Ugly dust up over GOP Assembly health care site

Ugly dust up over GOP Assembly health care site

The California State Assembly website, Covering Health Care: A California Resource Guide, has become something of a media kerfuffle. But many of the messages coming from the media and social media, are false and misleading.

“Helping You Navigate Federal Health Care Changes,” the website home page headline says.

The site, launched last August, provides information and an overview of the Affordable Care Act, and Covered California, the state’s Obamacare health exchange. It has links to information for people who already have health insurance, and for those who don’t. There is information provided for employers, and there is a link directly to Covered California.

The website has a very interesting list of the 18 separate tax increases under Obamacare,  and has information for younger adults, as well as a page dedicated to seniors.

And that’s it.

The website doesn’t look like Covered California, and does not purport to be the state health insurance exchange.


So what’s the problem? Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare, said Democrats in Congress have been ginning up negative press on the website. “This was started by Congresswoman Janice Hahn because she’s embarrassed by her vote on Obamacare,” Conway said in a Dec. 4 interview with Fresno radio talk show host Ray Appleton. “Our website links to Covered California, and answers questions for our constituents.”

Conway added, “They’ve driven a lot of people to our website.”

The ‘unhelpful website’

Congresswoman Janice Hahn, D-CA, even sent out a press release earlier this week about the Assembly website: “I am appalled by the so-called civil servants who have stooped to confusing and misleading Californians who are trying to get health insurance,” she said.

“The unhelpful website seems to be little more than an attempt by Affordable Care Act opponents to undermine the law’s success and prevent people who need health coverage from getting it,” Hahn said in the press statement.


Those are strong words and accusations. So I called Republican Assembly communications director Sabrina Lockhart, and asked if anyone from Hahn’s office had called to discuss their concerns with the health care website. “They never once called us to find out more about it,” Lockhard told me.

Next, I called Congresswoman Hahn’s office and asked why they haven’t called Assembly Minority Leader Conway to discuss concerns about the website.  Spokeswoman Breelyn Pete said “I don’t know if a call has been made. I don’t know if our Chief of Staff or the member called.”

I asked her to find out and call me back to let me know. So far, I have not heard back.

“Last month, Attorney General Kamala Harris shut down 10 fake ‘private health insurance websites that misled Californians by imitating Covered California,’” the San Francisco Chronicle Politics Blog reported. “The GOP website was not among those listed among the ‘imitation’ websites.”

Media blitz

But it’s far worse than just a little negative press; some of the press has been misleading. And some of the messages in social media are vile.

The Sacramento Bee reported, “California Democrats up pressure on Republican health care site.

The Daily Kos reported, “California GOP creates fake health care website to discourage constituents from obtaining insurance.”

ABC News said, “California Republicans Defend Fake Obamacare Site.

MSNBC reported, “A bogus health care website, courtesy of the GOP.”

The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Rep. Janice Hahn calls on state GOP to take down ‘fake’ Obamacare site.” said, “California GOP creates phony health care website to confuse residents.”

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton said, “Republicans in California have no qualms about following their national party’s lead when it comes to spreading misinformation about the Affordable Care Act.”

“Visit our new website Covering Health Care California to get the facts about what the new federal mandates will mean for you and your family, and learn what steps all Americans are being forced to take to comply with this intrusive new law,” Conway’s Assembly website says.

Vile social media posts

Some of the really nasty Twitter comments aimed at Assembly Communications Director Sabrina Lockhart are below:

Jim Sumstine (@CopyJim)
Sabrina Lockhart and Zimmerman are GOP heroes, one just wants minorities to die and the other actually kills them


Tim (@jefsauce)
@SDLockhart Hope you’re having fun making it harder for people to get insured, you sick weirdo.



@SDLockhart What a POS you are with your taxpayer-paid-for-benefits, trying to deprive others of getting healthcare that they will pay for!


Seth Pierson (@mfpseth)
.@SDLockhart How many ppl will die because of the faked health exchange site set up in YOUR name, Sabrina Lockhart?…
David Valenzuela (@Yecora51)… if you want yo contact the bitch.[email protected]



Write a comment
  1. Left of Rio Linda
    Left of Rio Linda 6 December, 2013, 17:13

    I guess that pesky little feature called the “truth” keeps getting in the way.

    Reply this comment
  2. bob
    bob 6 December, 2013, 19:01

    Katy, did you sign up for obammie care yet?

