By Russell Berman - 10/30/13 03:41 PM EDT
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on Wednesday said Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. should be forced to purchase health insurance through ObamaCare exchanges because he wrote the opinion upholding the law that she described as “a complete and utter disaster.”
Bachmann made the comments after a closed-door briefing from federal Health Department officials over the Obama administration’s response to initial problems with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
“What we learned in there is that their answer is, ‘We don’t know,’ ” Bachmann said. “They don’t have an answer for anything.”
Bachmann directed her ire at Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, over testimony earlier Wednesday in which Sebelius said under questioning that it would be illegal for her to purchase health insurance through the new federal exchange because she already has coverage through her government position.
“She should voluntarily, today, relinquish her insurance,” Bachmann said.
But she didn’t stop there.
“Not only should she go into the insurance exchange, the entire Department of Health and Human Services should go into the exchange,” the former Republican presidential candidate said.
“Every Cabinet member should go into the exchange. The president, the vice president of the United States should go into the exchange. If we have to be subject to this disaster, they should have to be subject to this disaster, as well as every member of the Supreme Court, in particular John Roberts, who wrote the opinion. They should have to go into this exchange,” she said.
Roberts, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, angered many conservatives when he authored a 5-4 court decision in 2012 that upheld a central piece of the Affordable Care Act, the individual insurance mandate, as a tax.
Other Republicans said they learned little new information from the meeting, which followed a public hearing in which Sebelius testified for more than three hours about the troubled rollout of the law.
“Clearly they understand the enormous amount of difficulty they’ve got to overcome in order to make this thing work,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said.