Inside the Beltway: Ignoring the obvious about Obamacare

This bombshell news never really got to explode: NBC News’ senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers found buried in the 2010 Obamacare regulations language predicting “a reasonable range for the percentage of individual policies that would terminate is 40 percent to 67 percent.”

Wait, the White House already knew folks would lose their insurance? Surely that’s worth much coverage. But no. A Media Research Center analysis reveals that “this massive, deliberate breach of trust” was given only 21 seconds of airtime on “NBC Nightly News,” tucked at the close of a lesser story, with no follow-up. ABC and CBS completely ignored the revelations.

NBC News buried their own reporter to protect President Obama,” fumes Brent Bozell, founder of the conservative media watchdog. “This sends a clear message to the American people. As far as the liberal broadcast networks are concerned, when Barack Obama lies, it’s not news. What would Richard Nixon have given for a press corps this corrupt?”

THE LEAFINATOR

He is still a movie star, bodybuilder and now-and-then a policy wonk. Now Arnold Schwarzenegger is to become a forest ranger. On Wednesday, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell will swear in the former California governor as the agency’s third honorary ranger during a ceremony at the Department of Agriculture in the nation’s capital.

It’s amazing that Mr. Schwarzenegger beat Al Gore to the post. But he did. The agency loves Ah-nawld for signing the landmark California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 that included a low carbon fuel standard “to make forests and other ecosystems more resilient — more able to recover from the impacts of climate change.” That is what the forest folk say. And the other two honorary rangers? Oddly enough, they are actress Betty White and Rolling Stones keyboard player Chuck Leavell.

Mr. Schwarzenegger, meanwhile, has another agenda while in town. He will also venture to the Capitol for a splashy conference with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid near the now infamous old “Ohio Clock” that was left unwound and eventually stopped during the partial government shutdown. The pair will talk up federal funding for after-school programs. He’ll then meet with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to “discuss this important policy area,” organizers say.

THE LEADING LADY GETS HER SOLO

At long last, the star of this week’s biggest drama steps into the spotlight. When Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius attempts to explain the assorted ailments of the Affordable Care Act before Congress on Wednesday morning, she faces intense scrutiny from lawmakers, along with some very close observers.

“Secretary Sebelius has a critical opportunity to come forward before the congressional committee and tell the truth, take responsibility for this debacle and tell Americans why this program is failing,” says Jay Sekulow. chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice. “The American people are tired of doubletalk, fingerpointing, and excuses. The American people deserve the truth and accountability, and it’s our hope that is what comes out of the hearing.”

And lest we forget, the Capitol Hill stage has already been set. Two Florida Republicans — Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Trey Radel — have introduced the “Delay Until Fully Functional Act,” a bill delaying the individual mandate under Obamacare until six months after the Government Accountability Office certifies that the exchange website is fully functional.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

“Tell us what you’re hearing about Obamacare.”

— A demand from Organizing for America, the aggressive grass-roots advocacy group that grew out of President Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign, to its 13 million-name database.

They are out to help soothe health care ills, indeed. The group launched its own poll Tuesday with five pivotal questions, advising that in the next five months it “will be helping connect millions of Americans with information about Obamacare and how it benefits them.”

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