Kathleen Sebelius, the former Kansas governor and insurance commissioner who headed the Department of Health and Human Services under President Obama at the time the Affordable Care Act was passed, conceded — after a fashion — that some people might be better off under the Republican health-care bill that passed the House this week:
‘If you’re young. If you’re wealthy. And if you’re healthy.’
Having health insurance, Sebelius allowed in a Saturday-afternoon interview with MSNBC, does not ensure one’s access to health care, but not having coverage, she said, is a virtual guarantee of not receiving sufficient care.
Rep. Tom Reed, facing constituent heat over his vote this week for the Republican health-care bill at a set of Saturday town halls in New York state, downplayed the specific criticism he and fellow Republicans have faced over bringing the legislation to the House floor before it had been “scored” by the Congressional Budget Office.
In a cable-news interview, he characterized the economists and budget analysts at the nonpartisan CBO as bean counters.
He went on to tell MSNBC, which credited him repeatedly with apparently being the sole Republican to schedule town halls this weekend, that he wanted to be able to look voters in the face and say he was part of the effort to move U.S. health care in the right direction. Arguing that the House-passed bill was, in his view, an improvement on the Affordable Care Act, he said he’d let the politics take care of themselves.
The pure politics of the issue were more front and center as Speaker Paul Ryan’s press secretary, AshLee Strong, called out “the ‘tolerant’ left” for “swearing at [her]” and making it more difficult for the media to reach her with inquiries. Also on Twitter, she argued that two past scorings by the CBO of Republican plans for repealing and replacing Obamacare ought to suffice.
At the Berkshire Hathaway
annual meeting in Omaha, Neb., meanwhile, Warren Buffett colorfully, if menacingly, depicted ever-rising medical costs as “the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness.”
Echoing Sebelius’s point about those prospectively advantaged under the House Republicans’ health-care bill, Buffett said that, if that bill were to become law, his own costs, as one of the planet’s wealthiest people, would be 17% lower.