It happened again yesterday on Capitol Hill. No, it wasn't a rerun. Just more of the same from the Republicans who hate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care.
Another Obamacare hearing was held that showcased the Republican displeasure over the law, in an unfair manner since Republicans control the House and control the hearing process. The witness once again was Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius, a favorite target of Republicans and to them a symbol of all that is wrong with Obamacare.
In the other corner was Illinois Republican Rep. John Shimkus, who again is tangling with Sebelius over Obamacare and abortion coverage.
Shimkus repeated his previous question, "Madame Secretary, you promised last time you were here that you would provide me a national list of those who cover and those who do not cover abortion and abortion services."
Shimkus made the request during a subcommittee hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. As if for emphasis, Shimkus repeated, "We have yet to receive that list. We need that list, Madame Secretary."
During an Oct. 30 hearing, Shimkus requested a list of insurers on the federal exchange that do not offer abortion coverage as part of their plans. Sebelius, at the time, said, "I think we can do that."
But this time Sebelius pointed out to Shimkus that "every plan lists plan benefits and the one plan benefit that they must list by law is abortion services, so as a shopper goes on, I would highly recommend that they look in the plan benefits section…"
When Rep. Shimkus pressed further pointing out that he had examples of summary of benefits documents that do not indicate whether or not abortion is covered, she replied "It is on the website…it is available…"
That was around the time that Shimkus — after pushing another line of questioning about whether the law’s preventive care services are actually free, since they’re factored into people’s premiums — muttered that talking to Sebelius was "like talking to the Republic of Korea."
Shimkus was attempting to get Sebelius to admit that the cost of providing preventive services under the Affordable Care Act will raise insurance premiums. But she was not buying it, arguing instead that preventive services lower costs.
"You cannot say these preventive services are, quote unquote, free of charge, can you?" said a openly hostile Shimkus.
But Sebelius would have none of it from Shimkus. "They are free to the consumer, yes, sir." Shimkus then feigned disbelief. "There is no free lunch, Madam Secretary."
Sebelius tried to point out actuarial estimates of the benefits of preventive care.
"All right, all right. I got it," Shimkus said before allowing Sebelius to finish. "We're going to have to agree to disagree," he added as he added, "It's like talking to -- the Republic of Korea or something." The assumption is Shimkus meant North Korea, since South Korea is a close ally of the United States.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) jumped into the fray and came to Sebelius’s defense and told Shimkus to let her answer.
Shimkus refused and apparently felt he didn't have to be fair, since his sense of fairness is smaller than his hatred for Obama and Obamacare.
"I do not have to allow . . ., " Shimkus said rolling his eyes.
America is also rolling its eyes.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African American studies, published by The Elevator Group, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns.