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U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is sworn in to testify before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing about issues and complications with the Affordable Care Act enrollment website, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct
Republicans are absolutely gleeful at the opportunity to start a new round of Obamacare bashing with the resignation of Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said she had an “impossible” job — defending Obamacare. “I thank Secretary Sebelius for her service. She had an impossible task: nobody can make Obamacare work,” he quickly tweeted. […]

“Secretary Sebelius may be gone, but the problems with this law and the impact it’s having on our constituents aren’t. Obamacare has to go too,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. […]

Sen. Lamar Alexander said the burden of defending the health care law now falls on Sebelius’s successor.

“This is the right decision,” Alexander said. “The challenge for Ms. Burwell, or any other successor, is to help Congress find the right way to repair the damage Obamacare has done to American families.”

Gosh, you'd think Republicans had no idea that Obamacare had just created more than 7.5 million new private insurance accounts, on top of the millions more who have coverage through Medicaid and expanded family plans. They remain determined to deny the fact that the law, under Sebelius, exceeded the CBO's and administration's enrollment goals. They have to, because the only way they can keep demanding that the only answer is repeal is to keep saying—despite all evidence that says otherwise—that the law simply cannot work.

They'll use the confirmation hearings of Sylvia Mathews Burwell, currently director of the Office of Management and Budget and President Obama's choice for Sebelius's replacement, to keep on insisting that there's no way this law can work. But by then, the numbers of new enrollments will be even higher, because they just keep rolling in.

Meanwhile, we're still waiting for that Republican replacement plan, that magical unicorn of a plan that will do all of the great things Obamacare does without being Obamacare. They still can't tell us what they'll do besides take coverage away from the millions of people who now, finally, have it.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:09 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (31+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:09:11 AM PDT

  •  Their plan is more of a Duocorn plan: two horns... (4+ / 0-)

    ...as in the devil's plan.

    Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:16:10 AM PDT

  •  Good god, that Burwell conf hearing is gonna (10+ / 0-)

    be like the circus in Freaks!  It will be the platform of the month for the bashing of the ACA.  Perhaps Benghazi will also come up.

    Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:17:46 AM PDT

  •  The impacts of the ACA are horrendous! (15+ / 0-)
    “Secretary Sebelius may be gone, but the problems with this law and the impact it’s having on our constituents aren’t."
    Impacts like:

    - Keeping your kids on your policy until they are 26.  Get off my lawn!

    - Not getting to visit the ER with that chronic, untreated, pre-existing condition because you now have an insurance policy.  Freedom-killing!

    - Having money left over each month as a result of your reduced premiums, which will probably be spent on buying food.  There goes the (enforced) diet!

    How can we survive these horrible, horrible impacts of Obamacare?  We must repeal it!

    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" -- (Talbot, in: The Maid of Orleans by Friedrich Schiller)

    by rfall on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:19:22 AM PDT

  •  Now all of a sudden they are sympathetic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant, IreGyre, Betty Pinson

    to Sebelius? Before they did a lot of attacking her on the hill in hearings.

    Anyway I don't feel too good about her replacement. I hope Obama knows what he is doing and sees something I don't. And they are probably going to try to drag the process out, the republicans I mean. :(

    I love president Obama!!!

    by freakofsociety on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:21:32 AM PDT

  •  Burwell (5+ / 0-)

    I think it is a mistake to assume that because Burwell's last confirmation sailed through that this one will as well. I think the Republicans will see this as their best opportunity to slam the brakes on ACA. Which it is.

  •  The Republicans don't have a replacement plan (6+ / 0-)

    Because The Affordable Care Act is a Republican plan. They first floated this kind of solution as a rebuttal to the efforts of Bill Clinton. But now, since it was put into place by a Democrat, it's the worst idea ever.

  •  A HUGE unforced error on the part of the ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nspguy, Betty Pinson, gmfp, JackND

    ... Obama administration.

    While her departure (and the immediate designation of her replacement!) could well have had nothing whatever to do with ACA rollout, the noise it generates will drown that notion.

