'I Think,' 'I Think,' 'I Think': Sebelius 'Thinks' More Than She 'Knows'

October 23, 2013 - 6:46 AM

Barack Obama, Kathleen Sebelius

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and President Barack Obama. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - In response to simple questions asked  by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta Tuesday night, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius often appeared vague or uncertain, frequently hedging her remarks with the phrase, "I think." She appeared to "know" very little.

Sebelius used the phrase "I think" or "we think" or "I don't think" 17 times during the interview. In fact, the first words out of her mouth were, "I think what we know is..."

Asked what is wrong with the healthcare.gov website, Sebelius said, "Well, I think what we know is that we had an enormous volume, and the volume both caused some issues to show up and exposed some additional issues."

Here are the rest of her 17 "thinks."

Well, I think volume was extremely high, which is good news.

And that shows, I think, the pent-up interest that people have in affordable, available health coverage.

Well, I think there certainly are some challenges.

And no one, I think it's important to say, Sanjay, is losing coverage now.

Well, I think it became clear fairly early on. (Said in response to a question about when President Obama first learned about the problems with healthcare.gov.)

I think that we talked about having testing, going forward.

Well, I think what we can tell you is that thousands of people have signed up.

I think my job is to get this fully implemented and to get the Web site working right.

I am talking to CEOs and urging them to make sure that we have the talent that they have available. I think all of them have folks who are assigned to a project.

I think I can tell you, it's improving every day, and more people are getting through.

Well, I think that the reality is that people, as I just said, can sign up any of three ways.

It (healthcare.gov) is certainly a tool, and we think it can be an easy tool for people who are tech savvy and want to use a Web site.

Well, I don't think that that really is the question right now. (When she was asked if the individual mandate would be delayed.)

The issue is, will people be able to sign up for affordable health care in the six months' open enrollment period? And I think the answer is absolutely yes.

So at the end of the day, we need people to sign up. And I think we've got a lot of ways that they can.

I think that what we need to do is see the enrollment figures at the end of March 2014.

In contrast, Sebelius used the phraase "we know" or "I know" six times, as follows:

What we know is a lot of people don't know a lot about insurance, they don't know how to balance that in their monthly budgets.

And what we know is that the large majority of uninsured eligible Americans are eligible for some financial help buying that coverage, lowering their premium costs.

We know that people are getting through every day.

And what we know, and these three weeks has demonstrated clearly, millions of Americans want this product.

What I know, though, and -- is that lots of people, and people I talk to every day, are not tech savvy. Who want a live human being to sit and answer questions.

That's when open enrollment ends, and what I know from what we're seeing in not only states that are run by the federal Web site, but states around the country is that the interest issues that people are eager to have this affordable product.