Kathleen Sebelius heads up HHS, not the CIA — but with all the secrets she’s keeping on ObamaCare, it can be tough to tell the difference.
Earlier this week, the agency’s cover was blown on yet another clandestine operation to change the health care law — a change so classified that the media didn’t notice until this week, when the Wall Street Journal blew the story wide open.
It seems the individual mandate, which forces people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, was suspended by the White House last week without so much as a peep to the media. Instead, the administration buried the news in a technical bulletin on a totally unrelated rule — stunning reporters and confusing Americans who the change was meant to help.
“Keep in mind,” writes the Journal, “that the White House argued at the Supreme Court that the individual mandate to buy insurance was indispensable to the law’s success, and President Obama continues to say he’d veto bipartisan bills that would delay or repeal it.”
But if the mandate is such a key component of the law, why would the administration shelve it?
And, more importantly, why would it keep that decision from the country?
If HHS is excusing millions of people from one of the most unpopular parts of the law, isn’t it at least worth a press release?
The White House didn’t think so.
Nor did Secretary Sebelius, who went so far as to call the report “inaccurate” in a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Wednesday (“before going on to confirm,” reporters note, “that it was, in fact, accurate”).
Obviously, this “hidden waiver” is the latest life preserver the White House is throwing to sinking Democrats before the midterm elections.
After this week’s special election in Florida, which was a resounding rejection of ObamaCare, liberals are more anxious than ever about the November election and the backlash from angry voters — including the 4.7 million whose insurance was cancelled because of it.
Others, who have managed to hang on to their policies for now, are not as disturbed by the law as they are by the administration’s illegal modifications to it.
Let’s face it, write the editors of the Wall Street Journal, “…There have been so many unilateral executive waivers and delays that ObamaCare must be unrecognizable to its drafters to the extent they ever knew what the law contained.”
While the White House becomes even more close-lipped about its lawlessness, another PR nightmare waits in the wings — this time over the latest exchange data. Despite a more functional website, only 940,000 people have signed up for an ObamaCare plan in February, bringing the total enrollment to 4.2 million (a half-million fewer than the number of people who lost their policies when the law took effect).
And of those 4.2 million, only 500,000 were the target audience: people who were already uninsured.
Of course, the whole point of redefining American health care was to expand coverage to Americans without insurance.
Now, after more than six months, it seems this drastic overhaul of one-sixth of the U.S. economy is only affecting a tiny slice of the desired population.
According to McKinsey’s survey, most of those people think the plans are too expensive to bother.
Even people who qualify for the subsidies replied, “I could not afford to pay the premium.”
And among the enrolled, most haven’t. Only 14% of the people who were uninsured before ObamaCare have actually paid for their plans. Secretary Sebelius can cover up the facts all she wants, but when it comes to the administration’s lawlessness, there’s no hiding place big enough.