The Corner

The Sellout: American Libraries to Promote Obamacare

The American Library Association announced on Sunday that public libraries across the country will be partnering with the Department of Health and Human Services to help millions of uninsured Americans sign up for Obamacare.

With the emphasis on web-based enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, Americans without computers are at a disadvantage to register for the “reasonable health insurance” that will soon be available to them. And “that is where public libraries come in,” explained American Libraries magazine. In addition to providing computer and Internet access to patrons, librarians will receive training to help people navigate through the various healthcare plans and choose the plan that suits their needs. It has also been suggested that libraries host healthcare-awareness events and hand out information to foster “health care literacy” in the coming months.

The Washington Times reports that up to 17,000 U.S. libraries will be a part of the effort, and that “libraries will be particularly important in conservative states that are not making much effort to promote the health law’s opportunities.” (That’s quite an understatement.)

So the public library – the institution whose foundational principles are the preservation of intellectual freedom and the unbiased promotion of learning – will become politicized to advance the Obama administration’s agenda.  

This agreement between the ALA and the Department of Health and Human Services violates the so-called “Library Bill of Rights,” which declares that “libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues” and that “materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.”  The partnership essentially dictates that librarians blindly lead those seeking healthcare to the welfare fountain and encourage them to drink – no matter the consequences, and no matter the myriad of concerns raised about the program. “All points of view” about the Affordable Care Act will not be represented; the proscribed materials (HealthCare.gov, marketplace.cms.gov, etc.) will clearly not offer true “health care literacy.”

As if the corruption of the library’s time-honored purpose is not enough, the institution won’t even receive a reward for its self-betrayal. Susan Hildreth, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, has stated that “there are no federal funds to support this program.” As libraries already face devastating budget cuts and declines in funding, the initiative to serve as Obamacare’s cheerleader in communities could spell disaster. In addition to spending money to train librarians in their new capacity as healthcare experts, the alliance could alienate patrons who disapprove of the healthcare legislation and cause them to reconsider much-needed donations to their local library as it converts into something like “Obamacare Enrollment Station #1234.”

Walter Cronkite once noted that “whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” Libraries, the time-honored bastions of knowledge and free thought, will now be used to further national ignorance – and at high cost, indeed.

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