A grilling on the Hill over Obamacare

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks about the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act on July 11, 2012 in Washington, DC.

Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, spent three uncomfortable hours on Capitol Hill today. She was grilled over the well-documented problems with the Healthcare.Gov website and why some people’s policies have been canceled.

Sarah Kliff is the health policy reporter for the Washington Post. She suggests the President probably shouldn’t have promised that if you like your health insurance, you’d get to keep it.

“These cancellations – they’re not a bug of the Affordable Care Act. They’re actually a key feature,” Kliff says. She adds that these policies probably didn’t cover certain things now deemed essential like prescriptions or pregnancy or mental health care. She says the insurance companies were basically told, “you can’t offer these policies that don’t cover these benefits we think are essential."

Kliff dismisses the idea that Sebelius would be forced to resign over this. She says confirming a replacement would probably be too difficult in the current political climate.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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So, it's a lot like automobiles. Back in the day, the government mandated that new cars needed to have seat belts. If you bought a new car a part of the price included the cost of the seat belt. You paid for the seat belt even if you didn't use it. There was a certain amount of complaining about the increased cost of a car from people who wanted to buy the same kind of car they always had, i.e. without seat belts. But in our hearts we all knew that it was a good idea. We all recognized that seat belts were good for the general welfare. It's the same now with health care. Having all policies cover more situations as a minimum is good the the general welfare.

While it is true that young men cannot get pregnant, as a group they are at greater risk of injury than young women because they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors and more likely to drive fast and under the influence of alcohol. Moreover, it takes two to tango and marriage is not a necessary precursor to fathering a child. There are not too many immaculate conceptions occurring these days and I could be wrong but pregnancy resulting from artificial means are not necessarily covered by insurance.
For older women such as myself, I may have breasts, but I'm not likely to get prostate cancer.

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