Secretary Of Failure

After Sweeping Into Washington, It’s A Miracle That HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Is Still In The Obama Administration


Sebelius

Five Years Ago Today, Then-Governor Of Kansas Kathleen Sebelius Accepted President Obama’s Request To Head The Department Of Health And Human Services (HHS). “Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius yesterday accepted President Obama’s request to become his secretary of health and human services, stepping into a central role in the new administration’s ambitious effort to overhaul the nation’s health-care system.” (Michael A. Fletcher and Ceci Connolly, “Obama Picks Kansas Governor Sebelius As Health Secretary,” The Washington Post, 3/1/09)

SEBELIUS’ TENURE HAS BEEN MARKED BY BROKEN PROMISES, DISAPPOINTMENT AND FAILURE

Like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Sebelius Told Democrats To Ignore The Horror Stories Of Americans Suffering From The Effects Of ObamaCare

After A Meeting With Secretary Sebelius In June 2013, Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D- CA) Said That The Secretary Told Democrats To Not Listen To Reports Of People Struggling Under ObamaCare And That A Lot Of Reports Were “Unfounded.” “She told lawmakers not to worry when they read media accounts about people losing their health coverage, said Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.). ‘There are articles here and there in newspapers talking about people who lost their coverage, … but the assurance she’s been giving us is a lot of those are probably pre-anticipations, and a lot of those are going to be unfounded if they just take a deep breath,’ he said.” (Paige Winfield Cunningham and Jennifer Haberkorn, “Dems To Kathleen Sebelius: Seniors Confused On ObamaCare,” Politico, 6/27/13)

This Week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) Claimed That Americans’ ObamaCare “Horror Stories” Were “Untrue.” “‘Despite all that good news, there’s plenty of horror stories being told,’ Reid said on the Senate floor. ‘All of them are untrue, but they’re being told all over America.'” (Aaron Blake, “Harry Reid: All ObamaCare Horror Stories Are ‘Untrue,'” The Washington Post’s Post Politics , 2/26/14)

Sebelius Walked Back What “Success” Would Look Like On The ObamaCare Exchange

In June 2013, Sebelius Said The 7 Million Goal Would Be What “Success Looks Like.” “In June, Sebelius described 7 million consumers in the first year as a ‘realistic target.’ One day before HealthCare.gov launched Oct. 1, NBC News asked Sebelius: ‘What does success look like?’ ‘Well, I think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of March 2014’ she responded.” (Carrie Budoff Brown and Jason Millman, “7 Million ObamaCare Customers,” Politico, 12/11/13)

BuzzFeed Headline: “Kathleen Sebelius Has Changed Her Mind About What ObamaCare ‘Success’ Is.” (Andrew Kaczynski, “Kathleen Sebelius Has Changed Her Mind About What ObamaCare ‘Success’ Is,” BuzzFeed, 2/25/14)

  • After ObamaCare’s Troubled Rollout, Sebelius And The White House Seems To Have Shifted Their Opinion On The Enrollment Numbers. “The White House seems to have shifted its opinion on the enrollment numbers after ObamaCare got off to a slow start when glitches and malfunctions plagued the website.” (Andrew Kaczynski, “Kathleen Sebelius Has Changed Her Mind About What ObamaCare ‘Success’ Is,” BuzzFeed, 2/25/14)

Earlier This Week, Sebelius Said That The 7 Million Number “Was Not The Administration,” But Rather A CBO Prediction. SEBELIUS: “Well again Mark, first of all, 7 million was not the administration. That was a CBO, Congressional Budget Office prediction when the bill was first signed. I’m not quite sure where they even got their number. Their number’s all over the board, and you know, the vice president has looked and said it may be closer to 5 to 6. I’m more interested in what we are doing today: getting the word out to target populations.” ( Huffington Post Live, 2/25/14)

Sebelius Had Over Three And A Half Years To Implement ObamaCare But The Exchange Website Crashed On Day 1

Sebelius, In August 2013: “In Every State In The Country, There Will Be A New Health Marketplace Open For Business October 1.” SEBELIUS: “In every state in the country, regardless of what you hear. In every state in the country, there will be a new health marketplace open for business on October 1.” (Kathleen Sebelius, Remarks At The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, San Antonio, TX, 8/10/13)

