In an interview that frequently turned contentious, liberal talk show host Jon Stewart interviewed HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on The Daily Show last night. In his sign-off, the host said "I still don't understand why individuals have to sign up and businesses don't... I think to myself, well, maybe she's just lying to me? Just to me?"
In an earlier exchange, Stewart questioned Sebelius on Republicans' key criticism of Obamacare right now - why the Obama Administration gets to unilaterally decide who their health care mandates apply to:
Stewart: If I'm an individual that doesn't want it, it would be hard for me to look at big business getting a waiver and not having to do it, and me having to. I would think, jeez, it looks like because I don't have a lobbying group - not that I don't have a lobbying group; believe me, I have a lobbying group - but that I would feel like you were favoring big buesinss because they lobbied you to delay it because htey didn't want to do it this year, but you're not allowing individuals that same courtesy.
Sebelius dodged the question:
Sebelius:: Big businesses are already in the health market. That's where... that's where 85% of the people get their insurance right now. THey workf or a government, they work for a big business, those employers are in. small employess have no mandate at all.
Stewart continued hitting on this theme, with Sebelius oddly claiming that individuals can have the same 'waiver' that big businesses do - they just have to pay the Obamacare tax:
Stewart: Why is it that individuals couldn't say they didn't want to do it, just for a year.
Sebelius: Well they can. They pay a fine.
Later, Sebelius trotted out the Obama Administration "economists say..." line to dispute that Obamacare is having an impact on the economy, and then admitted that Obamacare will force people - some, when money is tight - to buy health insurance "for the greater good."
Stewart: There will be people who will end up in difficult times having to spend money they would not have spent... yes? ... to buy health care if they didn't have it.
Sebelius: Yes. There are people who will pay money - and many of them will pay less than their cable bill, or their cell phone bill, per month.
Stewart: But what you're saying to the American people is, some of you will face a penalty for the greater good.
Watch the whole thing: