Ugly dust up over GOP Assembly health care site

by Katy Grimes | December 6, 2013 4:05 pm

The California State Assembly website, Covering Health Care: A California Resource Guide[1], 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[2] headline says.

The site, launched last August, provides information and an overview of the Affordable Care Act, and Covered California[3], the state’s Obamacare health exchange. It has links to information for people who already have health insurance[4], and for those who don’t[5]. 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[6] under Obamacare,  and has information for younger adults[7], as well as a page dedicated to seniors[8].

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[10], 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[11]. “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 [12]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[14] ‘private health insurance websites that misled Californians by imitating Covered California,’” the San Francisco Chronicle Politics Blog reported[15]. “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.[16]”

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.[17]

MSNBC reported, “A bogus health care website, courtesy of the GOP[18].”

The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Rep. Janice Hahn calls on state GOP to take down ‘fake’ Obamacare site[19].” said, “California GOP creates phony health care website to confuse residents[20].”

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton said[21], “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 [22]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[23])
12/4/13, 5:15 AM[24]
Sabrina Lockhart and Zimmerman are GOP heroes, one just wants minorities to die and the other actually kills them


Tim (@jefsauce[25])
12/5/13, 11:32 AM[26]
@SDLockhart[27] Hope you’re having fun making it harder for people to get insured, you sick weirdo.



Kate (@AKRNHSNC[28])
12/4/13, 4:46 AM[29]
@SDLockhart[27] 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[30])
12/3/13, 5:20 PM[31]
.@SDLockhart[27] How many ppl will die because of the faked health exchange site set up in YOUR name, Sabrina Lockhart?…[32]
David Valenzuela (@Yecora51[33])
12/3/13, 7:48 PM[34]…[35] if you want yo contact the [email protected][36]


  1. Covering Health Care: A California Resource Guide:
  2. website home page:
  3. Covered California:
  4. have health insurance:
  5. those who don’t:
  6. 18 separate tax increases:
  7. information for younger adults:
  8. dedicated to seniors:
  9. [Image]:
  10. Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway:
  11. Ray Appleton:
  12. press release :
  13. [Image]:
  14. Kamala Harris shut down 10 fake:
  15. reported:
  16. California Democrats up pressure on Republican health care site.:
  17. California Republicans Defend Fake Obamacare Site.:
  18. A bogus health care website, courtesy of the GOP:
  19. Rep. Janice Hahn calls on state GOP to take down ‘fake’ Obamacare site:,0,722113.story#axzz2mjcTBC6U
  20. California GOP creates phony health care website to confuse residents: http://California%20GOP%20creates%20phony%20health%20care%20website%20to%20confuse%20residents%20
  21. Democratic Party Chairman John Burton said:
  22. Covering Health Care California :
  23. @CopyJim:
  24. 12/4/13, 5:15 AM:
  25. @jefsauce:
  26. 12/5/13, 11:32 AM:
  27. @SDLockhart:
  28. @AKRNHSNC:
  29. 12/4/13, 4:46 AM:
  30. @mfpseth:
  31. 12/3/13, 5:20 PM:
  33. @Yecora51:
  34. 12/3/13, 7:48 PM:
  36. [email protected]: mailto:[email protected]

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