Obamacare

By Melinda Henneberger
Published: October 25 E-mail the writer

AUSTIN — Maybe an uninsured tennis pro offering to give Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius some help with her game wasn’t quite the Obamacare poster person you imagined the administration would put front and center at a PR event here Friday.

But think again, because as the cameras rolled, that’s just who Sebelius watched sign up for coverage at a community clinic. “It’s synchronicity,’’ David Caramanidis, 46, told the secretary. “I get to meet you, and I can fix your backhand.”
from the final Cuccinelli-McAuliffe debate

She laughed easily while chatting with Caramanidis and the other Texans she met on this leg of her national damage-control tour, after the wildly rocky rollout of HealthCare.gov. But she also continued to repeat talking points that didn’t work the first time we heard them, or the second.

The Web site where Americans can sign up for coverage is getting better every day, she said once again. (In fact, it’s now working well enough that her artist son, 29, was able to sign up for coverage Friday: Yesterday, he’d tried and failed, she reported, but this morning he had called and told her “he got on and it took him 12 minutes” to sign up, although he hasn’t yet picked a plan.)

She also repeated that line about how “in football terms it’s still early in the first quarter,” with plenty of time left to sign up before penalties would be called on those who don’t get coverage.

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