    Yes, the rollout was botched ... and corrected. It was horribly complex and rushed along by people who had no business prescribing imperatives for untried and largely untested plodge-togethers of systems to work. But Obamacare delivers! Kathleen Sebelius's departure swallows much of that news.

    And ... she was a good Secretary of a department under constant fire by professional naysayers. Yet this administration handed them a victory they did not deserve.

    It was foreseeable. It was a dumb decision. There's no sugar coating this one!

    2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:23:17 AM PDT

    •  Stop the hand wringing. Things will be fine. (10+ / 0-)

      Sebelius needed to go. She did good work for five years and took a lot of heat.

      It is good for both President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius to start afresh.

      Politically, this was the best time to make the change.

    •  Oh piss off, really (8+ / 0-)

      This ridiculous hand-wringing and rubbing of worry beads is not only a waste of time but plays in to the Republican fear mongering. No matter when Sebelius resigned it would've been played up by the Republicans as some "proof" that Obamacare was a failure.

      GOP 2014 strategy -- Hire clowns, elephants, and a ringmaster and say "a media circus" has emerged and blame Democrats for lack of progress. Have pundits agree that "both sides are to blame" and hope the public will stay home on election day.

      by ontheleftcoast on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:29:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And if Sebelius had stayed on (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hbk, ontheleftcoast

        Republicans would STILL be arguing that Obamacare is a failure.  What's your point?

        29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

        by TDDVandy on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:33:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hey, coast, I don't think I deserve that! n/t (0+ / 0-)

        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:56:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe you don't but that comment does (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jakeston, tb mare, Noamjunior

          I'm tired of the arm chair quarterbacks and worry warts that are endlessly worried about "What will the Republicans think?!" Newsflash -- they will ALWAYS find the ray of shit in a rainbow. It's what they do, it's who they are. Nothing we do will ever please them, if we do EXACTLY what they say they'll be pissed we didn't offer bigger tax breaks while doing it. Fuck that noise. They're not worth it, we have to govern the best we can despite their presence.

          GOP 2014 strategy -- Hire clowns, elephants, and a ringmaster and say "a media circus" has emerged and blame Democrats for lack of progress. Have pundits agree that "both sides are to blame" and hope the public will stay home on election day.

          by ontheleftcoast on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 09:01:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Rachel Madow made similar points that you've (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TRPChicago, Betty Pinson, JackND

      made.  You expanded on her points made last night on her show.  Well done.  I couldn't agree with you more.  Dumb move to do it now.  Should have waited a few months.  Rachel even posted a video from March 31 from HuffPo where Sebelius was asked if she would stay until November and she replied that she was in.  Really bad.

      "Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself; to become what he potentially is." -Erich Fromm

      by nspguy on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:30:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why would she tell HuffPo all her plans? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        katesmom
      •  Thanks, nsp. Thanks especially for your tone! (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Betty Pinson, Paragryne, nspguy, gmfp

        On Kos, where many of us want a reasoned dialog whether commenters agree with us or not, the least we can do is be civil.

        I'd say 98% of my comments since 2007 or so are very supportive of Barack Obama and the administration. Of course, there were mistakes and missed opportunities, but by and large so far, he's had a great run against unusually intransigent opposition.

        My point has also been that the GOP is making many unforced errors in an election year, where they can ill afford to have us pointed them out. The ads rebutting Republican candidates for what they, themselves, say and do, can be very visual, simple, direct, without much explanatory narration. Just what the GOP ad makers are so good at.

        So now, here we are, self-creating a victim on the very subject that the GOP capitalized on in 2010.

        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:53:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The problem with this argument (6+ / 0-)

      is that from all accounts, this was Sebelius's decision, not Obama's.

      29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

      by TDDVandy on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:32:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think John Q. Public gives a damn. (4+ / 0-)

      Half the country couldn't even name the HHS Secretary, let along mourn/ridicule her resignation. And say there are a few folks who have been enlightened by the usual R talking points about Sebelius and her association with the "disastrous" ACA rollout. So what? The plan is already in place, millions of folks have benefited and more stand to. Nobody's going to be talking about her in a week.