ObamaCare Got “Off To A Rocky Start.” ObamaCare is off to a rocky start. State-based insurance exchange web sites scheduled to launch this morning were riddled with glitches, rendering many unusable.” (Kate Pickert, “ObamaCare Exchanges Riddled With Glitches,” Time, 10/1/13)

  • On Launch Day, ObamaCare “Experienced A Range Of Technical Glitches.” “ObamaCare’s new health insurance marketplaces experienced a range of technical glitches Tuesday morning as they opened to enroll patients for the first time.” (Elise Viebeck, “Technical Problems Mar Launch Of ObamaCare Exchanges,” The Hill’s Health Watch , 10/1/13)
  • Consumers Faced Long Wait Times And “Problems With The Application Process.” “Early issues that some people are seeing include long wait times for accessing the site, problems with the application process and long waits to chat with customer service representatives online.” (Jason Millman, “HHS: ‘Aware’ Of HealthCare.gov Issues,” Politico, 10/1/13)

In ObamaCare’s First 24 Hours, Only Six People Enrolled For Health Care. “The website launched on a Tuesday. Publicly, the government said there were 4.7 million unique visits in the first 24 hours. But at a meeting Wednesday morning, the war room notes say ‘six enrollments have occurred so far.'” (Sharyl Attkisson, “ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Very Small, Documents Show,” CBS News, 10/31/13)

  • Only 248 People Were Able To Sign Up For ObamaCare In Its First 48 Hours. “By Wednesday afternoon, enrollments were up to ‘approximately 100.’ By the end of Wednesday, the notes reflect ‘248 enrollments’ nationwide.” (Sharyl Attkisson, “ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Very Small, Documents Show,” CBS News, 10/31/13)

Prior To The October 1, Launch, The Obama Administration Delayed The Launch of The Spanish-Language Version Of HealthCare.gov. “The White House said Thursday that its Spanish-language health care enrollment tools will not be ready to launch until three weeks after the start of registration on Tuesday. Administration officials explained there will be Spanish-language speakers on the government’s help line beginning on the first day of open enrollment, but the site CuidadodeSalud.gov, will not allow Spanish speakers to compare insurance plans and enroll entirely in Spanish until the week of October 21.” (Adam Aigner-Treworgy, “Spanish-Language Online Health Care Enrollment Starts Later,” CNN’s PoliticalTicker, 9/26/13)

To Ring In The New Year, Sebelius Said She Didn’t Anticipate Anymore ObamaCare Delays

On December 31, 2013, Sebelius Said She Didn’t Anticipate Any New ObamaCare Delays. KIMBERLY SWANT: “Do you anticipate more delays?” KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: “No.” ( Fox News, 12/31/13)

Just Weeks Ago, The Obama Administration Delayed ObamaCare’s Employer Mandate For A Second Time. Trying to limit election-year damage on health care, the Obama administration Monday granted business groups another delay in a much-criticized requirement that larger firms cover their workers or face fines.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “Another Delay In Health Law’s Employer Requirement,” The Associated Press, 2/10/14)

Sebelius Said Americans Could Keep Their Plan If They Liked It, Repeating Obama’s “Lie Of The Year”

Sebelius, In May 2009: “If You Have Insurance Coverage That You Like, If You Have Health Care That Provides Great Services For You And Your Family, You Keep It.” KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: “And it starts with the fundamental that we’re building on the current system. If you have insurance coverage that you like, if you have health care that provides great services for you and your family, you keep it. And then putting the puzzle pieces together to deliver high cost–I mean high quality, low cost care to the millions of Americans who are not as fortunate as those of us who are in the system right now and have a good relationship with a provider. So that’s really the puzzle piece. You keep what you have.” (NBC News, 5/12/09)

Politifact Named “‘If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You Can Keep It,’ The ‘Lie Of The Year.'” “Boiling down the complicated health care law to a soundbite proved treacherous, even for its promoter-in-chief. Obama and his team made matters worse, suggesting they had been misunderstood all along. The stunning political uproar led to this: a rare presidential apology. For all of these reasons, PolitiFact has named ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,’ the Lie of the Year for 2013.” (Angie Drobnic Holan, “Lie Of The Year: ‘If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You Can Keep It,'” PolitiFact, 12/12/13)

  • The “Catchy Political Pitch” Was “Impossible To Keep.” “It was a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America’s health insurance system. ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,’ President Barack Obama said — many times — of his landmark new law. But the promise was impossible to keep.” (Angie Drobnic Holan, “Lie Of The Year: ‘If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You Can Keep It,'” PolitiFact, 12/12/13)

