WashPost Deploys Selective Quotation to Distort Key GOP Criticism of ObamaCare Delay

March 5th, 2014 5:00 PM

The Obama administration is preparing to put in place yet another delay in ObamaCare, forestalling a wave of insurance policy cancelations that are mandated by law in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In doing so, some of the negative repercussions of ObamaCare will be delayed until well after the November 2014 midterm election.

The political journalists at the Washington Post are no fools, they must surely realize the nakedly political nature of the move, but the reader would not get that from Amy Goldstein's coverage in March 5 print article, which editors buried at the item at the bottom of page A6 with the bland headline, "Americans may be able to keep old health-care plans longer under rewrite of rules." What's more, Goldstein waited until the eighth and final paragraph to give a fleeting, misleading account of Republican criticism:

Congressional Republicans who have been trying to derail the law did not wait for the administration’s announcement to begin their criticism. “Another day, another delay,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (Mich.) said, adding that “unilateral delays and administrative changes to the . . . law have become commonplace.”

Of course, that's a very selective quoting from Rep. Upton's statement which avoided the heart of the criticism: the Obama administration is acting above the law by ignoring the very plain requirements the ACA places on the administration to faithfully execute the law as written.

Here's Upton's March 4 statement in full, with the portion underlined being the portion which the Post excerpted and the portion in bold being the heart of Upton's criticism:

Another day, another delay. Unilateral delays and administrative changes to the president’s signature health care law have become commonplace, and not surprisingly, reports indicate another delay is imminent. The Hill reports, “As early as this week, according to two sources, the White House will announce a new directive allowing insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet Obamacare’s minimum coverage requirements.” As the health care law became a reality last fall, millions of Americans were suddenly faced with unexpected and unwelcome cancelation notices despite the president’s repeated promise, “If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

What’s worse is it was not until a strong bipartisan majority voiced their support for Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton’s (R-MI) Keep Your Health Plan Act that the White House did anything to address the president’s infamous broken promise. In fact, the White House threatened to veto the legislation, which was approved by a vote of 261 to 157.

“Another end run around Congress does not excuse the administration from its countless broken health care promises,” said Upton. “The administration’s priorities are upside down, putting political considerations ahead of protecting the American people. This is not leadership. The president should work with Congress as the Founding Fathers designed to protect all the families and businesses hurt by this law. It is time for fairness for all.”

Upton's point, and it's a criticism echoed by other Republicans, is that President Obama simply cannot pull out a pen and cross out and rewrite portions of ObamaCare as he sees fit. The president's approach violates the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and our system of separation of powers. It also threatens the rule of law since the president is acting as though he were not bound by the law but that the law is malleable to his will.

The Washington Post did a great disservice to its readers by failing to accurately report the nature of Republican criticism of the move, as well as by failing to exercise any skepticism about the nakedly political nature of throwing up such a delay in a crucial election year for Mr. Obama's congressional allies.