POLITICS
12/11/2013 12:53 pm ET Updated Dec 11, 2013

Rep. John Shimkus Insults Either South Korea Or HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

WASHINGTON -- Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) insulted either Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius or a U.S. ally Wednesday in a testy back-and-forth over Obamacare, in which he compared her answers to something he'd hear from the "Republic of Korea."

Shimkus was attempting to get Sebelius to admit that the cost of providing preventive services under the Affordable Care Act will raise insurance premiums. But she was not buying it, arguing instead that preventive services lower costs.

"You cannot say these preventive services are, quote unquote, free of charge, can you?" said a heated Shimkus.

"They are free to the consumer, yes, sir," answered Sebelius, provoking apparent disbelief from the Illinois congressman.

"There is no free lunch, Madam Secretary," Shimkus said as she tried to point out actuarial estimates of the benefits of preventive care.

"All right, all right. I got it," Shimkus said before Sebelius was finished. "We're going to have to agree to disagree," he added before groping for a suitable, unflattering comparison.

"It's like talking to -- the Republic of Korea or something," he said.

The Republic of Korea is an American ally, generally known as South Korea. It does not have a reputation for being difficult to talk to. North Korea, which is notoriously difficult to deal with, is known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Watch the exchange above.

Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.

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