, to make accounts right.

And then, you’re fired…

JohnGalt23 on October 30, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Healthcare.gov.
-
The system is down at the moment.

We are experiencing technical difficulties and hope to have them resolved soon. Please try again later.

In a hurry? You might be able to apply faster at our Marketplace call center. Call 1-800-318-2596 to talk with one of our trained representatives about applying over the phone.

diogenes on October 30, 2013 at 10:30 AM

It took less time (3 years, 7 months) to defeat Japan in World War II than to implement ObamaCare (3 years, 9 months).

With gratitude to Mark Steyn.

Wander on October 30, 2013 at 10:25 AM

And the deciding factor was bombing 2 of their cities… sounds like the appropriate treatment for O-Care: Bomb It!

socalcon on October 30, 2013 at 10:31 AM

When Nixon lied, the young rioted. This generation just whines and wonders where their next free latte is coming from.

FerdtheMoonCat on October 30, 2013 at 10:27 AM

When Nixon lied the MSM journalists rioted.

The young were busy hitting their bongs and making peace signs. They rioted against the Vietnam war, which Nixon brought to a close.

fogw on October 30, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Accountability…is just another word that has no meaning.

workingclass artist on October 30, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Sebelius: Your health insurance can’t be grandfathered, but can I be grandmothered? Pretty please with sugar and cherries on top?

Steve Z on October 30, 2013 at 10:34 AM

“Accountability” – Obama Administration style:

It means, thanks to ACA, that they have the ability to take more money out of your account.

dissent555 on October 30, 2013 at 10:35 AM

“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.

Seems like a pretty declarative statement to me.

There are no qualifiers.

Just a promise. That was apparently patently false.

Marcus Traianus on October 30, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Now its “accountable” vs “Responsible”

Accountable-(of a person, organization, or institution) required or expected to justify actions or decisions;

Responsible – having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone, as part of one’s job or role.

The bar has been lowered once again.

WisRich on October 30, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Well, we’ve got the talking point of the day now.

“The Republicans want Obamacare to fail.”

Yup.

fogw on October 30, 2013 at 10:39 AM

I can’t believe she testified before Congress in a Cruella DeVille costume…

d1carter on October 30, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Curious… On page 17, TABLE 3—ESTIMATES OF THE CUMULATIVE PERCENTAGE OF EMPLOYER PLANS RELINQUISHING THEIR GRANDFATHERED STATUS, 2011–2013

The median estimate for employer plans relinquishing their grandfathered status for 2013 is 51%. Could this be why they postponed the employer mandate? Or am I conflating things?

BKeyser on October 30, 2013 at 10:39 AM

“Accountable” involves more than saying “I’m accountable.”

In the real world people get fired when they are held accountable for clusterf**ks.

myiq2xu on October 30, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Reminds me of this scene from The Office when Michael declares bankruptcy.

‘…still…that’s…that’s not anything.’

heh

dont taze me bro on October 30, 2013 at 10:39 AM

If she were really accountable, the words “I’m accountable” would be followed by “and thus I have tendered my resignation to the president, effective immediately.”

AZCoyote on October 30, 2013 at 10:07 AM

If she were really accountable, she would pay the extra premiums of those millions of people whose health insurance was dropped. Account-able as in ABLE to settle ACCOUNTS. This should be grounds for a lawsuit, but we know what Chief Injustice Roberts would do.

Steve Z on October 30, 2013 at 10:40 AM

BKeyser on October 30, 2013 at 10:39 AM

By the way, the link above opens a PDF file from HHS. The “bookmark” issue seems emblematic of everything their doing these days. The file will open though.

BKeyser on October 30, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Yes, Sebelius is a scum-hag. But making her the face of the problem means that once she’s gone (and she will be gone – you can hear the bus warming up already), Sebelius-II will just have to say “It wasn’t my fault”, or “I didn’t do it”. ObamaDontcare itself isn’t getting challenged here, just the implementation of the rollout. Win the battle but lose the war.

bofh on October 30, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Someone offer Kathleen a sword to fall on.

