April 24, 2014

JAMES TARANTO: ‘A Lot of Misinformation:’ Defending ObamaCare, Sen. Shaheen gets defensive. Well, wouldn’t you?

Jeanne Shaheen, the senior senator from New Hampshire, won her seat by defeating a Republican incumbent in 2008. She was thought to have a safe seat this year, and most polls and observers still give her an edge, if a tenuous one, over likely GOP challenger Scott Brown.

But she has a problem. Like every other Democrat who was in the Senate in 2009, she cast the deciding vote that caused the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to become law. The Granite State is nobody’s idea of an ObamaCare success story. It is one of only two states (with West Virginia) in which only one insurance company sells medical policies on the ObamaCare exchange.

As The Wall Street Journal reported in February, premiums tend to be higher in jurisdictions–a total of 515 counties in 15 of the 36 states on the federal exchange–with a lone insurer. As we noted in January, the absence of alternatives in New Hampshire means that some policyholders in some parts of the state have to drive long distances to get to a hospital that is on the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield coverage network.

Not surprisingly, Shaheen–whose first name is pronounced “gene,” not “genie”–is facing hard questions from constituents suffering under the new health-care regime. Her approach to answering them seems an unpromising one. It is to suggest that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Yeah, that’s especially weak coming from a Senator. And even weaker coming from one who voted for ObamaCare. Plus:

It is true that there’s been a lot of deliberate misinformation about ObamaCare. Example: “If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. If you’ve got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor.” That was Barack Obama in July 2009.

Here’s another example:

My understanding . . . is that–and I know this is true of the bill that has come out of the committee in the Senate–if you have health coverage that you like you can keep it. As I said, you may have missed my remarks at the beginning of the call, but one of the things I that I said as a requirement that I have for supporting a bill is that if you have health coverage that you like you should be able to keep that. . . . Under ever [sic] scenario that I’ve seen, if you have health coverage that you like, you get to keep it.

A lot of misinformation indeed. That was Jeanne Shaheen in August 2009, responding to a constituent named Emil in another telephone town hall. The Washington Examiner’s Byron York noted it (along with similar comments from 26 other then or future Senate Democrats) in November, and via a Google search we found it on Shaheen’s official Senate website.

So Shaheen was an active participant, if perhaps an unwitting one, in a massive consumer fraud at the expense of many of her own constituents. No wonder she’s so defensive.

If we lie to the government, it’s a felony. If the government lies to us, it’s politics as usual.

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