- The Washington Times - Monday, November 24, 2014

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius dismissed recently-unearthed comments from an adviser on President Obama’s health care overhaul as “offensive” and “flat-out wrong,” saying Monday there was an open process surrounding the law’s passage.

“I think that Professor Gruber’s comments are just offensive and flat-out wrong — there couldn’t have been more open discussions,” Ms. Sebelius said on CNN’s “New Day.” “There were dozens of hearings and mark-ups and analysis. There were five committees in Congress; this went on for months and months, so the notion that somehow this was a secret or that the tax frame was a secret is just really ludicrous.”

In a recently-unearthed video, MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, who consulted on the law, said a lack of transparency and the “stupidity” of the American public helped ensure the law’s passage.

The Obama administration and many Democrats have since tried to distance themselves from Mr. Gruber, who after saying he regretted those remarks has largely stayed out of the public eye as other videos of him talking about the law have surfaced.

“We were very forthright with the American public — I think members of Congress who wrote this legislation were very forthright,” Ms. Sebelius said. “It was both about — having affordable coverage was certainly a piece of it, but also people getting coverage that they didn’t have.”

She said the country has seen the biggest drop in the uninsured in U.S. history, “and that’s very good news.”

She also acknowledged early difficulties with the Obamacare website last year but said she’s proud of the work she did.

“I was very happy to stay through the roll-out initially, and we had a disastrous eight weeks, there’s no excuse for that, the website was flawed and for eight weeks it was really miserable,” she said. “The good news is by the end of December when coverage started we had a million people sign up and by the end of open enrollment we had almost 8 million people and by the time we got to October of this year, about 6.7 million of those folks have new coverage and governors [in] red and blue states expanded Medicaid. That’s a great legacy and I’m really proud of that.”

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