GarandFan on October 30, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Frau Mengele says she’s been getting regular reports on enrollment numbers, yet she doesn’t know jack about anything else about DeathCare, and of course she won’t release the enrollment.

This idiot is unbelievable, she has selective memory and authority of a department she heads.

Bishop on October 30, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Flawlessness

Bmore on October 30, 2013 at 10:45 AM

She’s “responsible” and “accountable” just like Hillary was about Libya.

She says she’s accountable, but there are no consequences of any kind and she still has the full confidence, backing and support of the President, so nothing will be done.

And no one is surprised.

sultanp on October 30, 2013 at 10:45 AM

In a hurry? You might be able to apply faster at our Marketplace call center. Call 1-800-318-2596 to talk with one of our trained representatives about applying over the phone.

diogenes on October 30, 2013 at 10:30 AM

I like that “Trained Representatives”. Does any company call their call center employees “Trained”?

kcewa on October 30, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Sybilious: “You CAN keep your plan! Don’t believe the fact that you are receiving cancellation letters from your insurance carriers. Believe US! Would we lie????!”

Sterling Holobyte on October 30, 2013 at 10:46 AM

I’m gonna copy this from the other thread. Just because.

Beware the Wrath of Khan

Doesn’t Sebelius look like Ricardo Montalban as Khan?

kcewa on October 30, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Why do I think that this country is done and over? Because there are so many dummies believing and getting behind all of these lies.

Mirimichi on October 30, 2013 at 10:49 AM

I would like to follow up with my comment that we have a lot of Rinos going along with it, too.

Mirimichi on October 30, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Bottom line….
Nothing will change.

albill on October 30, 2013 at 10:52 AM

ROFL

The woman who is looking forward to signing up for DeathCare in January because it will be super affordable.

Just you wait, sweetie, that deductible is going to be a doozy.

Bishop on October 30, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Sibelius lies threw her teeth. Here’s something not even reported in the news, yet. They changed the program so the young, up to 24 years see rates for those up to 50, the older, up to 50, see rates of up to 65, and the others see the cheapest rates. This is illegal, “truth in advertising”, but when the gov’t is the law, eh…this from the hearings…media, suffocate.

The left are accusing the right of playing “chicken little” in the hearings and the right let them.

If they don’t get more aggressive the thugs will be in charge forever, alas….

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 10:58 AM

National Journal now? Oh my.

slickwillie2001 on October 30, 2013 at 10:59 AM

In Japan, being accountable often involves an edged weapon and a letter of apology.

BobMbx on October 30, 2013 at 10:59 AM

I’m gonna copy this from the other thread. Just because.

Beware the Wrath of Khan

Doesn’t Sebelius look like Ricardo Montalban as Khan?

kcewa on October 30, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Yes, but Field Marshal Sebelius is much more evil.

slickwillie2001 on October 30, 2013 at 11:01 AM

I think accountable in previous Administrations meant she wouldn’t go to jail. In this Administration it means she keeps her job and get’s promoted.

claudius on October 30, 2013 at 11:02 AM

It’s obvious the Congress passed the debacle and still don’t know what’s in it…

d1carter on October 30, 2013 at 11:08 AM

from what I have garnered something as innocuous as changing a beneficiary or dependent status renders a grandfathered plan no longer grandfathered.
so no, you cannot keep your plan.
lying b1t*h

dmacleo on October 30, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Irony – the site crashed as Sibelius testified that “the site never crashed, it’s just slow due to high volume”.

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 11:10 AM

If they don’t get more aggressive the thugs will be in charge forever, alas….

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Yes.

