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The AP’s ‘Fact Checker’ Happily Lies For Sebelius

From an outrageously mendacious Associated Press:

FACT CHECK: GOP asks Sebelius for the impossible

By CALVIN WOODWARD | October 30, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — Here’s what some Republicans want to know: If Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius thinks the new health insurance marketplace is going to be so great, why doesn’t she get her own coverage from it? The answer is straightforward enough: She can’t.

Republicans would not take "I’m not eligible" or "It’s illegal" for an answer Wednesday when they questioned Sebelius at a House hearing about why she won’t drop her existing coverage and sign up for insurance under the new markets, called exchanges…

A look at the back and forth, with underlying facts [sic]:

REP. CORY GARDNER, R-Colo.: "You’re in charge of this law, correct? Why aren’t you in the exchange?"
SEBELIUS: "Because I’m part of the federal employee health benefit plan. … I’m not eligible for the exchange."
GARDNER: "You can decide to drop your coverage of your employer. You have the choice to decide not to choose …" …
SEBELIUS: "Not true, sir."
GARDNER: "I would encourage you to be just like the American people and enter the exchange and agree to find a way …"
SEBELIUS: "It’s illegal." …

THE FACTS: Sebelius and other administration officials, like the great majority of insured Americans, get coverage through their workplace, not the individual marketplace that is to be served by the health insurance exchanges. As long as existing employer coverage is deemed affordable, the law doesn’t allow employees to drop it and sign up in the exchanges.

It’s that simple…

This is an outrageous lie, even by the AP’s standards. You just can’t get a subsidy if you turn down ‘affordable employee coverage.’ But you can still sign up for insurance through the exchanges.

However, according to other reports, Ms. Sebelius is also enrolled in Medicare Part A. Which would prevent her from enrolling in Obama-Care. Of course, she could easily drop her Medicare Part A coverage, too, if she wanted to. (As has Mitt Romney and many others.)

But, clearly, Sebelius doesn’t even know the law she is supposed in charge of. How many times does Obama-Care say "as the Secretary shall determine"? And yet she appears to be completely ignorant of the most basic things about it, including its eligibility requirements.

Meanwhile, even the laughable ‘fact checking’ hacks at Politifact were able to get this one right:

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says ‘it’s illegal’ for her to use the health insurance exchange

"If I have affordable coverage in my workplace, I’m not eligible to go into the marketplace. … It’s illegal." – Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 in testimony before Congress…

We went right to the source on this one, asking the Department of Health and Human Services if Sebelius misspoke. It turns out she did.

You see? She just "misspoke" when she lied about the law she is in charge of. Numerous times.

Individuals who have health insurance through their employer can sign up for the online marketplaces, it’s just not financially beneficial for most to do so. If an individual forgoes affordable insurance through work, he or she won’t qualify for subsidies to help pay for insurance on the government-run marketplaces.

And never mind that Sebelius wouldn’t qualify for any subsidies, anyway.

A spokeswoman for the department said Sebelius meant to say, "Marketplace plans cannot be sold to a Medicare enrollee, and the secretary is a Medicare enrollee."

[A]ccording to guidelines released Oct. 4 by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, "it is illegal to knowingly sell or issue a Qualified Health Plan to a Medicare beneficiary" on the government-run insurance marketplaces…

Hypothetically, Sebelius could abandon her government health care plan and get out of Medicare Part A. But that would require her to revoke and forfeit her Social Security benefits for the rest of her life, something we can’t envision anyone volunteering to do…

Er, Mitt Romney did it. In fact, a lot of people opt out of Medicare.

Our ruling

It’s pretty clear Sebelius was wrong when she said "it’s illegal" for her to buy insurance on the exchange because she already has affordable insurance through her employer. Those inclined to do so certainly can, though the financial incentives to stay with the employer-based plan are quite convincing.

We rate her statement Pants on Fire.

But of course the Associated Press was willing to lie their heads off to protect her.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, October 31st, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “The AP’s ‘Fact Checker’ Happily Lies For Sebelius”

  1. captstubby

    a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

    Winston Churchill

    every day the confusion in this Puzzle of a LAW / TAX is
    “snowballing” (A snowball may also be a large ball of snow formed by rolling a smaller snowball on a snow-covered surface. The smaller snowball grows by picking up additional snow as it rolls)
    to where NO one has a clue what it is.
    as it was designed to be.

  2. Hey gang, Thank God we have Steve checking the checkers. The readers of this site are probably the only few in this country who know what’s really true, all thanks to Mr. Gilbert.

    A tip of my hat to you sir.

  3. Petronius

    SG: “being over 65, Sebelius is not even in the federal employees program. She is in Medicare.”

    She is probably enrolled in both, in which case Medicare is her primary insurance and the FEP is her secondary insurance.

    It is not “illegal” for Sebelius to waive her FEP insurance plan. The FEP plan is not mandatory. However, it is a pretty good deal because the government pays about 60 percent of the cost (the remainder is paid by the government employee through payroll deductions).

    Furthermore, why should it be “illegal” for someone on Medicare to buy secondary insurance through the exchanges?

    • Steve

      Thanks Petronius. I actually had corrected my first post, but for some reason (glitches?) my revisions didn’t take.

  4. canary

    Steve is correct. AP’s factcheck is an outrageous lie. Sebelius does not have to get health insurance with the FEHB, not stay out of the exchange.

    Also, FOX Megan Kelley is covering this a lot, and I think a special at 9:00 Eastern time tonight. But, last night she had a guest from DC area, who said she was asked her income and given a policy on the internet that did not tell her any details such as allowances, deductible, and directed her to call a phone number and give her reference number when she had not been given any reference number.
    Anchor Megan Kelley said they checked out at least one insurer that has a sketchy background, and how difficult it is for people to check out the companies reliability before they choose an insurer.
    Obama told DC College students it was easy to compare them on site and put them side by side.
    A key to a reliable insurer would be how long they’ve been in business or how much money they have to pay out. I think our representatives should insist that all 37 names and policies of the insurers be available to the citizens.

  5. captstubby

    its probably just a hack in your registry leftover from the NSA spying.

    but this also reminds me…
    (oh no, here he go’s again.)
    of a similar occurrence many years ago that could be used by Jay over at the White House to explain
    recent “weird” on line problems.

    “gremlin”

    denoting a mischievous creature that sabotages aircraft.
    This concept of gremlins was popularized during World War II among airmen of the UK’s RAF units
    The flight crews blamed gremlins for otherwise inexplicable accidents which sometimes occurred during their flights. Gremlins were also thought at one point to have enemy sympathies, but investigations revealed that enemy aircraft had similar and equally inexplicable mechanical problems. As such, gremlins were portrayed as being equal opportunity tricksters, taking no sides in the conflict, and acting out their mischief from their own self-interest.
    In reality, the gremlins were a form of “buck passing” or deflecting blame.

    happy halloween.




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