Remember when George W. Bush was intensely criticized in 2004 for using a couple of seconds of footage from the World Trade Center attacks in a campaign commercial? He was "exploiting" 9/11. Let's talk about an example of really crass exploitation which the press has largely ignored.
As reported by Politico's Joseph Delreal, recently elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's daughter Chiara recently opened up "about her struggles with depression and substance abuse and for her decision to seek treatment." White House National Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, "in a statement issued by the White House," praised "her and the entire de Blasio family for addressing this important public health issue." Fair enough. But he went one step further, as seen after the jump:
In addition to applauding Chiara de Blasio, Kerlikowske also pointed to provisions in the Affordable Care Act that expand mental health coverage.
“[B]y expanding access to treatment to millions through the Affordable Care Act, we’ll be giving many more a chance to follow Chiara’s footsteps,” the statement read. “By giving the millions of Americans in recovery a voice, we’re making real progress to end discrimination, stigma, and other obstacles to recovery that hinder our ability to make America healthier and stronger.”
Capitalizing on a teenager's decision to share her personal story to promote the supposed wonders of a law which forces people who use it to pay thousands of dollars in deductibles before they get anything beyond preventative treatment is crass with a capital C.
"Mental health and substance abuse treatment" is among the "Ten Essential Benefits" health plans must cover starting January 1st — whether or not those seeking insurance wish to have such coverage. Its inclusion is one of the bigger reasons why Obamacare plans are so expensive and often have poorer overall coverage than supposedly "substandard" individual market plans. Obamacare is inflicting plenty of stress and mental anguish on Americans even before it officially takes effect.
An indication that Kerlikowske's opportunism was way over the top lies in the fact that related lengthy stories at both the Associated Press and CNN fail to mention that he brought up the Affordable Care Act. The related TV report at CNN did not mention the White House's statement.
I'd say that administration-protecting reporters Jonathan Lemire and Brian Koenig, respectively, recognized that the White House's attempt to jump on Chiara de Blasio's back to promote Obamacare was beyond the pale. George W. Bush was President when 9/11 happened, and was more than entitled to pictorially refer to it in his campaign and to let voters decide whether his response was appropriate. The Affordable Care Act had nothing to do with helping Chiara de Blasio.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.