Co-Opting MLK Day To Sell Obamacare


The progressive left’s solipsistic monopoly on all things equitable and virtuous was in full swing over the weekend, as Health and Human Services Director Kathleen Sebelius rode piggyback on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in order to make a not-so-subtle association between the civil rights leader and ideological support for Obamacare.

Sebelius released a statement late last week that began by praising King not only for his leadership in bringing about a sea change in government’s de facto treatment of black Americans, but also for his “passionate advocacy on behalf of the poor.”

“Dr. King memorably described inequality in health care as the ‘most shocking and inhumane’ form of injustice,” Sebelius wrote. “These words continue to resonate, as there is nothing more essential to opportunity than good health.”

As an aside, here’s an interesting article at The Huffington Post discussing the origins of the King quote Sebelius (like other partisan healthcare reformers before her) used. There’s no reason to believe King did not say this — or some version of it — but it takes a giant leap, both of one’s imagination and one’s conscience, to take these words out of their now-lost context and recast them in a new, obviously partisan, one.

But, of course, Sebelius and the rest of the Barack Obama Administration will presume they have King fully in their ideological corner as the most sacrosanct of endorsers for Obamacare. And that’s obviously a very cynical and hypocritical sort of disservice to the true legacy of a man they all claim to emulate and revere.

The rest of Sebelius’ statement reads like a commercial — which, of course, it is:

Because of the Affordable Care Act, it’s a new day in health care that is bringing new security and opening new doors of opportunity. Across the nation, millions of Americans are signing up for quality, affordable health insurance through the new Health Insurance Marketplace.

Thanks to rights and protections guaranteed by the health care law, millions of individuals no longer have to worry about their coverage running out when they need it most. Insurers can no longer refuse to offer coverage because of a preexisting condition, like high blood pressure, heart disease or asthma. And no woman can be charged more for coverage just because she’s a woman.

As we celebrate the inspirational life of Dr. King, please join us in this historic effort by helping your friends, neighbors, and loved ones get covered through the Marketplace.

Open enrollment continues through March 31 and there are many ways to sign up for a plan: online at; by phone at 1-800-318-2596/TTY 1-855-889-4325, on paper, and through an agent, broker, or issuer. You also can find in-person help in your community at

Whether it comes from the left or the right, can the endless co-opting of King’s name just stop?

Of course that won’t happen. But what can happen is that regular American people deluged by this kind of shameful propaganda can train themselves to recognize it for what it is — and prove its inefficacy by ignoring it.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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