Jon Stewart recently sat down with Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services to talk about Obamacare and the problems that have plagued the roll-out of the exchanges for the individual mandate this past week.
Sebelius admitted that things had not gone as smoothly as they would have liked, but said that the problems are being addressed and that the system will improve as time goes on. She also pointed out that 85% of Americans need to do nothing, they are already insured and unless they are looking for a better deal they do not have to deal with the exchanges.
In regards to why the individual mandate was not pushed back a year as the requirement for businesses was, she explained that the difference is that everything for the individual is already in place and that the subsidies will begin on schedule so there is no reason to delay for individuals.
She also pointed out that very few businesses are affected by the delay since 95% of them already have insurance plans for their employees, while those who are uninsured are those who do not have coverage through their employer.
She also shot down the claim that Obamacare is a government takeover of health care, saying that the only role of government is in providing the marketplace where people can compare policies to find the one that works best for them, ensuring that they can purchase a policy that will allow them to use the doctors and hospitals that they prefer.
Stewart asked her why the individual mandate could not be delayed to which Sebelius replied, “They can, they pay a fine at the end of the year.” She then pointed out that people were to suddenly become seriously ill or have an accident and were unable to pay the bills they incurred, someone else would end up picking up the tab for them.
“For those of us who are somewhat believing that the opposition right now in Washington are crazy people, it is imperative that this government, the government that basically says this federal government has a role to play in people’s lives, it feels like it’s frustrating to have to defend something that is less than ideal, or is functioning at what seems to be a level of incompetence that is larger than what it should be,” Stewart said.
Stewart then mentioned the canard of the transition to part time work in order to avoid the employer mandate, to which Sebelius pointed out is largely supported only by anecdotal evidence.
Sebelius said that economists say that there has not been an increase in part time jobs and that the trend had peaked during the recession and is now actually on the decline, adding that many people will be able to purchase insurance for less than they now pay for their cable TV or cell phone bills.
Watch the Daily Show segment in the videos below.