President Did Not Know, Claims Sebelius, as Administration Goes Full Sgt. Schultz on Obamacare


President Obama
White House

It may be his signature policy achievement. It may even be nicknamed after him, But the woes besetting the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, were supposedly a mystery to him until days after the exhanges launched at the beginning of October—or so claims Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. In the days, weeks, and months leading to the debut of this massive transformation of the U.S. health care system, he knew nothing about looming problems.

Well, Barack Obama is a hands-off guy, don't you know? Apparently, he's relaxed a tad since developing a  reputation as a micromanager.

Speaking to CNN's Sanjay Gupta, Sebelius engaged in the following somewhat difficult-to-believe conversation:

SEBELIUS: Nobody says the site is working the way we want it to. Certainly, the president acknowledged yesterday no one could be more frustrated than I am and this isn't smooth. People are signing up every day. People have available coverage and no one, I think it's important to say, Sanjay, is losing coverage now. The earliest the plans start is January 1st. If you sign up by the 15th of December, you will have coverage on day one. So, people are frustrated with a website, but the product is there. The prices are good. It will not sellout and the prices won't change.

GUPTA: The president did say that he was angry about this. I mean, do you know when he first knew that there was a problem?

SEBELIUS: Well, I think it became clear fairly early on, the first couple of days

GUPTA: So not before that though?


Hmmm….So President Obama knew nothing about the exchanges crashing under the stress of a few hundred testers days before the formal launch?

The president knew nothing about insurance companies warning against launching the Website nationally a month before the disastrous debut?

Barry knew nothing about federal and state officials urging that the launch be delayed even as costs tripled?

What are the chances that president knows his signature achievement is projected to hike health premiums in 45 states while simultaneously slashing access to physicians and hospitals?

Sgt. Schultz was omniscient compared to this country's chief political seat-warmer. Or, more likely, his political protectors calculate that letting the boss come off as an uninvolved slacker is less damaging than permitting him to take responsibility for a policy mess.

NEXT: What Should Republicans Do if the Obamacare Exchange Proves Beyond Repair?

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  1. Is this really an acceptable excuse? The President is a poor executive and didn’t get appropriate status updates on his signature project? Well, I sure am glad we brought him back for a 2nd term.

    1. I’ve always been a bit perplexed as to why this is his go-to cop out as well. Is ignorance superior to incompetence? At some point, isn’t the distinction between the two lost?

      1. You gotta play this game with fear and ignorance.

    2. Guess he should resign, huh, since he isn’t even a competent administrator?

  2. Do you think that when she was a little girl, Kathleen Sebelius dreamed of throwing herself under the bus for a bungling, incompetent President of the United States?

    1. But these women who advance their careers by covering for powerful men are the true feminists.

    2. I think she probably dreamed of becoming an abortion doctor at a free public clinic, but was too stupid to pass the MCAT

    3. I would guess that she dreamed of being some sort of SS officer in a new and more evil Nazi regime.

  3. President Not My Fault strikes again.

    1. I thought he was President The Buck Never Stops Here.

  4. If only someone had told Comrade Stalin that the Kulaks had sabotaged grain production, the Ukraine wouldn’t have starved!

    Comrade Stalin didn’t know!

    1. As well they should have, since Reagan was old and white and played for the other team.

    2. Used to? Why, I still see satire of Nixon, Reagan and Bush on a very regular basis.

  5. It’s such a shame that we have the right TOP MEN to devise these grand schemes but we can’t ever find the right TOP MEN to implement them. I’m beginning to lose my previously stalwart faith in both grand schemes and TOP MEN for some reason.

    1. I once compared grand schemes to Klein bottles. The true believers in the grand schemes didn’t appreciate that.

      1. A mathematician named Klein
        Thought the M?bius band was divine.
        Said he: “If you glue
        The edges of two,
        You’ll get a weird bottle like mine.”
        ~ Leo Moser

  6. Obamacare, recall, was sold with a specific set of political promises: The new regime, advocates insisted, would reduce the deficit, cover the needy, and reduce total health spending ? all while lowering the premiums of those who were already insured. Back in 2007, when Obama was running for the Democratic nomination, he introduced what was then an embryonic proposal with the quixotic assurance that, “if you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums.” Then he adumbrated what would happen to the “amount of money” that Americans would “spend on premiums.” “That will be less,” Obama told anybody who would listen.


    This is a disaster for the Progs. They oversold it. People expected this to make their lives better and their health care cheaper. By over selling it and passing it over so much opposition, they ensured that they now own health care and are thus likely to be blamed for every problem.

