Not many laughs on “The Daily Show” for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius when she appeared last night. Ended up being more of a grill, courtesy of host Jon Stewart.
Sebelius, who has been on a media blitz in recent weeks as the health care exchanges for the Affordable Care Act opened for business on October 1st, has appeared on multiple networks to promote the new law and to attempt to tamper criticism of its rollout.
When the topic turned to the subject of the individual mandate, specifically the fact that while many businesses were given a one-year delay to comply with the law, individuals were not, things got contentious.
“If I’m an individual that doesn’t want this, it would be hard for me to look at a big business getting a waiver,” Stewart said. “I would feel like you are favoring big business because they lobbied you … but you’re not allowing individuals that same courtesy.”
Sebelius denied that was the case, but danced around answering the question directly, sticking instead to talking points.
After pressing her further on the issue to no avail, a somewhat exasperated Stewart finally smiled and asked, “Am I a stupid man?”
Stewart also made fun of the difficulties many Americans have had getting on the federal website to look at what supposed to be new, more affordable health insurance options.
As the secretary sat down to begin the segment, Stewart opened a laptop on his desk. “I’m going to attempt to download every movie ever made, and you’re going to try to sign up for Obamacare, and we’ll see which happens first.”
Sebelius admitted the website rollout “started a little rockier than we’d like,” but said the administration had been working to make improvements. “It’s better today than it was yesterday, and it will keep getting better.”