Topics: Obamacare

Virginia congressman and California journalist embarrassed in defending Obamacare

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Beltway Confidential,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Obamacare,Darrell Issa,Health Care Exchanges

Want to know the toughest job in America? Two sad sacks — one a congressman, the other a journalist — demonstrate that it's probably defending Obamacare.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., tried during Thursday's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing to refute testimony from multiple witnesses about the many ways Obamacare is causing a shortage of health care providers, especially doctors.

As the Washington Examiner's Susan Crabtree reported on PennAve, Connolly said Democrats on the committee "could have chosen our [own group of doctors], and we could ask you to wear the white coat and could get a very different story."

At that point, committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., displayed "a powerpoint slide of Connolly's official website from 2010 in which he promised that the Affordable Care Act would bring down premiums for families and small businesses." Similar scenes will happen repeatedly between now and next November.

Journalist makes it up

Then there's Los Angeles Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik. Name sound familiar? It should, as a few years back, Hiltzik's editors took away his column.

Why? In 2006, Hiltzik was caught using fake names to post comments praising his own work and attacking his critics.

It didn't help that, according to the New York Times, he had previously been caught reading colleagues' email without their permission.

Some people never learn

Hiltzik got his column back in 2008 and more recently has turned it into a reliable and aggressive agit-prop platform for Obamacare.

Yesterday, he claimed -- falsely -- that Examiner senior investigative reporter Richard Pollock "revised his story" about California doctors refusing to participate in Obamacare's Covered California exchange.

The "revision," according to Hiltzik, was from saying doctors are "boycotting" Obamacare to saying their refusal to participate was a "spontaneous" movement.

But Pollock never characterized the doctors' actions as a boycott. That was how independent insurance agents he quoted described those actions. They, not Pollock, estimated that 70 percent of them were refusing to join Covered California.

Story was NOT revised

If anything, Pollock's second story reaffirmed and deepened his first story's description of the rebellion among California doctors against Obamacare. He got similar responses at 15 other locations around the nation.

Worse, Hiltzik criticized Pollock for quoting the immediate past president of the California Medical Association, who said he "wasn't surprised" that many of his colleagues weren't participating in the exchange.

Then two paragraphs further, Hiltzik quoted a CMA spokesman saying "we have no idea how many doctors are participating. We don't collect that data."

Obviously, if CMA has "no idea," then CMA isn't a credible source for refuting a doctor who professes not to be surprised by the actions of an unspecified number of his colleagues.

Might be time for Hiltzik's editors to take away his column. Again.

On today's washingtonexaminer.com

Editorial: Benghazi shows why the FOIA needs some teeth.

Not-So-Friendly Skies, day five: Airline industry faces immense problems but there are solutions.

Ron Arnold: Big Green's death grip on fisheries policy must be broken.

Zack Colman: U.S. oil industry poised to move into Mexico after reform vote.

Joel Gehrke: Liberals discuss need to end "Christian liberty" to affirm religious freedom.

Sean Higgins: PolitiFact rewrites its own history in Obamacare "Lie of the Year" decision.

In other news

The Washington Post: As House passes budget deal, Boehner criticizes Tea Party.

USA Today: Low ratings, high expectations for GOP in 2014.

ABC News: Huge drop in homicides across America.

The New York Times: Tempers flare as new rules put strain on the Senate.

Time Magazine: Gun-control activists reboot.

CNN: U.S. seeks spy edge with new stealth drone.

Lefty Playbook

Talking Points Memo: Inside a disgraced congressman's floating party palace.

Mother Jones: The budget deal is a big win for the Pentagon.

Huffington Post: Stanley Fischer will please centrists, but he's the wrong man for the Fed.

Bonus must-read

The Nation: A cruel, irresponsible and dysfunctional budget deal.

Righty Playbook

Hot Air: White House press corps flips out over access.

Powerline: Obamacare, for "piece" of mind.

Washington Free Beacon: Chinese naval vessel tries to force U.S. ship to stop in international waters.

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: A splash or a wave for the GOP in 2014 Senate races.

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