    A lot of what I call soft liberals, people who are liberal because that is the easy cultural thing to be and who rely on the MSM for their news, are going to be really disillusioned and angry about this. Not every liberal is an angry retarded Prog demanding single payer. A lot of them are just rubes who don’t know any better. Well, the rubes are about to get an education.

    1. But they won’t get an education. Rubes are easily fooled again and again and again. This time, it won’t be different.

      1. This. Lots of things should have been disasters for the progs but weren’t. If a massive cockup like American K-12 education hasn’t taught the rubes, what will?

        1. But that cock up only affected poor people. The middle class and the rich like their schools. And no one gives a shit that poor people have lousy schools. If the progs ever fuck up the middle class and rich schools, that would be a disaster. Screwing over the poor never has any consequences. And that is mostly what the progs have done in the last 100 years.

          They have always been smart enough to never really fuck over the middle class and rich, at least not until now.

        2. In what sense is American K-12 education a massive cockup? It’s not THAT bad.

          1. If you don’t live in an inner city, no it is not. The progs cocked up poor and minority schools, not middle class and wealthy white ones. Those are just great.

        3. “If a massive cockup like American K-12 [PUBLIC] education hasn’t taught the rubes, what will?”



      2. I’m inclined to think that this may be a special case because, to quote the Vice President, it’s a big fucking deal.

        The media touted it, it was all over the news the past two years, PSAs are running in all 50 states encouraging sign ups.

        If this continues to fail massively this should be a turkey shoot for the Republicans.

        1. As I said above, all of the Prog fuck ups in the past have screwed over the poor. Just because the typical low information middle class liberal didn’t notice or care about that does not mean they are going to be okay with this.

        2. Turkey shooot indeed. The Republicans will ave all the ammunition they need to rout the Democrats. So the GOP will form a circular firing squad and…

      3. That is where you are wrong. The rubes have gotten over pretty well so far. The prog fuck ups have resulted in a debt crisis that the Fed has papered over and a bunch of programs that were disasters for the poor. But the typical suburban liberal has sailed on unaffected. That is about to end.

        For hating the progs and the programs they have created so much, you guys really have a very poor understanding of how those programs actually work and who they affect.

        1. Maybe you have more faith in humanity than I do, but I don’t see this changing anything. They’ll say everything would have worked fine if not for Republican obstructionism. They’ll say Obama meant well. They’ll say the mess will get even messier if we allow the evil kkkorporashuns to run around without regulations. They’ll double down on the stupid bullshit they’ve been saying for years because doubling down is all they know how to do.

          1. I don’t have faith in humanity at all. But I do know that people are more likely to support something when they don’t think it is going to cost them personally. And people are definitely inclined to believe bullshit about what is going on with other people. It is very easy to be a liberal and care about the uninsured when you personally are not paying for it.

            For what you are saying to be true, the middle class is going to have to say “sure my health care is worse and my insurance rates are much more expensive, but that is okay because we need to make Obamacare work and we need to help the uninsured.” Maybe people are that altruistic. But my bet is they are not that way at all and once it affects them personally all of the appeals to compassion and guilt and such that have worked for the Progs for so long are going to go right out the window. People are going to demand their health care back.

            You are assuming every liberal is a committed Prog. And that I know is not true. Most liberals are low information go along and get along, I just want to feel good about myself, suburbanites. And those types of people are not going to take a cut in their standard of living sitting down. They are just not. Their reasons for being liberal are too shallow and thus their commitment to it not dedicated enough to do that.

            1. I see your point about go along get along voters, but I still don’t think this will be the end of the road for progressives or even Obamacare. Instead of repealing anything, the solution will be more government interference. For example, if you spent $4000 to insure your family in 2013 and it costs $6000 in 2014, here’s a nice check from the government for $2000. The go along get along voters will stop complaining so much and barely notice their income taxes went up $1500 and their FICA takes went up another $1500 to cover that $2000 check.

              1. It is not going to be the end of the road for the Progs. No political cause is ever won or lost. But I think it is going to radically affect their credibility and people’ faith in government.

                And those people are not going to get those checks. Very few people, and no one in the middle class is eligible for the subsidies. Those checks are not coming and they won’t be. Even the Fed can’t print enough money to send the entire middle class a $2000 a year check to cover their insurance. That is not happening.

