Economics Healthcare Politics

Oregon Bans Criticism of Obamacare

We’ve seen time and again what great lengths liberals will go to to silence their opponents. Apparently, they’ll go even further to protect Obamacare.

The state most likely to be named the country’s worst Obamacare exchange is reportedly banning its partners from saying almost anything negative about it in a broad confidentiality agreement.

Yep. You read that right. Oregon’s Obamacare exchange (Cover Oregon) crafted a contract that forces community partners to sign a “non-disparagement” agreement when signing on with Cover Oregon. The agreement means that community partners could lose their grant money if they happen to make any statements that the Cover Oregon officials believe to be disparaging about Obamacare.

In all practical terms this contract ensures that the government can make sure that these private companies don’t speak out against it. It’s an attack on our right to free speech. Moreover, it’s a form of blackmail. The government is telling these private companies if you want a chance to earn this large amount of money, then you need to sign our agreement and our agreement says – “don’t say anything bad about us.” Blackmail. Plain and simple.

cover-oregon-obamacareLars Larson of the Lars Larson show, a Portland, Oregon based radio program obtained a copy of the “Cover Oregon Community Partner Confidentiality Agreement. “The document bans organizations that promote the exchange and help consumer apply from saying anything “false, misleading, deceptive, libelous, defamatory or obscene.” Community partners are part of an outreach program targeting “hard-to-reach, non-English speaking, geographically isolated, and underserved populations.”

A large portion of these groups would likely be best served through a functioning website, but Cover Oregon’s online enrollment is still not functioning. The state has successfully signed up 44 people since Oct. 1, at a cost of over $300 million dollars, and has now resorted to print applications in light of the site’s ongoing failure.

But Community Partners working with such underserved populations may not be legally able to acknowledge Cover Oregon’s failures, for fear of having grant money taken away.

If state health officials believe a community partner has violated the agreement, Cover Oregon and the Oregon Health Authority are allowed to terminate the grant agreement entirely, at their “sole discretion.”

“I have almost three decades of public service in this state, and I did a lot of legal work for a large agency, and I have never seen anything remotely close to this,” said legal expert Bruce McCain.

“This is a politically-motivated gag order. This is basically a reaction, in my opinion, to the bad press that Cover Oregon’s been getting.”

This is a very dangerous precedent for the state of Oregon to set. This kind of government control smacks of fascist control over businesses and is the kind of regulation that could kill free speech. Contracts like these cannot be allowed to exist simply to do government contract work.

Update: Since this story broke, Cover Oregon has promised to review and change the language in question. 

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com


About the author

Onan Coca

Onan is the Editor-in-Chief at Liberty Alliance media group. He's also the managing editor at Eaglerising.com, Constitution.com and the managing partner at iPatriot.com. You can read more of his writing at Eagle Rising.
Onan is a graduate of Liberty University (2003) and earned his M.Ed. at Western Governors University in 2012. Onan lives in Atlanta with his wife and their three wonderful children.

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