Barack Obama’s infamous 21 words about keeping our health insurance and doctors were more than just remarkable political lies that ended his public credibility. They’ve become insidious corrupters of the entire political and journalistic infrastructure that echoed the lies and that’s left struggling to prop up the president and itself.
Consider the assorted contortions and embarrassment of, respectively, a Colorado U.S. Senator, a Michigan U.S. Representative, a Colorado regulator, and journalists ranging from a Denver web pundit to the New York Times.
Sen. Mark Udall, facing reelection this year, was nailed on tape echoing the Big Lie. He’s not very comfortable about it, particularly because some 330,000 Coloradans received the cancelation notices he promised they wouldn’t. Udall’s response was to lean on state insurance regulators to change their numbers by changing their vocabulary. He argued plans shouldn’t be counted as canceled if a person was eligible to buy a pricier ACA compliant plan.
The insurance regulator resisted Udall’s creative writing. Then things got interesting.
Todd Shepherd, of the local news site CompleteColorado.com, obtained and reported on internal state emails of Jo Donlin, the responsible insurance official, stating Udall’s office wanted to “trash” the state’s numbers, contacted her repeatedly, and when she refused to bend, she received a “very hostile” call from Udall’s chief of staff. One can only infer Donlin’s reasons for documenting the pressure she felt.
Udall’s interference prompted demands for more information and for an investigation into his conduct. Almost instantly, Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Affairs, which oversees the Division of Insurance, issued a statement claiming a "neutral and objective panel" investigated the matter and determined Udall’s office did nothing improper and there was no intimidation.