Try typing "Obamacare" into Google, and you'll find that the first entry is now the Obama administration's www.healthcare.gov. If you don't particularly like that result, you'll probably hate the fact that you're paying for it.
You'll get the same paid-for result if you type in "Obamacare facts," "Obamacare summary," "Obamacare info," "Obamacare overview," "Obamacare questions," "Obamacare explanation," "Obamacare basics," "Obamacare pros and cons," "Obamacare and elderly," and even "Obamacare and abortion." For each of these search terms, and many others, the Obama administration's site comes up first, as a paid entry. But it doesn’t come up if you type in "ObamaCare repeal."
Politico's Ben Smith, in a post entitled "HHS Buys 'ObamaCare,'" quotes an official from Secretary Kathleen Sebelius's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), who confirms that this clear attempt to influence what Americans read about Obamacare does, indeed, represent your tax dollars at work: 'We are using a bunch of search term[s] to help point people to HealthCare.gov. [It's] [p]art of our online efforts to help get accurate information to people about the new law (i.e. [we] also use Facebook, Twitter, blogs and webcasts),' an HHS official confirmed by e-mail."
What "accurate information" might that be, you ask?
[It is] f the same sort that President Obama has supplied all along -- such as that Obamacare would lower health costs (only 17 percent of Americans believe this), increase the quality of care (only 22 percent believe this), and reduce deficits (only 17 percent believe this).
You won't find anything on the HHS site about how the Medicare chief actuary projects that Obamacare would bend the cost curve upward by $311 billion by 2019 in relation to costs in the absence of Obamacare; about how the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that, by 2016, in the non-group market, the average American family's health care premiums under Obamacare would increase by $2,100 per year in relation to what those premiums would be without Obamacare; about how the CBO projects that Obamacare would cost over $2 trillion in its real first decade (2014 to 2023) alone; or about how the administration's internal ("midrange") estimates are that more than half of all employer-provided health plans wouldn't be grandfathered in under Obamacare.
Bill Kristol at the Weekly Standard reports (and this time, I'm assured he isn't kidding around) that the House is scheduled to vote to repeal Obamacare on January 12th. As I mentioned earlier, the case for total repeal is strong -- and that was before I saw this story:
In other words, an early "tangible benefit" of Obamacare is already being underutilized by the general public, yet worries about federal funding shortfalls are already cropping up. Does this Washington Post report qualify as "accurate information" in the White House?
An early feature of the new health-care law that allows people who are already sick to get insurance to cover their medical costs isn't attracting as many customers as expected.In the meantime, in at least a few states, claims for medical care covered by the "high-risk pools" are proving very costly, and it is an open question whether the $5 billion allotted by Congress to start up the plans will be sufficient.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography