Kathleen Sebelius Gets Roasted By Jon StewartBy: Tobias Roth - October 8, 2013
Kathleen Sebelius is the Health and Human Services Secretary, and as a result of Obamacare recently going into effect, she has been put on the hot seat with Jon Stewart. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart certainly has a reputation of teasing and poking fun at celebrities, politicians, and all sorts of other issues in our culture, and this episode was no different. He pressures her on the difficult questions of the program throughout the show, and made it very difficult for her to respond.
Stewart opened the show with a very funny challenge that he offered to Sebelius, saying “I’m gonna try to download every movie ever made, and you’re going to try to sign up for Obamacare and we’ll see what happens first.” This line, of course, was received with great laughs from the audience. Stewart is a liberal and as he appeals to a liberal audience, he also brought up the fact that the Affordable Care Act is not aggressive enough, and in fact the single-payer option would be the way to go, in his opinion.
He began by teasing her about how incredibly slow the federal online health insurance marketplace has been, since its release last week. Obamacare launched last week on October 1st on the same day that the government shut down. She appeared on The Daily Show in order to talk about the program and promote healthcare.gov, which is the the website and health insurance marketplace established as part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Stewart continued to challenge her and the glitches of the presentation of the new website. Sebelius was continually forced to backfire at Stewart’s vicious questions and noted that a large majority of employers already provide insurance, and that government subsidies are going to be available for many individuals to help buy insurance. He questioned her and pointed out the numerous technical glitches that exist within the site, citing the issue that existed when the site crashed because of the large amount of people that were trying to log on to the site. This is also a testament to the interest that people have in the program, which is a contrast to the many people who claim that Obamacare will be such a harmful program to Americans.
Sebelius went through the general talking points of the Affordable Care Act throughout the interview, and was stopped at one point when Stewart asked her if she knew how many people had signed up. She explained to Jon Stewart and his audience that she is not able to give a clear example of how many people are fully enrolled. Regarding his aggressive line of questioning, Stewart said “It feels like it’s frustrating to have to defend something that’s less than ideal or is functioning at a level of incompetence that is larger than it should be.” He also criticized the fact that businesses were granted exemptions for one year from the program, but those same delays were not provided to individuals.
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