May 26, 2014

AP Report on Dems’ Obamacare Campaign Stances Ignores HHS Decision to Halt Monthly Reporting

With about 4-1/2 months remaining before early voting begins in the the 2014 elections, three sets of Obamacare-related campaigns are in full gear. The first is seen in electoral contests around the country. The second is a campaign of disinformation and no information being conducted by the Obama administration and its Department of Health and Human Services. The third is a concerted establishment press effort to give cover to Democratic Party candidates no matter what position they take on Obamacare, and to minimize the exposure the administration’s deliberate acts of non-transparency receive.

All three campaigns came together in a Monday morning Associated Press report by Bill Barrow and Josh “Lapdog” Lederman. The two reporters avoided any mention of the fact that the administration has decided to “halt” monthly Obamacare enrollment reporting, while giving cover to Democratic Senate candidates around the country who haven’t yet figured out how much distance to put between themselves, Obamacare, and President Barack Obama himself (bolds are mine throughout this post):

HEALTH LAW: EMBRACE, AVOID OR IN BETWEEN FOR DEMS

BarrowAndLedermanAP2014

Democratic candidates are trying to figure out whether to embrace or avoid President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul – or land somewhere in between.

The president says his party shouldn’t apologize or go on the defensive about the Affordable Care Act.

Candidates aren’t so sure.

Two top recruits for Senate races – Michelle Nunn in Georgia and Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky – won’t say how they would have voted when the Senate passed the bill in 2010. Their refusals are overshadowing their endorsements of individual parts of the law that are more popular than the law itself.

In Montana, Sen. John Walsh, appointed to office in February and now running for a full term, reminds voters that he was nowhere near Congress in 2010.

Obama knows the law and this year’s elections will have much to say about his legacy, and he says, “There is a strong, good, right story to tell” about the law.

That’s a howler. If there such a “a strong, good, right story to tell,” why has the administration decided to stop telling it?

As Politico’s Kyle Cheney noted in an item which is now behind its paywall (how convenient; link is to the opening item at a “Pro Report” tease; HT Hot Air), Team Obama has decided that the post-enrollment deadline book on Obamacare is going to stay closed, apparently indefinitely:

“The Obama administration has quietly decided to halt its monthly updates on Obamacare enrollment, which were a major pipeline of information about the impact of the health law heading into the 2014 campaign season. ‘HHS issued monthly enrollment reports during the first marketplace open enrollment period in order to provide the best understanding of enrollment activities as it was taking place,’ an HHS spokeswoman emailed. ‘Now that this time period has ended, we will look at future opportunities to share information about the marketplace that is reliable and accurate over time as further analysis can be done but we do not anticipate monthly reports.’ The agency offered no information about the timing or level of detail in any future updates.”

The Politico item appeared Wednesday, five days ago. AP reporters Barrow and Lederman should have told readers about the “halt,” of which they had to be aware, in reporting Obamacare results after Obama’s “great story to tell” quote, but instead chose to deceive their audience and their employer’s subscribers.

Back to the AP pair’s report:

White House political advisers insist there are openings to go on offense, with the website fixed and enrollment numbers exceeding 8 million to counter the GOP’s argument that the law is a failure.

The challenge for Democrats is to highlight the popular parts of the law.

As usual, AP is reporting the 8 million “enrollment” number as if it is an undisputed fact, when almost no one outside the administration buys it. There are at least three major problems in the official number: “enrollees” who haven’t paid their first premium; duplicate enrollments; and those who will stop paying after the first couple of months, milk the system for services during the next 60 days, and disappear. HHS is lucky if it really has 6.5 million real Obamacare customers.

Continuing:

(Louisiana’s Mary) Landrieu, North Carolina’s Kay) Hagan and Nunn have tried to put Republicans on the defensive by criticizing their states’ GOP leaders for not expanding Medicaid under the law.

The most obvious argument against Medicaid expansion is that the “free” money coming from the federal government will only arrive because of additional deficit spending. Having our children, grandchildren, and generations yet unborn pay for today’s Medicaid enrollees is long-term fiscal folly.

If a Republican or conservative administration and its political candidates were faking transparency the way Obama, his administration, and the Democrats are, there is no way the press would be covering for them as AP’s Barrow and Lederman clearly and disgracefully have.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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