Gardner harshly questions Sebelius over ‘Brosurance’, waivers

DENVER — Colorado Congressman Cory Gardner was among the most boisterous of those questioning Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning over the problem-plagued Obamacare roll-out.

Gardner, R-Yuma, stuck to the script he laid out to FOX31 Denver on Monday, asking Sebelius if she approves of an edgy Colorado ad campaign urging young college-aged men and women to buy ‘Brosurance’ on the state’s new health insurance exchange.

During Wednesday’s hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Gardner held up a large poster board showing the ad itself, which shows three young men engaged in a keg stand under the text, ‘Got Insurance?’

“Do you agree with this kind of advertising?” Gardner asked, gesturing toward the poster board held up by a staffer over his shoulder.

“I can’t see it,” Sebelius responded.

“It’s a college student doing a keg stand,” Gardner explained.

“I did not approve it,” Sebelius answered, talking over Gardner. “This is a state-based marketplace.”

Gardner also referred to the Brosurance campaign as something “that a board member of the Colorado exchange brought forward”, although the ad is actually the work of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Progress Now, two progressive groups that are not associated with Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s exchange.

Gardner also hastily made a formal request for a waiver exempting his constituents in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District from Obamacare’s individual mandate, which will force them to pay a fine if they’re not insured by the end of March 2014.

Sebelius, who’s been under fire over the problems with the launch of healthcare.gov, apologized for what she called a “debacle” and said she was “as frustrated and angry as anyone with the flawed launch.”

Sebelius acknowledged that comprehensive testing of the website, which began in mid-September, was inadequate.

She also acknowledged that the cancellation of many healthcare policies purchased on the private insurance market — the plans Obama long said policy-holders could keep — is the result of the Affordable Care Act.

Gardner held up a much ballyhooed letter sent to his family cancelling their plan and described the situation.

“I don’t know how long you’ve had your policy,” Sebelius said, before Gardner cut her off.

“Why aren’t you losing your insurance?” he asked. “Why aren’t you in the exchange? You’re literally in charge of this law; why shouldn’t you be like everyone else out there who are losing their health insurance?”

“I’m part of the 95 percent with affordable, available health insurance,” Sebelius responded, explaining she qualifies for coverage as a federal employee.

“I’m not eligible.”

While some Republicans in Washington cheered Gardner’s tough questioning, Democrats took issue with what they viewed as political grandstanding — and took to Twitter to criticize the congressman.

7 comments

  • Mary Howe

    Cory Gardner’s rudeness was unacceptable. Whether you approve of the ACA or not Gardner’s demeanor and behavior were an embarrassment to the State of Colorado.

  • Duke Paulsen

    Cory Gardner was simply Doing His Job — both for the 4th District & All of us in Colorado — asking the Tough Questions that Congress AND the Drive-By Media should have been asking all along.

  • webo

    Rudeness?? The liberals take the prize for rudness. It is time we hold the leader of this train crash accountable. She isn’t forthcoming about the failures and wasted money so she gets what she deserves.

  • Harry Nuttzak

    Cory – thanks for watching our backs and our wallets. Too bad he and the others were not afforded more time to address these very pressing concerns. Guess today was not banner day for this ‘most transparent administration’ in history.

  • john swanson

    Harshly? Boisterous? Am I reading a news article or an editorial? In any event,,,I hired Cory as my Congressmen to represent ME…..I want him to go after those in government,,,whoever they are that misuse the trust, and money I send there. He’s doing his job, the job I sent him there to do. And Mary,,,,,,you don’t speak for the state of Colorado!

  • Lauren Hauser

    Cory Gardner’s last bombastic statement was that he wants the 4th district to be removed from Obamacare. That would take several thousand people already enjoying the benefits off — people whose kids are on their insurance until age 26, children and now adults with pre-existing conditions, and seniors who are paying less for RX drugs. How will he pay those people back?

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