“Unethical Website of the Month” doesn’t really do justice to CoveringHealthCareCA.com, and that’s even with the acknowledgement that this is the same Ethics Alarms category where the racist site Chimpmania is filed. CoveringHealthCareCA.com is an intentional effort to sabotage the Affordable Care Act in California, the one place where the “signature achievement” of the Obama administration didn’t completely collapse out of the starting gate. For Republican lawmakers to be doing this is beneath contempt, indefensible in every way, and the ethical equivalent of treason. The people who publish Chimpmania are hateful, vicious bigots, but they are marginal citizens and human beings. All societies have scum, and in the 21st Century, some of that scum will have racist websites. That is inevitable. It should not be inevitable for public servants to try to undermine their own government’s laws, health care system, and citizens for political gain.
CoveringHealthCare.com is a false flag website, launched by Republicans in the California Assembly to deceive Californians into believing it is an official Obamacare website, when it is, in truth, an anti-Obamacare website. Its address is similar—CoveringHealthCareCA.com vs. CoveredCa.com, the real site—and its design evokes the actual Obamacare sites. Its apparent purpose is to help citizens navigate the new health insurance system, except that once you begin clicking and reading, it slowly dawns–how slowly will vary— that this is something else, a collection of attacks and talking points against the Affordable Care Act.
Criticism is fine and legitimate, but Republicans know, like everyone else, that the public is unsettled by the (still) malfunctioning website that is at the center of the health care insurance enrollment process, and fearful of the effects of the new law on their health care options and costs. The public’s shaky trust in the system endangers its chances at success, because frustration and distrust will discourage participation, and without widespread acceptance and compliance, Obamacare won’t work. It is the duty of all elected officials of either party to do everything in their power to mitigate this disaster—and it is a disaster and will be a disaster—that the Democrats recklessly designed and foisted on the country, that the President lied about to get passed, and that both the President and the Democrats have unforgivably mismanaged. I doubt that anything short of dismantling the law, which is not going to happen and probably cannot happen, will avert the awful consequences of this epic, historic, embarrassing botch, but it doesn’t matter: the fact that a fire will probably burn out of control anyway does not excuse members of the fire department throwing kerosene on the blaze. That is what CoveringHealthCareCA is. Republicans are denying it, but that is all it is. It is sabotage.
Sabrina Demayo Lockhart, communications director for the Assembly GOP Caucus, insisted to ABC News that criticism of the website was unjust, and that its purpose was as noble as the day is long and as benign as a spring day. Why, how could anyone even think otherwise? The goal of the site is informational only! “It’s a complex law, and we wanted to make sure our constituents had the tools to understand what this law meant for them,” quoth Sabrina. And that’s why every effort was made to confuse Californians into going to that site when they just wanted to get health insurance and misleading them once they got there. Sabrina is a paid liar, working for elected liars.
“It’s outrageous that our elected officials in California are using taxpayer dollars to intentionally mislead their constituents and divert them from CoveredCA.com,” Dr. Paul Song, executive chairman of the progressive California-based group Courage Campaign, stated in a press release. “Republicans in Sacramento have wasted taxpayer dollars building a fake website in an attempt to sow confusion and fear, in a futile attempt to discredit the law.” Well, the law is fully capable of discrediting itself, and has only just begun—the word Song should have used in place of “futile” was “irresponsible,” “unethical,” or perhaps just “redundant.” Other than that, however, his statement is accurate, except that it is too mild.
I should also mention that this incident shows the conservative media failing at its journalistic duty exactly as its much criticized (mostly by them) leftward counterparts in the mainstream media do when they ignore or downplay stories that reflect badly on progressives, Democrats, or our flailing President. Is it that Republican assembly members engaging in this kind of low tactics to the detriment of their own constituency and its state’s citizens isn’t newsworthy in the jaundiced view of Fox, The Blaze, The Daily Caller and the conservative blogs, that they somehow missed the story, or that they approve of lawmakers sabotaging laws they oppose? I’d like to know which, so I can assess whether these sources are untrustworthy because they are stupid, incompetent, or unethical.