No, Madam Secretary, Prices On Are Not A “Hypothetical Situation”

Gregory Ferenstein | TechCrunch | October 30, 2013

Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, wins the award today for most creative political spin. During a congressional grilling about the failings of the federal e-commerce website,, the secretary now claims that insurance prices are merely “hypothetical situations.”

The claim was in response to recent reports that is low-balling insurance prices by 50 percent or more (or hundreds of dollars a month). The website fails to ask consumers their birthdates, only if they’re older than 49 years of age, and therefore lumps many older consumers in with some of their 20-something counterparts who are eligible for discounted rates. It’s the equivalent of Apple saying that when an iPhone is available for purchase, it’ll be half the cost of what consumers end up paying at the register.

When Representative John Shimkus asked Secretary Sebelius for an explanation for the low-ball prices, she responded, “It is clearly a hypothetical situation…”