Poynter Offers Media Guide to Gloss Over Millions of ObamaCare's Victims
Because the media are as desperate as Obama to see ObamaCare succeed, the faulty federal website is getting all kinds of attention. One thing that isn't, though, is that millions among the working and middle class are losing insurance they are happy with and seeing their monthly premiums spike, sometimes by as much as 150%.
You would think this brutal reality sucker-punching so many among The 99% would be a major media story. But to protect ObamaCare and its namesake, it is not. And over at the journalist site Poynter, The Washington Post's Sarah Kliff published a rather chilling Style Guide on how the media can continue to spew ObamaCare happy talk while ignoring or dismissing the millions of ObamaCare victims
Kliff's article is published under the Orwellian title: "How to avoid mistakes in covering the Affordable Care Act." There are five points in the article, and without saying so, Kliff's second point offers the media a primer on how to write around the fact that ObamaCare is breaking every major promise Barack Obama made to the working and middle class: I won’t raise your taxes. If you like your insurance you can keep it. After health reform is the law of the land, your premium costs will decrease.
Here is how Kliff suggests her media colleagues compare "premiums from before and after the health care law."
The health care law will dramatically upend the individual insurance market beginning Jan. 1. That makes comparing premiums from before the health law to those offered afterwards a bit like comparing apples to oranges — or even apples to steak.
Immediately, Kliff creates a false a premise that completely ignores Obama's broken promises and worse, the damage premium increases are having on the finances of millions of everyday Americans. Basically, Kliff is informing the media that the ObamaCare victims aren't the real story because what is done is done -- we have already burned the village to save the village. Time to move on to our Brave New World:
Here’s why: The health care law makes four big changes to the individual insurance market. First, it requires health insurance plans to cover all subscribers regardless of whether they have any pre-existing health conditions. This will likely increase premiums, as insurers will have to accept sick patients who, right now, they reject.
Like a cold bureaucrat, Kliff stuffs the suffering of millions into one chirpy, matter-of-fact sentence: "This will likely increase premiums[.]"
Yes. Yes, it will -- on millions of middle class families who have just had a grenade thrown into their lives by a president who repeatedly and relentlessly promised he would do the exact opposite. Does "likely increase premiums" adequately describe thousands of dollars a year that might have otherwise gone to a better standard of living or retirement and college savings?
Third, insurance companies are required to cover 10 categories of benefits, like maternity care and hospital visits. Known as the “essential health benefits,” this set of health care services is generally thought to be more robust than what individual market plans cover now. This policy will probably nudge up premiums just a bit.
"Nudge premiums up a bit?" That is just a bit anti-science.
Using just one word -- "robust" -- Kliff suggests to her media colleagues that they continue to gloss over the fact that these 10 "essential health benefits" are not all essential and contribute greatly to the spike in premium costs. This "robust" coverage is also the very reason millions (the CBO predicts up to 11 million) have or will lose the health insurance Obama promised them they could keep. Simply put, if your current policy isn't "robust" enough for the federal government, it has been or will soon be cancelled.
And now, simply because the government says you have to (whether you need them or not), you are paying for "essentials" such as vision, dental, and contraception -- all of which
are were affordable in the free market. You are also paying for pediatric services, maternity and newborn care, and mental health and substance abuse treatment -- services millions neither want nor need.
Fourth and lastly, the health law includes subsidies for low- or middle-income people to purchase health insurance. This will likely decrease premiums, as it provides financial help for those buying their own coverage.
It is fascinating that Kliff goes out of her way to point to the subsidies some will receive in an article that coldly wrist-flicks the millions of working and middle-class ObamaCare victims who are paying for those subsidies through crippling premium spikes.
This closing paragraph, especially the part about the "market of tomorrow" and "larger suite of benefits" sounds like something right out of a 1950s corporate newsreel:
Taken together, these suite of four changes make the insurance market of tomorrow different than what exists right now. It’s one where insurers have to take all consumers — and will have to provide a larger suite of benefits. Many shoppers will get financial help. This makes the market very different than what exists right now, and any comparisons between premiums of the past and future extremely difficult.
I encourage you to read all of Kliff's article. It is not anything close to objective journalism. It is pure government spin -- a cold, calculating style guide on how to describe a human disaster as something warm and beautiful.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC