The Republican Party, down and out after their disastrous negotiating over the government shutdown, has gotten a fresh breath of oxygen from the issues plaguing healthcare.gov, the website through which people access plans under the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. Now they are trying to put a face on that anger: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The Republican Party knows that most Americans don’t have much sense of who Kathleen Sebelius is or what she does, so they can define her as a failure, with the Obamacare website their principle example, and link her to Obama and Obamacare. They can count on Obama to stand by Sebelius and not fire her over a glitchy website, thus reinforcing the idea that Obamacare is a nepotistic, bureaucratic mess.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus attacked Sebelius and the Obamacare website in a plainly titled op-ed: “It’s Time To Fire Secretary Sebelius”:
“How much more money will her department waste — and how much time will Americans waste on the website — before the administration admits they have a problem? In a business, someone would be held accountable for such a large-scale disaster.”
Priebus takes the opportunity to trot out the popular Republican Party sentiment that business would have done it better. Not necessarily convincing, given that business has been running America’s healthcare system for decades and Americans pay far more than any developed country for the same level of service.
“I do believe people should be held accountable,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, referring to Sebelius.
Republican Party Senator Pat Roberts also called for Sebelius to step down.
If we had political parties that worked together, the Republican Party would be more concerned with making Obamacare the best it can be and the Democrats would be less concerned with defending Sebelius.
Regardless, the best way Sebelius can fend off Republican Party attacks is to get the Obamacare website up and running as soon as possible, and then go on a publicity blitz to get people to the website and signed up for insurance.