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Kathleen Sebelius’ Incoherent Defense of Obamacare’s Design on The Daily Show

When pressed on the Daily Show why Democrats went with a Rube Goldberg health care plan instead of single-payer, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ incoherent defense was that tje Republicans called even this “market based” plan super socialism.

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Sebelius sarcastically responded to Stewart’s question about single-payer by saying, “As you know we are facing the end of Western Civilization by having a market based strategy. We are bringing Western Civilization to its knees by selling private insurance plans on a website where people pick and choose.”

I have heard this same basic argument made by several defenders of Obamacare. The point is “look at how badly Republicans flipped out over this conservative law, so imagine how bad they would have flipped out over single-payer.” The problem is this argument makes no sense because, as Sebelius points out, the Republicans already turned their freakout dial to 11. They can’t going any higher. There is nothing worse than the end of “Western Civilization.”

This is not an argument against going to single-player, this is an argument for why you should have gone for single-payer. If the Republicans are going to completely freak out regardless, there is no reason to compromise. The political response from the GOP will be the same.

This highlights why the Democrats are having such a hard time selling the law. Early on they chose to go with bad design to buy off the big industry lobbyists, but they planned to blame the bad design on needing to get Republican votes for a great compromise. When Republican refused to play along it left Democrats holding the bag. Democrats had pro-lobbyists laws, but they don’t want to publicly say they made the law needlessly complex to make lobbyists happy. So the administration is still trying to use the original excuse they planned — even though it now doesn’t make sense.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at