      •  Hooch, I hope you're right. But the GOP will ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... keep talking about this, and they'll make her the poster person. And her successor. And so forth. She won't be the target as such and the voters on November 4th don't need to know her name.

        I certainly agree with the comments that say Get Past This and Lets Move On. My point is this wasn't a fight we needed to pick and lose in one breath. While the Republicans will continue to be Obama-hating, ACA-defeating obstinate haranguers - and we can't change that - we need not have handed the Republicans any ground right now.

        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 11:37:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Details? (4+ / 0-)

    Does anyone know what these people think "the damage Obamacare has done to American families" actually is?  What are the negative impacts in their minds?

    Seriously, I want to know because none of them ever give any details they just speak in politico-speak without meaning.

    I do know they keep referring to the "you can keep your doctor" and "you can keep your plan" issues as problems but that only affects a very few people and in reality it's not a problem of the ACA but that these junk insurance plans were changed pretty much every year before the ACA. Of course, until Democrats start getting the truth out there these two issues will keep coming up.

    But beyond that, exactly how is Obamacare hurting people, according to these liars?

    [Terrorists] are a dime a dozen, they are all over the world and for every one we lock up there will be three to take his place. --Digby

    by rabel on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:25:44 AM PDT

    •  And some clown the other day came to the conclu- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gentle Giant

      sion that "You can keep your doctor" was proof that all presidents lie--so we shouldn't be too hard on W and the Glorious Eye-Rack Adventure. Yeah, I have to agree that "You can keep your doctor" is every bit as bad, if not worse, than "Sadd'm has weapons of mass destruction aimed at your babies' heads right now this very minute!"

    •  Obamacare is hurting people (4+ / 0-)

      by giving them health insurance, where GOPers would prefer they just die.

      "You can keep your doctor" is, basically, "you didn't build that" all over again.  A giant nothingburger taken totally out of context but which is supposed to make you angry.  But like most things, the GOP has managed to manipulate their people into being angry not at the asshole doctor who decided to drop you as a patient because Obamacare, but at Obamacare itself, because it's Obama's fault that your doctor and insurance company are assholes.

      29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

      by TDDVandy on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:39:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doctors? (0+ / 0-)

        I don't believe I've seen a single credible instance of a doctor dropping patients because of Obamacare. In fact, that wouldn't make any sense because the ACA is simply people getting health insurance from the same and usual private health insurance providers that everyone has always used.

        I've seen one case of a Republican doctor who decided to stop taking on additional patients as he winds down his practice since he's getting close to retirement take the politically expedient case of blaming Obamacare for it but it turned out he was already planning not to take on additional patients even before the ACA become law.

        [Terrorists] are a dime a dozen, they are all over the world and for every one we lock up there will be three to take his place. --Digby

        by rabel on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 09:53:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Every ACA "problem" of note (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmfp, rabel

      is something that already existed in the health care industry before the ACA was initiated.

      I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

      by CFAmick on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 09:17:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republican propaganda will continue (0+ / 0-)

    McCarter doesn't seem to realize that the Obamacare subsidies have to be paid for by someone. The consensus is that it won't be insurance companies - their stock prices have gone up, except when the Supreme Court was considering killing the whole thing.  Since the ACA was basically written by the Heritage Foundation and insurance companies, the costs will presumably fall on those middle-class people near or above the subsidy limits.  These people are the normal targets of Republicans, and Obamacare is another thing they can point to as transferring money to the "moochers".  The success of Obamacare on its own terms doesn't mean that Republicans don't have complaints on their own terms.  Anyway the propaganda will continue - Obamacare is not the political victory that Kossacks think it is.

    •  no one likes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IreGyre

      health insurance, it was never going to be a poliitcal victory. It's a victory for more people to be covered. Which is the point. The subsides are paid with cuts to the rates to payments to hospitals for uninsured since there should be less of them. Most middle class people get subsidies so it would be hard to consider them moochers or the ones paying for the subsidies. But the Republicans are mostly boxed in. I'd love them to try to incorporate Jindal's plan of removing tax breaks for employee sponsored plans. You think there was an uproar with the smallest group of disruptions,  the individual market. They can't offer anything that might cover more people, or block pre existing conditions because they have no way to fund it. They tried to fund an high risk pool that didn't pass. Since they don't like facts or actually try to do policy they are on unsubstainable path.

  •  right on cue (7+ / 0-)

    because of course, the moment you meet the demands of a tantrum-throwing toddler, it's only moments before he throws another

    it is kinda fun tho, watching mcconnell (especially) inflict deep wounds on his own campaign

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:29:05 AM PDT

  •  Music to my ears. Let them dig themselves deeper (7+ / 0-)

    and deeper into this dead end strategy of running on repealing Obamacare.  I'll keep handing them fresh shovels if they like.

  •  Every day, (3+ / 0-)

    some Republican(s) prove they lack basic human decency.

  •  I'll defend the timing of the resignation (7+ / 0-)

    Some, like Maddow, think it stepped on the good news of the higher sign up numbers.

    But I think the reality was Sebelius was going to leave this year, no matter what. She has been in the administration since the beginning, so that's a pretty long tenure for any cabinet secretary.

    The higher signups and the end of the enrollment period allow her to leave on a high note. As opposed to leaving in Oct/Nov 2013.

    Also, we dont know if Dems will control the Senate after the midterms. So to leave after that could mean having no HHS secretary for months, possibly for the rest of the Obama admin.

    Her resignation was always going to be like ripping off a band aid. It was going to hurt a bit, Republicans will crow about it.  But in a few weeks, we will get the final numbers on the enrollment period and they will north of 7.5 million. And, probably sometime next month,  Burwell will be confirmed relatively easily.

  •  Burwell might be an improvement (0+ / 0-)

    Sebelius is a politician, while Burwell is a technocrat -- someone who has experience managing large number-crunching operations.

    American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

    by atana on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:42:32 AM PDT

  •  Rewrite! (0+ / 0-)
    “The challenge for Ms. Burwell, or any other successor, is to help Congress find the right way to r̶e̶p̶a̶i̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶  damage O̶b̶a̶m̶a̶c̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶h̶a̶s̶ ̶d̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶  American families.”
    I'm sure those are closer to your actual thoughts, Sen. Alexander.
  •  they are really setting themselves up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    You know if democrats just make ads like the recent mark begich ad on the front page at the right time it will cremate the Republicans.  It will make them furious.  What will say, democrats are just a bunch of do-gooders.  They'all certainly want to.  Some of them probably will.

    Nothing says pro-life like shutting innocent people out of health care.

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:44:16 AM PDT

  •  Has anyone else considered (6+ / 0-)

    that Sebelius is leaving because:

    a) The rollout problems were resolved, the targets exceeded, so most of her work is done,
    b) the continually mounting evidence of the success of the ACA will be a feather in her career cap while
    c) she resets to start a new chapter of her career with the added achievement, a stellar one really, of Obamacare to accelerate and improve any attempt at gaining any office for which she may wish to run?

    That's actually the first reason I thought of for her resignation.
    This is NOT the wrong time. It is a very good time for her to step away to pursue what's next.
    I think it is a smart move by a brilliant woman.

    "Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Gentle Giant on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:45:59 AM PDT

    •  Exactly... (2+ / 0-)

      .... she stayed on the job until the roll-out was pretty much done. Five years is a good run for a Cabinet secretary; most of those posts turned over last year.  

      This is a good point for a change of leadership.

    •  true. honestly...she never really wanted... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gentle Giant

      ...the cabinet position.  Her plan had been to run for the senate in 2010 after she finished her 2nd term as Kansas Governor.

      This was exactly the right time for her to leave.  My guess is she offered her resignation to the president last fall during the rollout problems- and he said he would not accept it until the enrollment deadline had passed.

      For us here in Kansas, it was a huge loss to lose her to a cabinet position in washington.  She was the democratic party in kansas.  Democratic presidents seem to get elected and immediately empty out the Senate and governorships of people that still have promising careers for the party- and effectively end their political careers.  The Obama White House was one of the worst in this regard.

    •  possibility d) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gentle Giant

      That she's thinking of challenging Pat Roberts for his US Senate seat.

  •  Love Rachel, But She Is A Bit Of A Nervous Nellie (4+ / 0-)

    Sometimes she needs to calm herself & take a breath.
    Sebelius leaving takes away nothing from the MILLIONS benefiting & signing up for Obamacare.

    It's doing well.  It will continue to do well w/ or without Ms Sebelius.  

    In the meantime, Republicans have boxed themselves into a corner.  What have they got warming up in the bullpen?

  •  Typical. Republicans hate people in government (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast

    who are good at their jobs.

    They like a Labor Secretary who opposes Labor.

    They like a head of the EPA who could care less about the environment.

    They like a Secretary of Education who doesn't believe in education.

    They like a Secretary of Homeland Security who doesn't care about whole cities drowning.

    They like a Secretary of the Interior who works for the mining companies.

    They like a Secretary of Defense who only plays offense.

    And, they like a Secretary of Health and Human Services who is opposed to health, opposed to humans, and opposed to services.

    Republican Health Care Plan: marry a Canadian.

    by shoeless on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 09:05:22 AM PDT

  •  Predictability factor… Off the charts… (0+ / 0-)

    I wonder how many GOP senators will block her replacement's nomination over… Wait for it… BENGHAAAAAAAZZZZII? Other than Lindsay Graham, I mean…

    Baby, where I come from...

    by ThatSinger on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 09:38:57 AM PDT

  •  what did you (0+ / 0-)

    Expect. As Rachel said whats up with her firing. Obama givesaammunition again letting her go. Why did he do it

    "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between" Oscar Wilde

    by angry hopeful liberal on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 09:48:07 AM PDT

  •  Of course Republicans bash Obamacare in response (0+ / 0-)

    to almost any stimulus.
    And my dogs bark loudly when someone rings the doorbell, or a strange dog wanders onto "their" front lawn, or they see a cat.  I don't expect the Republicans to do something else any more than I expect my dogs to meow at the doorbell next time.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 09:48:29 AM PDT

  •  Her endorsement of Obama in Jan 2008 was critical (0+ / 0-)

    With the outcome of the democratic nomination still in doubt she came as a popular governor, a woman at that and endorsed Barack Obama.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    What happened with the site could've happened to any non technical appointee. You just do not expect that level of incompetence from the folks building the site unless you've actually run an engineering division before which most politicians have not.

    •  No apologies, please. (0+ / 0-)
      You just do not expect that level of incompetence from the folks building the site unless you've actually run an engineering division before which most politicians have not.
      UPS, Fed Ex, Amazon and Zappos all were able to set up complex user interfaces with few problems.  We use them all of the time.

      This was not rocket science.  The problem was planning, not the technical aspects.   They did not develop and test the website early enough to meet a self imposed deadline.  Even politicians should be able to get that right.  

      If you get confused, listen to the music play - R. Hunter

      by SpamNunn on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 10:00:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The fact that she lost the last page of her (0+ / 0-)

    resignation speech and had to end with, paraphrasing, "unfortunately, a page is missing, thanks, bye" tells me that it's good that she's gone.  

    Politics is like sports.  If you take care of the little things, the big things take care of themselves.  Sebelius was not good at taking care of the little things, like being able to sign up on an exchange or not get mocked during her resignation speech.   Nice lady, but not the most detail oriented DOH Sec'y we have ever had.  

    If you get confused, listen to the music play - R. Hunter

    by SpamNunn on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 09:57:08 AM PDT

  •  Again Dems let repub lies set the narrative.. (0+ / 0-)

    disastrous lookout, failure, trainwreck.  To me Kathryn to apply a sports metaphor is like the basketball player who goes 0-7 in the first half only to go 11 for 15 in the second half with a buzzer beater to seal the victory at the end.   How could anyone characterize her tenure as anything but a raving success?

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