Sebelius on open mic: ‘Don’t do this to me’

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius showed her frustration under questioning from the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday when she was caught on an open microphone, muttering, “don’t do this to me,” after Missouri Republican Rep. Billy Long peppered her with questions.

At the hearing, meant to examine the rocky and problematic rollout of the HealthCare.gov enrollment website, Long asked Sebelius to commit to going on the healthcare exchanges herself. The challenge came after she explained that she was not on the exchange, as she was provided insurance by her employer. She said she believed that it would be illegal for her to do so.

“I’m asking you today: Can you tell the American public if your advisers behind you, if they happen to have given you wrong information, if it is possible for you to go into the exchange, like all of these millions of Americans going into the exchanges, will you agree to forego your insurance plan you’re on now and join us in the pool?” Long asked. “Water is fine.”

After Long’s time expired, Democratic Rep. Harry Waxman, the ranking member of the committee, chimed in to ask her to state for the record whether she might be able to get insurance that would protect her from “cheap shots.”

As Waxman began speaking into the microphone, Sebelius could be overheard groaning, “don’t do this to me.”

Sebelius ultimately said she would “gladly go in the exchange if I didn’t have affordable coverage in my workplace. I would gladly join it.”

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Alexis Levinson