Last week Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, testified before Congress concerning the botched rollout of the Obamacare website. In keeping with the tradition of the most transparent administration in history, Ms. Sebelius was less than forthcoming. (Honest! Barack Obama told us so and he wouldn’t lie…wait, never mind.) As a public service, we will provide some of her answers to congressional questioning and then explain what she really meant.
When asked if she had any objections to testifying under oath, according to the transcripts, Ms. Sebelius said, “(inaudible).”
What she meant: S*#@! I was under the impression there would be no questions.
In her opening statement, Ms. Sebelius said, “I’m accountable to you for fixing these problems.”
What she meant: I’ll say I’m accountable, but not the “it’ll get me fired” accountable. That would be dumb.
Also from her opening statement, she said, “Our extensive assessment has determined that healthcare.gov is fixable.”
What she meant: It’s probably not fixable in the sense that we can make it work, but we are working around the clock to change the definition of “fixable” and on lowering expectations.
About ongoing problems with the Obamacare website, Ms. Sebelius stated, “I am as frustrated and angry as anyone with the flawed launch of healthcare.gov. So let me say directly to these Americans, you deserve better. I apologize.”
What she meant: I’m still not going to be fired.
Ms. Sebelius was asked if President Obama was keeping his promise when he guarantied, “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.” She said, “Yes, he is.”
What she meant: No, he isn’t.
Asked if President Obama wasn’t ultimately responsible for the botched rollout of the Obamacare website, Ms. Sebelius responded, “Whatever.”
What she really meant. Whatever.
Asked about the Obamacare website crashing, Ms. Sebelius said, “The website has never crashed. It is functional but at a very slow speed and very low reliability, and has continued to function.”
What she really meant: It’s crashed more times than Evil Knievel.
Ms. Sebelius was asked repeatedly how many people had successfully enrolled through the Obamacare website. She responded each time by saying, “We do not have any reliable data.”
What she meant: Whatever.
(Note: We later learned that a full six people successfully enrolled on the first day of the Obamacare website rollout. Six people out of 4.7 million hits. That’s worse than Shaquille O’Neal’s career free throw percentage. It is, however, enough to field a basketball team – and still have a sub!)
Asked if she knew whether the website was secure, Ms. Sebelius responded, “I don’t know.”
What she meant: Security? What’s that?
About the cost of the website so far, Ms. Sebelius testified, “We have spent about $118 million on the website itself and about $56 million has been expended on other IT to support the web.”
What she meant: That’s almost as big a lie as, if you like your health plan you can keep it.
Regarding any performance penalties for the website contractors, Ms. Sebelius said, “There isn’t a built-in penalty. But I can tell you that paying for work that isn’t complete is not something that we will do.”
What she meant: Of course, we’ll overpay for shoddy work. Heck, Joe Biden gets a salary.
In an exchange with one of her aides, a hot mike caught Ms. Sebelius muttering under her breath, “Don’t do this to me?”
What she meant: Don’t do to me what Obamacare is doing to the rest of America.
When asked why she doesn’t get insurance through Obamacare, she claimed, “It’s illegal for me to do so.”
What she meant: I’m a Democratic bureaucrat. We make sure our crappy laws don’t apply to us.
About Obamacare generally, she said, “This is the law, it is no longer up for debate.”
What she meant: Whatever.
Curtice Mang is the author of the book, The Constitution – I’m Not Kidding and Other Tales of Liberal Folly. He can be contacted at www.mangwrites.com, where one can also purchase his book; or contact Curtice at mangwrites at cox.net.