Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been ducking the press ever since the slow-motion Obamacare train wreck began picking up speed in late October. But a Fox News producer finally cornered the secretary hours before millions of new Obamacare plans are set to take effect, with Sebelius promising “a great new year for lots of families across the country.”
Kimberly Schwandt waylaid Sebelius as she walked to a waiting SUV in Washington, D.C. Asked to predict how a rocky roll out will translate into insurance coverage for the millions of consumers expecting it, the secretary put on a brave face.
“I’m thrilled that we’re going to have millions of people for the first time that have health security,” she said. “It should be a great new year for lots of families across the country.”
When asked about potential “hiccups,” Sebelius acted nonchalant: “You know, I’m sure there will be some issues, there always are,” she shrugged. “People change plans every year — these are private plans in a private market and there are millions of people who change their insurance coverage every day. But we’ve done a lot of outreach with pharmacies and doctors and hospitals and consumers and hope to make the transition as soon as possible.”
Reports have indicated serious problems with HealthCare.gov’s “back-end” processing services, used to pay insurance companies and provide them with important consumer information. This and other “hiccups” may cause thousands of consumers to mistakenly believe they purchased coverage under Obamacare, leading to industry chaos and possible delays in medical treatment.
Asked whether the American people can expect any further delays to Obamacare’s timeline, Sebelius replied with a brusque “no.” But she did offer up a New Year’s resolution: “Lots of people getting good health care in 2014,” she declared, moments before shutting her SUV door.
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