Sebelius: 'A lot of Americans have no idea what insurance is about'

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusFederal investigators concluded Ryan Zinke's MAGA socks violated Hatch Act Kansas Senate race splits wide open without Pompeo Is a presidential appointment worth the risk? MORE on Tuesday dismissed the recent comments by ObamaCare consultant Jonathan Gruber, though she acknowledged that “a lot of Americans have no idea what insurance is about.”

Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, came under fire last month for saying the process of passing ObamaCare was purposefully obscured and for calling voters “stupid” because they did not understand healthcare.

In an Q&A with USA Today, Sebelius called him “dead wrong” on the issue of transparency. But she added that throughout her tenure as HHS secretary, she learned that many Americans have "very low" financial literacy about insurance terms like “deductible” and “copay.”

“That has been a stunning revelation. It’s not because anybody hid it from folks, it’s because this is a complicated product,” she said.

Sebelius said she is frustrated by the Republican’s “see I told you” approach to criticizing ObamaCare, which has become evident as the GOP requested Gruber to testify on Capitol Hill next week.

The former Kansas governor said the fallout from Gruber’s comments were already hurting the healthcare law he helped shape, and could be worse after he is grilled by the House Oversight Committee.

“Clearly he is not very articulate with the phrasing he uses. I have no idea what Dr. Gruber is going to say, but frankly I don’t really think it’s relevant,” she said. “He didn’t influence the members of Congress who actually wrote the legislation.”

Sebelius also weighed in on the recent comments from Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTop Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US MORE (D-N.Y.) who said last week that the timing of the healthcare law had been a mistake. His remarks have morphed into new political fuel for the GOP against the still unpopular healthcare law.

“Chuck Schumer may not be the only one who said it was a mistake,” Sebelius said, adding that many people close to Obama had expressed skepticism or outright opposition to the plans.

“But was it worth it? You bet,” she said.