Did GOP Put Up Fake Site to Detour Obamacare Applicants?
Pete Souza for the White House.
Obamacare registration has been a disaster as a result of the Affordable Care Act's craptastic website.
But California has been a notable exception. The Covered California website works. And people are using it enthusiastically and successfully, at least if you believe the folks who run it. Nearly 432,000 applications have been filed via the site through last month, they say.
Which leads us to a state Republican healthcare website that some allege was erected to confuse and derail Californians hoping to sign up for Obamacare:
Republicans have been taking aim at Obamacare with a vengeance. National GOP leaders even distributed a list of talking points about how bad the program is regardless of final outcomes.
This week Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik discovered the GOP's healthcare site for Californians and had a field day with it:
The device chosen by the Assembly's GOP caucus is a website at the address coveringhealthcareca.com. If that sounds suspiciously like coveredca.com, which is the real website for the California insurance exchange, it may not be a coincidence. Bogus insurance websites have sprung up all over, aiming to steer consumers away from legitimate enrollment services.
Hiltzik says the site, coveringhealthcareca.com, changed its tune just a few hours after he published his piece by including links to the official Covered California site.
The dust-up inspired the California Democratic Party to fire off this statement yesterday:
It would appear Republicans in California have no qualms about following their national Party's lead when it comes to spreading misinformation about the Affordable Care Act. Developing and promoting a bogus website to lure consumers away from the real www.CoveredCA.com amounts to denying Californians affordable health coverage - which appears to be the GOP's central organizing principle these days.
And Dr. Paul Song, executive chairman of the left-leaning California-based Courage Campaign, said this:
It's outrageous that our elected officials in California are using taxpayer dollars to intentionally mislead their constituents and divert them from CoveredCA.com. Our state's website is a model for the nation and singlehandedly signing up more Americans for quality health coverage than all the other states combined, yet 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.
Sabrina Lockhart, spokeswoman for California Assembly minority leader Connie Conway, says it's all just politics, which sounds familiar.
The site is registered out of Republican Conway's office and is the product of the state Assembly Republican Caucus, Lockhart says.
It's been up since August and was erected to help answer questions that she says haven't been addressed by Covered California and the Obama administration.
Which leads her to question the timing of Hiltzik's attack -- at a time when Obama's approval ratings are in the basement as a result of the Obamacare website debacle and GOP attacks.
Lockhart told us:
This website has been up since August. Prior to a few days ago we have received largely positive feedback. This seems like manufactured outrage to deflect from the real problems with the Affordable Care Act, including implementation.
She said links to the official Covered California site were there all along but that "we made them more prominent" recently.
Manufactured controversy or legitimate rage over an allegedly "fake" website? You decide.
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