Republican Makes Sebelius-Korea Comparison, Names Wrong Korea

During a congressional hearing on Wednesday, Republican Congressman John Shimkus made an ill-advised attempted to compare Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary, to Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea. It was a stupid comparison to begin with — Sebelius, as far as we know, hasn’t thrown 200,000 of her country’s citizens in death camps — but Shimkus didn’t even successfully make the comparison. He mistakenly identified the wrong Korea, and in doing so, inadvertently insulted an American ally, Sebelius herself, and the intelligence of anyone watching the exchange.

Shimkus was trying to get the secretary to say that the preventative care services in Obamacare, which are free to consumers, aren’t actually free to consumers.

“You cannot say, as you had numerous times, that these preventative care services are quote-unquote ‘free of charge,’ can you?,” a confident Shimkus charged.

“They are free to the consumer, yes,” Sebelius replied.

“They are not — there is no free lunch, madam secretary!,” Shimkus belted. But Sebelius held her ground, and when she also denied Shimkus’s assertion that premiums would inevitably rise, the congressman cut her off, and essentially gave up.

“All right, I got it. We’re just gonna agree to disagree. It’s like talking to the Republic of Korea or something,” he said. Watch it here:


Presumably, Shimkus was intending to refer to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), also known as North Korea, also known as the most oppressive place on the planet. But the Republic of Korea (ROK) is something else; that’s the official name of South Korea, a democracy and American ally. Whoops.

Soon thereafter, Shimkus was called out by a Democratic congressman for interrupting Sebelius, and the entire hearing devolved into unintelligible yelling. Heckuva job, Congress.