It took until the seventh day of ObamaCare for someone to finally challenge the White House on its inconsistencies for mandate enforcement, and that someone was … Jon Stewart. The Daily Show host pushed Kathleen Sebelius on why she and Barack Obama granted delays for employers and insurers in their mandates, while individuals are still being forced into the incompetence known as the ObamaCare exchanges. As Mediaite reports, Sebelius refused to provide an answer even while Stewart repeatedly pressed her for one:
For someone who’s been highly critical of Republicans opposed to Obamacare, Jon Stewartwas really adamant in pressing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about issues he has with the health care bill, from the website bugs to the one-year business delay that individuals didn’t get. He repeatedly pressed that last point and got noticeably frustrated at the lack of a clear response.
Stewart did not receive an answer after asking how many people signed up for the website, before bringing up the “legitimate criticism” about individuals not receiving the one-year delay. Stewart said it looks like “you were favoring small business,” and despite Sebelius attempting to explain that this is only a small percentage of businesses and small businesses have no mandates, Stewart still couldn’t figure the logic out.
When he went to commercial break, Stewart asked, “Can we come back and ask some more questions? Can I ask the same one?”
In the second part of the interview, Stewart kept going, calling the issues with Obamacare “frustrating” due to the “level of incompetence that’s larger than what it should be.” He pointed out that businesses are cutting worker hours to exploit a loophole in the law, but Sebelius said that’s not true. Stewart also wondered if they could actually run it well, pointing out the issues the government has had managing the VA.
I’m torn on this. On one hand, this makes me wonder just how much more traction Republicans could have gained in the media had they stuck with the delay strategy rather than going all-in on the doomed defunding strategy. On the other, would Stewart really have asked Sebelius about this if Republicans had made it their central attack strategy in the budget impasse? Or would the epic meltdown of the exchanges forced his hand, as it arguably drove the conversation here? Hmmm.
Stewart wasn’t finished, either. At the end of the show, Stewart accused Sebelius of lying to him:
“I still don’t understand why individuals have to sign up and businesses don’t, because if the businesses — if she’s saying, ‘well, they get a delay because that doesn’t matter anyway because they already give health care,’ then you think to yourself, ‘f*** it, then why do they have to sign up at all,’” he said. “And then I think to myself, ‘well, maybe she’s just lying to me.’”
Delaying the individual mandate might have been a favor to the White House, too. Now everyone can see what government-run health insurance will do — hike up premiums and create meltdowns in enrollment. Stewart won’t be the last person to ask why Obama and Sebelius didn’t stop this train wreck when they had a chance, but Stewart’s platform is the last place the White House needs that message amplified.