                What is going to happen more than likely is that the worst parts of Obamacare are going to be repealed. The mandate, the requirement to cover pre-existing conditions and the regulations requiring all of the extra coverage will be repealled along with the medical device tax and the “Cadillac insurance” plan tax will be repealed. The Dems will do that themselves because their own constituents will demand it.

                They will fix the system just enough to keep people from revolting but keep just enough of Obamacare to be able to lie and say they never repealed their signature act. And then system will continue to stagger on.

              2. Remember when $3/gallon gas was a big deal? Not so much anymore. People get used to the yoke of oppression pretty quickly, and have extremely short attention spans…

                Hey, look, a squirrel…

                1. But that raise in gas prices is less than this though. Gas is cheaper now, adjusted for inflation than it was in the 1960s.

    2. They didn’t oversell it, they just “didn’t know” what the consequences would be.
      They will have a hearing, it will be shown that Kathy is lying to the press, she will blame underlings for her not knowing that the President knew. And she will retire. MOVE THE FUCK ON, PEOPLE!

      1. What difference does it make? You should have had better insurance to start with and then maybe your new Obama policy wouldn’t be such a rate hike.

        Maybe punitive “go fuck yourself if you don’t like it” liberalism will sell the way “don’t you care about poor people and aren’t you tolerant” liberalism sold. But I kind of doubt it.

    3. until D-voters hold Ds accountable, Ds will go on being Ds.

    4. Man, you’re still saying this time will be different, huh?

      Sure, alot of people will be pissed, but the media and popular culture will spin this as the fault of the greedy insurance companies and evil teabagging libertarian anarchists.

      Come on man, look at employment for one example. Remember the jobless recovery under Bush when u.e. was at 4.7% and the rich ere getting richer?
      After 5 years of Obama we’re still over 7%, and nobody one talks about that or the labor participation rate. Instead we here about how we didn’t spend enough and about how great the stock market is doing.

      1. And look at Obama’s approval rating and the polls regarding how people view the direction of the country. The people know full well the economy is shit. The polls show that. If they were as dumb as you say they are, the polls would show that a majority of the country think the economy is good and headed in the right direction. People do believe their lying eyes occasionally.

        The question is does that translate into them punishing the Dems. We will see. But even with all of the propaganda you speak about, the Dems still didn’t take back the House in 2012 did they? People may have wanted to send Obama back and feel good about voting for the black guy and feel like they were voting for the man who cared about them, but they were not exactly buying the whole Dem brand.

        In the end, you are arguing that the Dems will never be held accountable for anything ever. And if that were true, the would still own the House and 59 votes in the Senate or at the very least have taken the House back and gotten back to close to 59 Senate seats in 2012. But that didn’t happen.

        The media and popular culture can only spin things if people are not paying much attention or don’t have very strong opinions about it. If they could do more than that, we would have national gun control and amnesty. When people are really angry and are paying attention even the media can’t spin it. I mean seriously, if people were as gullible as you say, Newtown would have resulted in gun control.

  7. Look, the POTUS meant well. He really did want you to keep your doctor and your healtcare plan, and for you to save money on health care. Isn’t that what really matters? And also, he isn’t like normal people, he’s above all of the little stuff like how things are supposed to work, that’s for the little people. And the little people didn’t do what comrade numero uno commanded them to do. So basically, it’s the fault of everyone, except for him.

  8. “..no one could be more frustrated than I am…”

    No one.

    including the millions of people who’ve lost employer coverage and now face premiums eating deeply into their disposable income. After having voted for a guy promising ‘affordable care’. They are not frustrated. No. They are suffering nobly.

    1. You know what’s funny? Coach Schiano said almost the same thing about the Bucs’ weird losing streak.

    2. I love that “I am really upset too” dodge. As if it is too your credit you care that things are going badly. That is kind of expected I thought.

      1. That was his speech. I’m mad as hell and my anger means that I’m upset. It better get fixed, or I’ll continue to be very angry, very angry indeed.

        1. “I’m just like you!! How did this shit happen?! Let’s find some ass to kick and get on this motherfucker!”

          Its not anyone’s ‘fault’, see. Something got fucked up because it was supposed to work.

        2. He always talks like he is still campaigning. So if you listen to it closely you can forget he is President. If you didn’t know any better, you would think this all happened under Bush and he just got sworn in and now intends to fix it.

          1. Hey, he campaigned against and beat the incumbent last time.

            1. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
              ? Maya Angelou

              Donkey strategy in a nutshell

  9. Can we just send Sgt. OGL to the Russian Front and be done with it?

  10. Mr. Tucille, I must object to your comparison of Sgt. Schultz to President Obama. Mr. Schultz had ample successful business experience (he had been Germany’s largest toy manufacturer prior to the war) and almost certainly was neither incompetent nor malevolent. He wasn’t passing the buck with his claim of ignorance, but was acknowledging that, under the circumstances, no honest response was workable.

    1. I had forgotten that Schultz was actually rich and successful. Kind of makes him a lot smarter than he appeared, doesn’t it?

      1. Yeah. A good lawyer could almost certainly make the case that Schultz was cooperating with Allied efforts to depose the Nazi regime.

        1. Why not? It’s clearly the truth. I mean, I remember the show well enough to know that he knew they were running a spy operation out of the camp.

  11. You know, Barack Obama might just be the dumbest politician to ever get elected President.

    Regardless of the lies told here by Sebelius even if he didn’t know how bad off they were he had to know that they were massively behind schedule and not ready.

    Then along comes the Republican Party demanding he delay implementation, exactly what he needs to prevent a Fiasco. Then rather than negotiate a “tough settlement” to keep the government funded in which he gets something in exchange for giving in to their demands to delay implementation by a year he decides to hold the line to score short term brownie points letting them take the blame for shutting the government down. Which he then had to go and screw up and be a dick about costing his own party nearly as much as it cost the Republicans.

    1. Of course. The smart political gambit was to offer up a mandate delay to save himself and his party from this clusterfuck (or, at least, to delay it to post-midterms), looking all statesmanlike while actually getting what he wanted and maybe taking the GOP for a ride on tax increases, spending increases, whatever.

      He may try to do this in the next set of impending negotiations, but the problem is that he’s handed the GOP the upper hand. They can do nothing and watch this thing give them huge wins in both houses. Just because of the negative effects of this one law, I bet they get close to a veto-proof majority. Not to mention that some Dems will break ranks on some votes if things get bad enough.

    2. A competant leader would have assessed the situation and taken the best of the available bad options. But Obama is not a competant leader. He seems incapable of thinking long term or beyond the current crisis. He has no imagination. What Obama saw was a shutdown the the political gain to be had from that. He never thought beyond to “okay what then”. Doing that would require knowing the details and acting on more than spite and impulse. And that is just not what he does. I believe Sibileus here. I bet he had no idea what was going on. Why would he? The details of things don’t interest him. I am sure he knew it wasn’t going well. But he either wasn’t told or didn’t listen when they told him the details. So, he figured that he could just order them to work faster and put some pressure on them and they would get it done. It never occurred to him that the program was in this much trouble. He would have had to been paying attention to know that.

      1. A competent leader would have assessed the situation and taken the best of the available bad options. But Valerie Jarrett is not a competent leader.


      2. I also wonder whether his staff might have downplayed the problems, or at least screened him from the details and extent, because they feared the consequences of telling him — both pissing him off and earning additional scrutiny. That’s a pretty common problem for autocratic leaders to face.

    3. I think you may have hit on something there. I think he knew that implementation was going to be a disaster, even if it they had another year. And this kind of disaster in October 2014 could’ve destroyed the Dems in the midterms.

  12. President Notmyfault strikes again.

  13. Governor Sebelius, I should have expected to find you holding Obama’s leash.

  14. “the product is there. The prices are good. It will not sellout and the prices won’t change.”

    Its amazing how they talk about ‘insurance’ as though it may in theory be a finite resource (but not when WE sell it!), and that market forces like “prices” are things they are completely immune from.

    Because “affordable” means we subsidize excess costs above market rate.

  15. “Sgt. Schultz was omniscient compared to this country’s chief political seat-warmer”

    Pretty much any object having mass is omnisicient – rocks, trees, last nights garbage, etc. – compared to Obozo.

    Well, except for Nancy Pelosi.

  16. Like the IRS and Benghazi and Fast & Furious, his underlings will sacrifice themselves to save him. I can’t see anything in him that would inspire such loyalty.

    1. It’s fear and ignorance.

  17. What we need is a good photo of a Cabinet meeting with Obama electronically removed (a la the empty chair)? Any providers?

  18. I for one find it entirely credible that Obama sails through his days serenely untroubled by goings-on out in the real world.

  19. I am not sure if his motto is, “The buck stops there”, or, “What, me worry?”

  20. I’m surprised that Our Lord and Savior Barack H. Obama Jr. haven’t try to blame this on George W. Bush, like everything else.

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