Testy exchange between Shimkus and Sebelius goes viral

News-DemocratDecember 12, 2013 

Video of U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, engaging in a fiery exchange with Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary, lit up the Internet Wednesday.

Shimkus made it clear during Sebelius' testimony before a House subcommittee that he was not happy with Sebelius' answers regarding enrollment in the Affordable Care Act, whose glitch-plagued website has garnered loads of unwanted publicity.

Shimkus ended the exchange by asserting that getting answers from Sebelius is "like talking to the Republic of Korea or something" -- an apparent verbal miscue and allusion to the dictatorship of North Korea, not to the democratically elected government of South Korea, a key U.S. ally.

Shimkus' ire took shape when he asked Sebelius about the number of people who so far had enrolled in the Affordable Care Act.

Sebelius replied that more than 364,000 Americans had enrolled as of Nov. 30, which is far less than President Barack Obama had predicted.

Shimkus noted there is a difference between being enrolled and actually buying insurance.

"Our concern is that this 364,000 number is fraudulent because it's not those who have purchased plans yet," said Shimkus.

When Sebelius brought up the issue of enrollments again, Shimkus said, "This is why we're frustrated, because we just don't get the truth out of you."

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