Sebelius: Certain stubborn states are making the ObamaCare rollout more tricky than we anticipated

At an event on Monday night, HHS Secretary Sebelius acknowledged some of the messiness of the ongoing ObamaCare implementation, but of course had at least one readily available excuse as to why the administration is so very unreasonably put-upon at the moment:

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday that she did not anticipate how complicated implementing the president’s signature healthcare law would be.

“The politics has been relentless and that continues,” Sebelius said, according to Reuters. “There was some hope that once the Supreme Court ruled in July, and then once an election occurred there would be a sense that, ‘This is the law of the land, let’s get on board, let’s make this work.’ And yet we will find ourselves having state-by-state political battles.”

Speaking to students at the Harvard School of Public Health, Sebelius said implementation had been hampered both by the law’s slow roll out and red-state governors and legislators who have rejected state-run insurance exchanges.

“It is very difficult when people live in a state where there is a daily declaration, ‘We will not participate in the law,’ for them to figure out whether they are going to benefit,” Sebelius said.

Oh, come on, now. The option was there for states to refuse to set up their own exchanges, in which case the federal government promised that they would pick up the slack — why would you ever, ever ‘hope’ that states that were vociferously against the whole thing would just roll over and sign up for the bureaucratic burden? As Joe Klein wondered over at TIME the other day, where was the contingency planning?

Anyhow, there are still a lot of finagling “one-on-one conversations with states” going on in terms of the proffered Medicaid expansion (because, free monies!), but how did the administration not manage to anticipate that at least half of the states wouldn’t want to volunteer to undertake an expensive administrative nightmare (not to mention shouldering the blame for any mishaps/mistakes) by designing their own exchanges? Ain’t nobody got time for that:

Tens of thousands of health care professionals, union workers and community activists hired as “navigators” to help Americans choose Obamacare options starting Oct. 1 could earn $20 an hour or more, according to new regulations issued Wednesday.

The 63-page rule covering navigators, drawn up by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, also said the government will provide free translators for those not fluent in English — no matter what their native language is. …

It is still not clear how many navigators will be required. California, however, provides a hint. It wants 21,000.

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David Strom 6:01 PM on March 29, 2023