Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appeared Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to testify on the disastrous implementation of Obamacare.
And some are calling Sebelius’ appearance before Congress, her first since healthcare.gov went live on Oct. 1, a total disaster. In fact, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer characterized her testimony as “mortifying.”
The hearing was filled with notable outbursts from congressmen, sarcastic remarks, and heated exchanges, resulting in a visibly exasperated Sebelius failing entirely to convince lawmakers that the White House has Obamacare under control.
Here are the five strangest moments from Sebelius’ Wednesday hearing (in no particular order):
5. I’m Not Dead Yet
Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) made everyone uncomfortable Wednesday when he jokingly said he may not live long enough to see the Obamacare implementation issues resolved. The 90-year-old later said he was kidding around — but only after the situation had become thoroughly awkward for everyone involved:
4. Men Can’t Have Babies
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) insisted Wednesday that the secretary explain why Obamacare includes a provision forcing men to purchase maternity coverage.
“[M]en are required to purchase maternity coverage,” said Ellmers.
“Well, an insurance policy has a series of benefits whether you use them or not –” Sebelius started.
“And that is why health care premiums are increasing, because we are forcing them to buy things that they will never need. Thank you,” Ellmers said.
“The individual policies cover families. Men often do need maternity care for their spouses and for their families, yes.”
“A single male, aged 32, does need maternity coverage. To the best of your knowledge, has a man ever delivered a baby?”
“I don’t think so.”
The room erupted in laughter:
In an attempt to see if the so-called “buck” does indeed end with the president, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) repeatedly tried to get Sebelius to concede Obama is responsible for the implementation failures.
“No sir, [my department is] responsible,” Sebelius said. “He’s the president of the United States. I have given him regular reports. I am responsible for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”
Harper again tried to get Sebelius to say the president should be held responsible for the failed rollout of his health care law.
A flustered Sebelius eventually threw up her arms and said, “Whatever,” before repeating that she takes responsibility to the site’s failures.
2. Don’t Do This To Me
After a contentious exchange with Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), a visibly exasperated Sebelius could be heard saying, “Don’t do this to me”:
Sebelius’ remark followed a heated back-and-forth with Long over whether she planned to enroll in Obamacare.
The “hot mic” moment, as noted earlier by TheBlaze, was most likely the product of an exchange between Sebelius and a colleague. However, it’s still unclear whether the remark was meant for her aide or for a U.S. lawmaker.
Here’s the entire exchange:
1. Why Aren’t You Enrolled? Also, Keg Stands!
Congressman Long wasn’t the only lawmaker to question Sebelius over her failure to enroll in Obamacare; Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) did the exact same thing.
“Why aren’t you losing your health insurance? Why aren’t you in the exchange?” he asked.
Sebelius inaccurately claimed that she is not eligible to enroll. She is indeed eligible. She’s just not eligible for specific subsidies.
“I went into the exchange. You could decide to drop your coverage of your employer. You have the choice,” Gardner pressed.
“That is not true, sir,” the secretary responded. “If I have affordable coverage in my workplace, I am not eligible to go into the workplace.”
“With all due respect,” he said, “I would encourage you to be just like the American people and enter the exchange and agree to find a way to do that.”
This prompted applause from members of the gallery:
Gardner then had his staff bring out a copy of a “Brosurance” Obamacare ad featuring three individuals performing a keg stand.
The Colorado congressman asked Sebelius if she thought the ad was an appropriate way to encourage Americans to enroll in Obamacare.
The secretary, for her part, responded by saying she couldn’t see the ad and then later pointed out HHS had nothing to do with it:
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This post has been updated.