Healthcare by Easter? Sebelius: 'Not about some congressional time clock'

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Sunday dodged a series of questions about the White House's plans for healthcare reform in the event lawmakers failed to pass it by the Easter recess.

When asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" whether President Barack Obama would still pursue that legislation after the break, Sebelius offered no direct answer, only stressing, "I think we'll have the votes when the leadership decides to call the votes, and I think it will pass."

ADVERTISEMENT
Further inquiry yielded even less from Sebelius, who repeated healthcare reform was "not about some congressional time clock."

Still, she reemphasized the president's line that the White House intends on "finishing the job," especially now that the reform process has reached "the final chapter."

Both the White House and congressional Democrats have set for themselves countless healthcare deadlines -- from dates by which lawmakers hoped to clear bills from their respective committees in 2009, to the president's new hope to complete the entire reform process by the end of the month.

However, lawmakers have overshot or nearly missed many of those self-imposed deadlines, further stalling the reform process. Many thus fear that could happen again in March, primarily because Democrats still disagree over a number of their healthcare bill's more contentious provisions, including abortion.


But Sebelius offered little explanation of what would come next, assuming lawmakers again missed a healthcare deadline.

Instead, the secretary stressed Democrats still had to "act on the behalf of the American people," who she described as "desperate" for robust, immediate healthcare reform.