(Dec. 6 - by Connie Conway, Special to The Bee)
The Sacramento Bee editorial board took issue with Assembly Republicans' website, www.coveringhealthcareca.com, ("Assembly GOP sows health care confusion," Editorials, Dec. 5). However, I take issue with the board's criticism.
Our website simply provides Californians with facts about federal health care law, similar to information already reported in The Bee. Bee stories have highlighted the cancellation of more than 1 million insurance policies because state officials decided not to honor President Barack Obama's promise that Americans who like their health care plans can keep them.
The newspaper also reported on the rising cost of health care and interviewed a Californian whose premiums will increase by nearly 76 percent. Despite The Bee's claim that the website tries to "scare the bejesus" out of people, our site highlights positive aspects of the new federal health care law, such as ending the "donut hole" gap in prescription drug coverage for seniors and allowing young adults to stay on their parents' plan until age 26.
The editorial also advocates that our site be taken down and that Californians rely only on the Covered California website for information about the Affordable Care Act. This would leave consumers without important information.
Covered California is not a general information website on the health reform law. Its purpose is to allow consumers to purchase health insurance or to sign up eligible Californians for Medi-Cal. Its focus is not on the ACA and its impact on those with insurance, seniors with Medicare, or businesses.
Accessing affordable health care is a common goal. However, Assembly Republicans have opposed the ACA because we believe it will cause major disruptions in the health care marketplace, will not control rising health care costs and will reduce consumer choice. Nonetheless, we have made sure that our constituents have the tools to understand their obligations under the health reform law.
The failure or success of Obamacare will play out in the marketplace, but shrill calls for censorship have no place in politics. The editorial board surely has a special appreciation for the First Amendment and its role as the cornerstone of our democracy. This is why I'm confident the board will understand when we stand by our website. And even though The Bee doesn't like the website, we're keeping it.
Assemblywoman Connie Conway of Tulare is Assembly Republican leader.