Emerging from a briefing with Democrats about the problems plaguing the site, The Hill asked Clyburn if the individual mandate should be delayed so consumers aren’t penalized for not being able to access the broken website.
“Use a telephone,” he said. “We’ve been using the telephone a long time before the Internet.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made a similar argument on Tuesday night in an interview with CNN.
“I think that the reality is that people ... can sign up any of three ways,” she said.
AC360 host Sanjay Gupta then asked if that meant the website is “not that important.”
Sebelius said the website is important, but that many people who are not “tech savvy” would prefer to register over the phone.
“What I know, though, and – is that lots of people, and people I talk to everyday, are not tech-savvy, want a live human being to sit and answer questions, want to talk to someone over the phone, want to talk to their friends and neighbors about what healthcare provides in their network, and then go back and ask them questions,” she said.
“So, we anticipated at the outset that everyone would never use the website,” she continued. “That needs to be part of the opportunity. The market is at the end of the day what it is. This isn’t a website. It’s about healthcare and about affordable plans.”