The Washington Post‘s Fact Checker Gave Obama’s Promise That Americans Could Keep Their Health Care Plan Four Pinocchios. “The president’s promise apparently came with a very large caveat: ‘If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan – if we deem it to be adequate.’ Four Pinocchios.” (Glenn Kessler, “Obama’s Pledge That ‘No One Will Take Away’ Your Health Plan,” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, 10/30/13)

Sebelius Was One Of The First In The Obama Administration To Pour Cold Water On ObamaCare’s Lower Premiums Promise

In March 2013, Sebelius Admitted To Reporters That Health Care Premiums Could Rise Because Of ObamaCare. “Some people purchasing new insurance policies for themselves this fall could see premiums rise because of requirements in the health-care law, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters Tuesday.” (Louise Radnofsky, “Sebelius: Some Could See Insurance Premiums,” The Wall Street Journal , 3/26/13)

  • Sebelius: “These Folks Will Be Moving Into A Really Fully Insured Product For The First Time, And So There May Be A Higher Cost Associated With Getting Into That Market.” “‘These folks will be moving into a really fully insured product for the first time, and so there may be a higher cost associated with getting into that market,’ she said.” (Louise Radnofsky, “Sebelius: Some Could See Insurance Premiums,” The Wall Street Journal , 3/26/13)
  • “Men And Younger Customers Could See Their Rates Increase” According To HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “She also said that some men and younger customers could see their rates increase while women and older customers could see their rates drop because the law restricts insurers’ ability to set rates based on age and gender.” (Louise Radnofsky, “Sebelius: Some Could See Insurance Premiums,” The Wall Street Journal , 3/26/13)

“The Comment Was Among The First From The Obama Administration To Reveal A Degree Of Uncertainty About The Impact Of The Law On Insurance Premiums.” (Elise Viebeck, “Premiums Could Rise Under Health Care law, Sebelius Concedes,” The Hill’s Health Watch , 3/27/13)

IN ADDITION TO THE RECENT OBAMACARE FAILURES, SEBELIUS HASN’T BEEN ENTIRELY ABOVEBOARD ON ETHICS AND OPENNESS

Sebelius Has Failed To Run An Agency In The Spirit Of Openness And Transparency

The Associated Press Revealed That Some Of Obama’s Political Appointees, Including Sebelius, Were Using “Secret Governmental Email Accounts.” “Some of President Barack Obama’s political appointees, including the secretary for Health and Human Services, are using secret government email accounts they say are necessary to prevent their inboxes from being overwhelmed with unwanted messages, according to a review by The Associated Press.” (Jack Gillum, “Top Political Appointees Use Secret Email Accounts,” The Associated Press, 6/4/13)

  • “At Least Two Other Senior HHS Officials – Including Donald Berwick, Former Head Of The Centers For Medicare And Medicaid Services, And Gary Cohen, A Deputy Administrator In Charge Of Implementing Health Insurance Reform – Also Have Secret Government Email Addresses, According To The Records Obtained By The AP.” (Jack Gillum, “Top Political Appointees Use Secret Email Accounts,” The Associated Press, 6/4/13)

“Secret Email Accounts Complicate An Agency’s Legal Responsibilities To Find And Turn Over Emails In Response To Congressional Or Internal Investigations, Civil Lawsuits Or Public Records Requests.” “The secret email accounts complicate an agency’s legal responsibilities to find and turn over emails in response to congressional or internal investigations, civil lawsuits or public records requests because employees assigned to compile such responses would necessarily need to know about the accounts to search them. Secret accounts also drive perceptions that government officials are trying to hide actions or decisions.” (Jack Gillum, “Top Political Appointees Use Secret Email Accounts,” The Associated Press, 6/4/13)

“The Health And Human Services Department Initially Turned Over To The AP The Email Addresses For Roughly 240 Appointees – Except None Of The Email Accounts For Sebelius, Even One For Her Already Published On Its Website.” (Jack Gillum, “Top Political Appointees Use Secret Email Accounts,” The Associated Press, 6/4/13)

Sebelius’ HHS Was Caught Shaking Down Private Companies For Contributions To ObamaCare