    And you will luv the dental

    Reply this comment
  3. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 6 December, 2013, 21:44

    I suspected this would happen…..

    It’s reported that as many as 70% of California’s 104,000 licensed docs are boycotting the Covered California exchange as a result of the insurance companies pegging their doc reimbursements to Medi-Cal rates. Medi-Cal pays one of the lowest reimbursement rates in the nation – 30% less than Medi-Care. I don’t blame the docs. Why should they work for free or at a loss?

    The insurance companies participating in the exchange apparently first reported their intentions to peg their reimbursement rates to Medi-Cal last September. Many docs have refused to sign up as a result. The CMA is complaining that some docs are listed as contracted exchange participants when they really aren’t.

    How is it possible to make this pig fly in California without adequate physician participation? And where are they going to find enough docs to care for the 2M NEW Medi-Cal enrollees over the next 2 years? lol.

    It looks more and more like this house of cards is going down. I mean, come on! They can’t even get the roll-out done right! lol. The roll-out phase of a new service or product should be the easy part. At least in the real world.

    Why don’t they just hire one of these nation’s that only spend 10% (versus 18%) of their GDP on health care and show better medical outcomes and life expectancies to fix our health care system for us? Sometimes it’s better to swallow a little pride and get the job done right. At this point it’s still salvageable. Next year it might not be!

    Reply this comment
    • Katy Grimes
      Katy Grimes Author 7 December, 2013, 10:57

      You are correct Letitcollapse — very few of California’s docs have agreed to participate in the exchange. The Dems hold hearings about the lack of access to medical care (abortion doctors) in parts of the state, yet are creating the biggest doctor shortage with this law. It is sure to collapse.


      Reply this comment
      • LetitCollapse
        LetitCollapse 8 December, 2013, 00:15

        Yeah, Katy. The dems are really going to be in hot water when vomiting patients with 102 degree temps call their O-Care PCP’s for same day appointments and are told their offices and their backup PCP’s offices are booked solid for the next 2 weeks and to go to the ER for treatment. California’s legislature would turn majority republican in no time.

        I see only one of 2 ways they address the doc shortage:

        1) Mandate doctors to accept Medi-Cal patients. Make the renewal of their medical licenses in California contingent on it. Hey, Obama forced us to buy insurance. Why couldn’t he force doctors to treat indigent patients at break-even or negative reimbursement rates? All that’s necessary is to figure out a way to equate indentured servitude with taxation under the Constitution and then get the buy-in of 5 SCOTUS justices. They did it before. They can do it again.

        2) Raise the Medi-Cal reimbursement rates to acceptable levels that will actually turn a profit for the docs. Naturally, that means another big hike in insurance premiums for the paying middle class producers who are sustaining this house of cards. Of course, that will mean more job layoffs and more producers fleeing the state to safer grounds. Other people will figure out ways to extricate themselves from the system. And some producers will just throw their arms up in the air and join the indigents growing our already record breaking poverty class to new heights.

        Those are really the only 2 directions they can go that I can see. And either way it ends badly. It looks more and more like it was a designed failure from the start. A couple years ago I was skeptical those who claimed ObamaCare was just an excuse to bring a single payor system to America. But, by golly, maybe they were right afterall.

        Reply this comment
    • S Moderation Douglas
      S Moderation Douglas 8 December, 2013, 11:16

      Skepticism is called for. 

      “70%” of almost anything should be taken with a grain of salt. 

      “It’s reported” loosely means that dozens of mostly right wing blogs are parroting ONE article in the Washington Examiner.

      Washington Examiner: (quote from Politico:   “When it came to the editorial page, Anschutz’s instructions were explicit — he ‘wanted nothing but conservative columns and conservative op-ed writers,’ “)

      The Examiner article gives no real source for the 70% figure, and doesn’t even specify if the number refers to the ACA exchange in general or specifically to doctors shunning MediCal patients. Big difference. 

      Reply this comment
      • LetitCollapse
        LetitCollapse 8 December, 2013, 14:20

        So are all those CMA executives and medical group managers quoted in the article fabricating and misinforming? Are they falsely claiming that doctors from their respective associations and groups are being listed by Covered California as participating physicians when, in fact, they really aren’t? Is that what you think?

        And why did Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California and Covered California reportedly fail to respond to The Examiner’s phone calls or provide doctor participation numbers in the exchange upon request? This is a mandated medical system that the public is forced to join. Why not be transparent with the media so that the consumer can make intelligent choices when selecting a plan?

