Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took aim at her “hostile” right-wing opponents Tuesday, in her first speech after resigning her top post.
At the State of Enrollment conference run by Enroll America, an Obamacare-promoting nonprofit run by former Obama White House staffer Anne Filipic, Sebelius addressed a friendly audience with a host of typical pro-Obamacare speakers, from insurance executive Dan Hilferty, Independence Blue Cross CEO, to Democratic Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear.
“We had right-wing media, leadership in Congress who was determined on the House side to stop this law at any cost, shadow political organizations, hostile governors, hostile legislators, all working to make sure you couldn’t do the job that was so important,” Sebelius gushed, only once mentioning “our well-known issues with the website” putting a damper on customers getting coverage.
Sebelius even hit states for putting limits on navigators at all, seemingly, despite reports that personal information has already been put at risk. She hit back at the “relentless obstruction” of those who would put a check on Obamacare staffers asking for customers personal information — “people who were forced with getting fingerprints and paying a fee in order to help people access health insurance.”
She wasn’t alone. President Obama pre-taped a message for the conference, taking the opportunity to snipe at those who continue to oppose the health-care law in a short video.
“We cannot let up now,” Obama said. “As we look towards 2015, we need you to keep telling your stories, keep spreading the word, keep standing up for folks trying to get coverage — because the other side has billionaires funding campaigns to scare the very people the Affordable Care Act would help.”
While Obama and Sebelius hit their political opponents, Hilferty hinted that Americans should expect even more changes to the health-care law. Insurance companies are one of the largest beneficiaries of the health-care law, especially the individual mandate requiring everyone to carry health insurance.
“Regardless of one’s politics, this is not a perfect law. This law will change over time because each of us will have input,” Hilferty said. “What will not change is that eight million Americans, plus those in the Medicaid arena, now have access to care. They won’t go back — they won’t allow us to go back.”
Sebelius only addressed her agency’s failure to create a working HealthCare.gov website on time with an odd rationalization, suggesting a working website would have decreased the number of sign-ups.
“Certainly I think better would’ve been a website that was fully functional day one, I would trade those eight weeks in October and November in a heartbeat,” Sebelius said, “Except someone said to me, ‘Would you like a smooth website and four million enrollees or a rocky website and eight million’ — I’ll take the eight million any day.”
The Obama administration has still yet to say how many Obamacare customers have paid for their health insurance — or how many have continued to pay month after month. Low-income community health clinics have warned that some customers are unable to continue paying for coverage month after month. (RELATED: Community Centers Warns That Poor Won’t Keep Paying Obamacare Premiums)