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

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusJerry Moran: 'I wouldn't be surprised' if Pompeo ran for Senate in Kansas Mark Halperin inks book deal 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care 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 SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law | Michigan governor seeks to pause Medicaid work requirements | New front in fight over Medicaid block grants House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Why a second Trump term and a Democratic Congress could be a nightmare scenario for the GOP 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.