CNN Anchor Scolds GOP to Stop Grilling Sebelius; 'Sit Down and Fix Things'

On Tuesday, CNN's Carol Costello lectured Republicans to stop grilling HHS Secretary Sebelius over ObamaCare and "sit down with Democrats to come up with some solutions."

"What in your mind is the point of this? Haven't we heard enough from Kathleen Sebelius?" Costello huffed to GOP Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn as Sebelius testified before the Senate Finance Committee. Costello told her that "Americans want solutions" over more hearings.

Costello also sounded like a White House spokeswoman, offering that the law saves some people from poor insurance plans that they currently have. "What if they're bad plans? What if they're bad plans?" she challenged Blackburn, who called that "a subjective view."

"It's not a subjective view. Some of these plans are really bad. It's not," Costello responded.

The CNN anchor challenged Blackburn, "But at some point, congresswoman, don't these hearings have to end and don't lawmakers have to sit down and fix things? Govern? Come up with solutions, just like Chris Christie said?"

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on CNN Newsroom on November 6 at 10:05 a.m. EDT:

[10:05]

CAROL COSTELLO: Sebelius, Secretary Sebelius is sure to face blistering criticisms, though, in that hearing. Not only over the web site debacle, but also over the false assurances that Americans could keep their current insurance plans if they wanted to. You may remember this colorful exchange from Sebelius' last appearance on Capitol Hill.

(Video Clip)

Rep. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-Tenn.): Some people like to drive a Ford, not a Ferrari, and some people like to drink out of a red Solo cup, not out of a crystal stem. You're taking away their choice.

(End Video Clip)

COSTELLO: That's Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, and she joins us this morning from her home district in Nashville. Good morning.

BLACKBURN: Good morning.

COSTELLO: You didn't mince words with Kathleen Sebelius, and many Americans would say Sebelius certainly deserved it. But now I think Americans want solutions. Listen to what your fellow Republican, Chris Christie had to say.

(Video Clip)

Gov. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-N.J.): I think that the party has got to focus on winning again. You know, sometimes I feel like our party cares more about winning the argument than they care about elections. And if you don't win elections you can't govern, and if you can't govern, you can't change the direction of a state like we've done in New Jersey.

(End Video Clip)

COSTELLO: In other words, quit trying to win an argument you've already won and govern. So I guess my question to you, are Republicans willing to sit down with Democrats to come up with some solutions?

(...)

COSTELLO: Let's go back to the insurance plans because you know, we like to deal in fact. So about 5 percent of Americans, roughly 16 million people, will lose coverage because their plans don't meet the minimum guidelines set by ObamaCare. The truth is is that's bad. But not in all cases, not when people have bad plans and not when you realize that pre-ObamaCare, from late 2008 to mid-2009, 14,000 people every day lost their health insurance. That's the problem ObamaCare tried to solve. So how would this piece of legislation that Republicans will introduce solve that problem?

BLACKBURN: It will let those individuals who are in the individual and small business marketplace keep plans that have been offered to them. Now the essential benefit mandate –  

COSTELLO: What if they're bad plans? What if they're bad plans?

BLACKBURN: No. But I think that is subjective view. Now the –  

COSTELLO: It's not a subjective view. Some of these plans are really bad. It's not.

BLACKBURN: It is a subjective view. Do you think that a health savings account is good or bad? Now I think –

COSTELLO: I'm talking about an insurance plan.

(...)

COSTELLO: What in your mind is the point of this? Haven't we heard enough from Kathleen Sebelius?

(...)

COSTELLO: But at some point, congresswoman, don't these hearings have to end and don't lawmakers have to sit down and fix things? Govern? Come up with solutions, just like Chris Christie said?

BLACKBURN: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Because you can sit and you can win an argument every day and say, you're wrong. And perhaps those people are wrong, but at some point don't you have to sit down and come up with solutions and stop pointing fingers? 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014