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Betsy McCaughey
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Community Organizations: Obama's Corrupt Power Grab

Comment

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has equipped fellow Democratic lawmakers with an "Affordable Care Act Tool Kit." It reveals the Democratic Party's plan to turn the worthy goal of enrolling the uninsured into a cynical scheme of enrolling Democratic voters. The kit's biggest tool is community organizing.

Obamacare outsources the important job of enrolling the uninsured in health plans, taking it from government and entrusting it to community organizations. Why outsource? Because it eliminates public scrutiny, accountability and the necessity to be nonpartisan. Community activists can say and do things that government employees can't, such as urging people to register as Democrats.

Pelosi's kit reminds Democratic lawmakers to contact Marc Wetherhorn, senior director of advocacy and civic enhancement at the National Association of Community Health Centers. Wetherhorn has developed a program, funded by George Soros' Open Society and other groups, to show community organizers how to integrate voter registration into whatever they're doing, whether it's enrolling people in health care, public housing or food stamps.

There is nothing wrong with encouraging voting. But a government employee (for example, at the DMV) is legally barred from saying you should become a Democrat. A community organizer can say it and will.

Pelosi's kit also refers Democratic lawmakers to Enroll America, a nonprofit that will train community organizers to enroll the uninsured (called navigating). Enroll America will also conduct a national media campaign crafted by Lake Associates, which does political messaging for ACORN (now defunct), MoveOn.org, National Council of La Raza and 39 members of Congress, all Democrats.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is under fire for soliciting donations for Enroll America, and it's no wonder. Enroll America is 100 percent political. Its president is Anne Filipic, worked in the Obama White House, before that at the Democratic National Committee and before managing Obama's 2008 Iowa campaign. Enroll America's staff are campaign veterans with the expertise to convert insurance enrollment into a neighborhood-by-neighborhood campaign to build Democratic Party enrollment.

We the People, who are paying higher premiums, higher taxes and enduring Medicare cutbacks —for the sake of covering the uninsured — should be outraged to see it exploited for partisan purposes.

The Obama health law transforms community organizations into a fifth estate with steady government funding but without government rules.

So far, Sebelius has announced $54 million in navigator grants to community groups and another $150 million for community health centers to hire and train navigators.

Once the exchanges are running, exchange revenues will provide these groups with permanent funding.

This is in addition to more than $100 million a year in "community transformation grants" that HHS is meting out to many of the same groups.

Be on the alert. The Senate immigration bill duplicates the empowerment of community organizations. It's a carbon copy of Obamacare.

The immigration bill (section 2106) outsources the job of guiding aliens through amnesty from the Department of Homeland Security to community organizations. These organizations will get federal grants to screen aliens for eligibility, assist them in documenting their residence, employment and tax history, coordinate applications for family members and apply for waivers where needed. These jobs belong in government. Outsourcing allows them to be politicized.

Section 2531 of the immigration bill even sets up a nonprofit United States Citizenship Foundation (like Enroll America), to "engage in coordinated work" with the federal government. It will develop "citizenship preparation" programs to teach newcomers about American history, the Constitution and civic participation. That job has always been done by the Federal Office of Immigration. Outsourcing it will allow political activists to rewrite America's past and principles with a partisan slant.

Whatever your views on immigration reform or health reform, the cynical exploitation of these issues for partisan advantage is disgusting. Empowering community organizations to indoctrinate millions of people could make it impossible for Republicans to win a national election.

The biggest laugh line at the 2008 Republican National Convention was "community organizer," a reference to candidate Barack Obama that evoked howls of laughter. But it looks like the president is trying to have the last laugh, using community organizations to tilt the scales against a fair two-party system.

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York, founder of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and the author of "Beating Obamacare." She reads the law so you don't have to. Visit www.betsymccaughey.com. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

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