Sebelius Says Texas Politics Screwed Up Obamacare
The Affordable Care Act has been rolled out, the insurance enrollment website went live and it's had a lot of snags in the process. Hair Balls will bet no one knows that better than U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
She's been out on tour, promoting Obamacare while simultaneously trying to make up for the website problems that are leading many to call the roll-out a failure, and she even swung through Austin and San Antonio. She was also apparently out on the road to assign blame.
The failure has left Sebelius in the political crosshairs -- many are asking whether or not she should keep her gig in the wake of the website problems -- but Sebelius isn't taking it all on herself. Nope, while some fault may lie with Sebelius, she's lodging a great deal of the initial failure of Obamacare with Texas and the political machinations in play against the law.
"It's unfortunate that it is still being conducted as a political campaign and not as the law," she said in an interview with the Texas Tribune. "This is no longer a political debate; it's the law of the land."
She acknowledged that Texas, the state with the most uninsured residents in the nation, is key to the success of the law. It's a tricky thing to have Lone Star State cooperation be a key component to success when entire political careers (read: Sen Ted Cruz) are being launched into the stratosphere by opposing the Affordable Care Act.
Thousands of Texans who buy their own insurance may have to go without as insurance companies get rid of existing policies and the state prepares to close the high-risk insurance pool. At the same time, Gov. Rick Perry declined to set up a state-run market for insurance or to expand Medicaid so a huge portion of people may not be covered as the program gets going, according to the Texas Tribune. Even the Texas politicians like Sen. Wendy Davis who are in favor of the program have expressed concerns about the problems that could come with it.
In the meantime, Sebelius seems to be juggling getting the website running and not losing her job. When people like Bill Dale, former White House chief of staff, start comparing you to the captain of a doomed ocean-liner that's not good.
"To me that's kind of like firing Captain Smith on the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. It's not going to do much right now," Dale told CBS last week.
We're thinking in Sebelius's version of this scenario -- and probably Perry's and Cruz's too -- Texas is the iceberg.