Kathleen Sebelius Sought “Assistance From Companies In The Health Care Field” To Implement ObamaCare. “In telephone calls that began around March 23, officials say, Obama’s top healthcare adviser has been seeking assistance from companies in the healthcare field and other industries as well as from healthcare providers, patient advocacy groups, churches and other charitable organizations.” (David Morgan, “Obama’s Health Secretary Seeks Donations From Companies For Healthcare Law,” Reuters, 5/11/13)

  • Sebelius Said She Reached Out To Johnson & Johnson, Ascension Health, And Kaiser – Three Companies That Are Regulated By HHS. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: “I made five phone calls for Enroll America and three of them were to discuss the organization and to suggest that the entities look at the organization. Johnson & Johnson, to Ascension Health, and to Kaiser.” REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC): “Are any of those groups regulated by your department?” SEBELIUS: “Yes, all of them are.” (Committee On Education & The Workforce, U.S. House, Hearing, 6/4/13)

The Washington Post Editorial: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Is “Dancing Around Serious Ethical Lines” By Soliciting Private Companies For Funds. “The stakes for the Health and Human Services Department, which is overseeing the transition, are tremendous. But they are not high enough to justify HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius dancing around serious ethical lines. The department admitted recently that Ms. Sebelius has solicited private support – including from insurance companies – for Enroll America, a nonprofit group devoted to expanding access that a former Obama administration staffer runs.” (Editorial, “Kathleen Sebelius Dances On An Ethical Line,” The Washington Post , 5/18/13)

  • “Given That HHS Directly Controls The Markets In Which The Insurers Operate, We Would Hardly Blame Them For Reading A Lot, Even Too Much, Into The Secretary’s Requests And Feeling Nervous About Them.” “The legal question is still murky. The ethical one is less so. The Post’s Sarah Kliff, who broke the story, reports that at least one official in the health-care industry felt pressure to give money and other forms of support to Enroll America. Given that HHS directly controls the markets in which the insurers operate, we would hardly blame them for reading a lot, even too much, into the secretary’s requests and feeling nervous about them. But even if they didn’t, it would have been easy to expect donations to curry favor with Ms. Sebelius.” (Editorial, “Kathleen Sebelius Dances On An Ethical Line,” The Washington Post , 5/18/13)

AND OUTSIDE OF OBAMACARE, THE U.S. SPECIAL COUNSEL’S OFFICE FOUND THAT SEBELIUS VIOLATED THE HATCH ACT

In 2012, The U.S. Office Of Special Counsel Ruled That HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Violated Hatch Act. “HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits certain political activity, when she made ‘extemporaneous partisan remarks’ during a speech in her official capacity earlier this year, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel said Wednesday.” (Jennifer Haberkorn, “HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Violated Hatch Act, OSC Concludes,” Politico, 9/12/12)

In Her Official Capacity As HHS Secretary, Sebelius Stumped For Obama And Lt. Governor Walter Dalton (D-NC) At A Human Rights Campaign Gala In North Carolina. “During a speech to the Human Rights Campaign Gala in North Carolina in February, Sebelius said North Carolina Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton ‘needs to be the next governor of North Carolina.’ She also outlined the Obama administration’s accomplishments so far and said, ‘One of the imperatives is to make sure that we not only come together here in Charlotte to present the nomination to the president, but we make sure that in November he continues to be president for another four years.'” (Jennifer Haberkorn, “HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Violated Hatch Act, OSC Concludes,” Politico, 9/12/12)

  • To Avoid Violation, Sebelius Reclassified Speaking Engagement From Official To Political – After Her Partisan Remarks. “ After that appearance, Sebelius had the event reclassified from official to political, and done in her personal capacity, in an attempt to avoid a Hatch Act violation. She and HHS also reimbursed the Treasury Department for all the costs associated with the trip. At least some of the cost was picked by the Democratic National Committee, according to the OSC.” (Jennifer Haberkorn, “HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Violated Hatch Act, OSC Concludes,” Politico, 9/12/12)

OSC Special Counsel Carolyn N. Lerner Concluded That “Sebelius Violated The Hatch Act By Making Extemporaneous Political Remarks.” “‘OSC concluded that Secretary Sebelius violated the Hatch Act by making extemporaneous political remarks,’ OSC Special Counsel Carolyn N. Lerner wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama. ‘As the upcoming elections approach, this report offers an opportunity to remind federal employees of the complex Hatch Act restrictions.'” (Jennifer Haberkorn, “HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Violated Hatch Act, OSC Concludes,” Politico, 9/12/12)

Via – Secretary of Failure 

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