        Reply this comment
        • S Moderation Douglas
          S Moderation Douglas 8 December, 2013, 19:25

          I am saying I am skeptical.

          What I saw in the Washington Examiner were vague and unsubstantiated claims.

          Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

          This looks more like fear mongering.

          Reply this comment
          • LetitCollapse
            LetitCollapse 8 December, 2013, 20:26

            Why aren’t you skeptical of Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Ca and Covered Ca for reportedly failing to return The Examiner’s phone calls about their participating physician list for the exchange? Shouldn’t health care insurance companies cooperate with the media to promote full disclosure to the public about a mandated health care system everyone is forced to join?

  4. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 7 December, 2013, 09:19

    The decision to sign up poor people on Medical in California is a noble effort to give poor people mainstream access to healthcare…

    Doomer’s could win elections, if they find ways to efficiently administer health, education and infrastructure policy Instead of bashing anything and everything spoon fed to you by CWD gloom merchants.

    Why not be positive and cheery this Christmas season?

    Reply this comment
  5. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 7 December, 2013, 11:29

    It’s ignoble to add 2 million people to the Medi-Cal rolls when you don’t have the resources to adequately care for them. That’s a lot of new patients. It’s reported that 70% of California’s 104,000 MD’s are refusing to work for break-even wages to care for this population. We only have about 35,000 primary care physicians in California. It’s reported that only 57% of California docs are accepting new Medi-Cal patients. So that means only about 20,000 PCP’s. And that’s assuming they will continue to contract for this patient population. Many probably won’t under ObamaCare’s new reimbursement rates. Do the math. It means that each PCP would have to add 100 break-even patients to his/her caseloads. Good luck with that!

    And with our open borders and Calfornia refusing to deport jail illegals (who occupy 30% of the jail beds in California) unless they’ve committed heinous serious VIOLENT felonies (non-violent felonies get tossed back into our neighborhoods) our already record poverty rates ranked #1 in the nation can only surge higher. Which means more poor people will need free health care. Which means your insurance rates go up to pay for them.

    I don’t think the bleeding hearts think this stuff through. It must be a knee-jerk response from the liberal playbook.

    ObamaCare is a train wreck in motion for California. We’ve become a perpetual magnet for the poor when we’ve already hit the saturation point, based on the latest Census Bureau data. Why? There are carrots everywhere! Why wouldn’t foreign indigents with no hope come to California?

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 9 December, 2013, 13:39

      And what makes an editorialist’s viewpoint any more credible or valid than my barber’s, my butcher’s or that of the panhandler that I donated a dollar to the other day? Because he works for a newpaper I’m supposed to give him an upgrade in consideration? lol.

      I look at the facts. The evidence. Not talking points of what coulda, woulda or shoulda happened – or what WILL happen. And the facts clearly point to ObamaCare as a trainwreck in motion.

      Anytime lawmakers have to lie to pass a mandatory law that impacts ALL American’s lives in such a comprehensive way that can’t get rescinded once those lies get exposed – watch out.

      When lying to the people is an acceptable way to get laws enacted we are no longer a lawful or a civilized society.

      Reply this comment
      • S Moderation Douglas
        S Moderation Douglas 9 December, 2013, 16:41

        Well, for one thing, he’s a doctor (semi-retired). And MY barber agrees with him, for what that’s worth. 

        And there is not really a lot of facts and evidence out there. Just talking points and propaganda.  On both sides. 

        One more time: 

        extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. 

        The head of CMA did not claim OR verify that 70% of doctors would boycott Covered California. He only said “it doesn’t surprise me…”

        The ESTIMATE appears to come from “Independent insurance brokers who work with both insurance companies and doctor networks ”

        No names? No details? No substantiation?

        And what exactly does “boycotting the exchange” mean?

        Kaiser Permanente sells insurance on the exchange, and has about 17,000 physicians. Are 70% of them “boycotting the exchange”?

        Or are the “insurance brokers” just “estimating” the doctors in private practices?

        Are these doctors shunning the exchanges totally, or just not taking Medicaid or Medicare patients? How exactly do you “boycott” anyway. 

        Details, please, and substantiation. 

        I realize a lot of doctors are not pleased with the whole concept, but NO ONE is really sure how this will play out over the next few years. 

        There are a glut of anecdotal stories on both sides. 

        Still skeptical. 

        Reply this comment

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