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HHS Sec. Sebelius ducks questions about PolitiFact's "Lie of the Year," resignation rumor


In falsely saying people who liked their insurance could keep it under Obamacare, President Obama won the dubious distinction of telling the Lie of the Year, PolitiFact found Thursday. The following day, health secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Miami to tout the Affordable Care Act.

So we asked her about PolitiFact's findings. She suggested it wasn't much of a lie at first. And then she refused to say whether it was a lie at all.

Later, when asked about rumors that she offered to resign during Obamacare's botched rollout, Sebelius was again mum.

Amid all of this, Sebelius seemed to strain credulity by suggesting that Florida Gov. Rick Scott might be open to still expanding Medicaid under Obamacare. Scott has backed off the call, or at least gone silent. Meantime, the GOP-led Florida Senate is expressing more reluctance than last year. And the Florida House, according to top Republicans there, is still in hell-no mode.  

A partial transcript and video at the bottom (with full story about the visit to follow later):

"I think that the statement about keeping your plan was one that is applicable to the vast majority of Americans in the health-insurance market.

"What we know is that we also designed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to make sure that plans that were in place in March of 2010 that kept the same benefits in place, didn’t shift costs to consumers and stayed in place were actually eliminated from needing to conform to any of the consumer protections in the 2014 Affordable Care Act.

"So a number of customers in the individual market have those grandfathered plans in place. It varies by company and by market. I think the president felt it was important to make sure that individuals as much as possible did not lose coverage that they had. So in addition to early renewals, which I think virtually every company in this market offered to their consumers, he asked us to use our discretion authority and asked insurers to consider allowing their customers if they were interested in staying in those same plans.

"And that’s going on again across the country. Florida has decided to take up that transition plan. So a number of individuals who are in individual market plans that they like, which is certainly not 100 percent of the people in the individual market, will be able to work with their insurers about either choosing a new plan in the market place, choosing a competitive plan or staying in their same plan."

Q: So you don’t think it was a lie then?

Sebelius: I.. [looking away] Yes? 

So you’re not going to answer that?

Sebelius: [no answer].....

Q: Did you offer to resign after the rollout?

Sebelius: "I'm not going to discuss what I talk about with the President."

Update: White House spokesman Jay Carney isn't being too chatty, either. From today's press briefing:

QUESTION: We asked Secretary Sebelius today if she had offered her resignation to the president. She wouldn't say. Will you?

CARNEY: Well, I'm not going to speak for Secretary Sebelius. I can tell you that, as I've said in the past, the president has confidence in Secretary Sebelius and appreciates the work that she's done. And she, like every member of her team engaged in this effort, is focused every day on making fixes to the website or making improvements in the implementation of the exchanges so that we can deliver on the promise that I just mentioned.