By Georgia Feuer
Last week Jon Stewart hosted Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on The Daily Show. During the interview, he kept returning to the same question: Why was the piece of the Affordable Care Act that requires businesses to provide health insurance delayed for one year, but the piece requiring individuals to obtain health insurance (the “individual mandate”) was not delayed?
In her answer, Sebelius mentioned that there are subsidies and tax credits available to individuals starting in 2014 and also that the so-called “employer mandate” affects a very small number of businesses. The employer mandate only applies to businesses with 50 or more employees. Only 5% of businesses have 50 or more employees, and most of these companies already offer insurance.
But Jon Stewart was not satisfied with her answer, and that is because she did not give the whole answer. The real reason why the individual mandate cannot be delayed is that it is too crucial to the success of health care reform. To understand why, let’s suppose that getting health insurance was, in fact, voluntary. Then the people who would be most motivated to purchase health insurance are those who are sick. Continue reading
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
How well do you know your Secretary of Health and Human Services? That’s the big question posed by a quiz today on Politico. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who, according to the quiz, is a high school jock with a soft spot for the Rolling Stones, has been in the news recently about growing concerns around the lagging implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
On Here and Now last week, WBUR’s Meghna Chakrabarti asked Sebelius about glitches in rolling out the national health law. The HHS secretary also responded to criticism that she’s been involved in the collection of funds from private sources — like health care and insurance providers — via the not-for-profit organization Enroll America.
Sebelius had this to say:
“Enroll America is not a creation of mine. Continue reading
It’s not exactly laugh-your-guts-out-TV, but rather a friendly, earnest discussion about the ins and outs of the new health law with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
(Example: As Sebelius gets into the weeds of the new “80/20 rule,” or “the pathway to 80 cents,” referring to the law’s provision that insurers must spend 80 cents of every dollar on health benefits — as opposed to CEO salary and overhead — Stewart responds that hearing her talk this way make him think: “We need to get you out more on weekends, to movies…They’re killing you down there”). She holds her own, though. Here’s the full interview:
(Thanks to Martha Bebinger for pointing it out.)