This is the defining battle in the war against liberalism. Time to trample these lying socialists.

fogw on October 30, 2013 at 11:11 AM

“Mr. Chairman, there was no change,” Sebelius said. “The regulation involving grandfathered plans, which applied to both the employer market and the individual market, indicated that if a plan was in effect in March of 2010, stayed in effect without unduly burdening the consumer with reducing benefits and adding on huge costs, that plan would stay in effect and never have to comply with any regulations of the Affordable Care Act.”

What a swamp woman.
Policies that are being made Obamacare compliant are doubling and tripling premiums and that’s not “unduly burdening the consumer”?
According to Sebelius I’m being protected from a health insurance policy that cost half as much and provided better coverage for risks/costs I might actually incur.
I can unequivocally say that statement is a load of crap.

lynncgb on October 30, 2013 at 11:13 AM

The thuggery of Nurse Ratched

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 11:15 AM

fogw on October 30, 2013 at 11:11 AM

NY stupid congressman “the Rs are playing chicken little. They say these hearings are to fix things when in fact they are for total failure. They are the chickens”.

Next R “Nothing”.

How about “You are the chickens. YOU play loose with the taxpayers’ money, that’s what this is all about and etc. We are the oversight and you should now waste billions of the hard labor of those who pay for your Utopian leftist pipe-dreams”.

Instead totally ignore…stupid questions to Nurse Ratched…time is up…bla, bla,….

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 11:18 AM

you should now not waste billions

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 11:18 AM

The Scales of Justice have a boulder on one side and a feather on the other.

A chicken feather.

fogw on October 30, 2013 at 11:28 AM

So she thinks accountability means letting her fix the problems she helped create? Why would anyone think she’s competent to fix anything?

mbs on October 30, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Sebelius: “I apologize, I’m accountable”; Update: Nat’l Journal wonders why “accountable” means “blame everyone else”

Yes. The only accountability standard Sebelius has set for herself is pointing the finger at others.

rukiddingme on October 30, 2013 at 11:34 AM

The Scales of Justice have a boulder on one side and a feather on the other.

A chicken feather.

fogw on October 30, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Why it’s so scary. I keep hoping that the bad will be punished, alas.

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2013 at 11:34 AM

It would be like mandating that only $50,000.00 plug in hybrids could be purchased and if you have an existing car you have to get rid of it and buy one of the government motors approved POS hybrids.

txdoc on October 30, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Not entirely true. A more apt comparison would be you could keep your existing car as long as you want, until the price of gasoline changes. And then your car no longer meets the terms of the grandfather clause and must be replaced with a gov’t approved car.

kenro85 on October 30, 2013 at 10:15 AM

John Roberts you are one lowlife pos!

onomo on October 30, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Pretty sure that’s a bald-faced lie, since the plans had to meet all the crap about 26-year-old babies and pre-existing conditions and benefit caps.

The Schaef on October 30, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Are you sure? As far as I can tell, they cannot sell the old insurance to new people. So why would those things have any meaning at all?

astonerii on October 30, 2013 at 12:06 PM

whore

Murphy9 on October 30, 2013 at 12:32 PM

I apologize followed by I’m accountable is the new obfuscation answer to every question in an appearance before a House committee. The questioners never follow up by saying, and?

Kissmygrits on October 30, 2013 at 12:35 PM

I’m reminded of David Frye imitating Nixon back in the early 70s:

“I accept all the responsibility – but none of the blame.”

Hucklebuck on October 30, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Yes, Sebelius is a scum-hag. But making her the face of the problem means that once she’s gone (and she will be gone – you can hear the bus warming up already), Sebelius-II will just have to say “It wasn’t my fault”, or “I didn’t do it”. ObamaDontcare itself isn’t getting challenged here, just the implementation of the rollout. Win the battle but lose the war.
bofh on October 30, 2013 at 10:43 AM

THIS!

Cleombrotus on October 30, 2013 at 1:31 PM

“I apologize, I’m accountable”

To be promptly followed by “I resign”? ‘Whatever’…

ElectricPhase on October 30, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Edited for accuracy…

jimver on October 30, 2013 at 2:32 PM