When it Comes to Obamacare, the Media Coverage Has Been Nothing but a Sideshow

obama-gesturesI think I’ve had about all I can take as it relates to the media’s coverage of “Obamacare.”  It’s been by far some of the worst, most sensationalized, ratings driven garbage I think I’ve ever witnessed.

First, I’m not sure what it is these people thought “Obamacare” was.  Anyone who believed every single insurance plan would remain intact simply because President Obama said so was simply being naive.

And I’m still waiting for the reporting to begin where they call out the insurance companies for canceling these policies.  These companies had two choices:

  1. Add the “Obamacare” requirements to existing plans.
  2. Cancel plans and force people to purchase new ones.

Judging by the backlash we’ve seen the last few weeks, it’s pretty obvious what most of these insurance companies have chosen to do.  So, that’s President Obama’s fault?  For over 3 years Americans knew what requirements the Affordable Care Act had, yet they stayed on plans that didn’t provide those benefits.  Again, that’s President Obama’s fault?

And even if people want to say that the law was too confusing for most Americans to understand, it shouldn’t have been for health insurance companies, right?  For over 3 years these insurance companies knew what requirements the Affordable Care Act mandated, yet chose to keep offering substandard plans—which are now being cancelled.  But, of course, that’s President Obama’s fault too.

What I’m getting at is the hot and easy target to focus on in all of this has been President Obama and the cancelled plans.  It drives ratings.  And that’s what most of the media seems determined to dwell on.

But I rarely seen an instance where these “reporters” are calling out insurance companies for artificially driving up the rate of many policies simply because they can.

Sure, I’ve seen plenty of stories picked up by the media where people claim they had policies that met all of “Obamacare’s” requirements—yet their policies were still cancelled.  How exactly is that the fault of President Obama?  Someone’e health insurance provider cancels their plan that met the Affordable Care Act’s requirements, but that’s somehow the fault of the president?

Where’s all the reporting on the greed of these health insurance providers?  Outside of left-leaning websites or blogs, I’m not seeing much — if any.

And where are the people who’ve had their premiums drop?  I can’t post a story about “Obamacare” where I don’t get plenty of people telling me about how their insurance coverage has improved and their premiums have gone down.

But I can’t say I’ve seen these people on Fox News, ABC News, CBS News or CNN.  And if they have been on there, they sure haven’t been the feature story.

Where are the millions of people who are no longer discriminated against because they have a pre-existing condition?  Where are the millions of 23-26 year olds who are still on their parents insurance thanks to “Obamacare?”   Can’t say I’ve seen many of them on these “major media” outlets.

And where’s the headline, “95% of Americans with health insurance unaffected by Obamacare requirements,” because that should be the real headline here.  Ninety-five percent of Americans with health insurance already met the health care law’s requirements.  All this “outrage” concerns about 5% of the population with health insurance.

So let me break this down:

  • Millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions no longer face discrimination when trying to purchase health insurance.
  • Millions of Americans age 23-26 are allowed to stay on their parents health insurance longer.
  • Some Americans will pay less for health insurance.

But the law is horrific because:

  • Health insurance companies continued to offer substandard policies that they’re now canceling.
  • Five percent of Americans who have insurance are being forced to buy actual health insurance, not just the illusion of insurance.
  • Health insurance companies are artificially inflating premiums simply because they can.
  • Some Americans are having their premiums go up.

Oh, and let’s not forget the claim that, “The hike in premiums is the result of Americans having to ‘subsidize’ health insurance for other Americans.”

First, that’s what health insurance is.  It’s millions of Americans paying into a “pool of money” to lessen the out of pocket cost for health services.  Whenever you pay for insurance, you’re always subsidizing the cost of more “at risk” individuals.  My driving habits haven’t changed, nor have I had any claims or tickets, yet my auto insurance has gone up the last couple of years.  Why?  I guess I should blame the government which forces me to have car insurance, not greedy insurance companies or other bad drivers.

Second, insurance companies have already had to cover people with pre-existing conditions for the last couple of years.  If they’re jacking up premiums now, it has nothing to do with that.  They’re simply using that as an excuse to gouge customers.

Also, where’s the reporting that this just might have been the plan of the health insurance industry all along?  Many of them opposed “Obamacare.”  What better way to try to get people on their side than by dropping customers, then jacking up their premiums when they sign up for new coverage, all while feeding into the GOP narrative that it’s President Obama’s fault?

And for exactly whom were health insurance premiums going down prior to the ACA?  Can’t say I recall the media flocking to the stories of the millions of Americans getting dropped from their health insurance every year because they dared to actually need it—which led to their providers dropping them.  Can’t say I recall the near 24 hour coverage on the millions of Americans who experienced huge rate hikes every year before health insurance companies were “forced to subsidize millions of Americans.”

Now, I’m not saying that “Obamacare” doesn’t have (and hasn’t had) its fair share of problems.  What I’m saying is that this over the top media coverage of the issues its had is often as artificially inflated as many of these hikes in premiums some Americans are facing.

The media seems to only be reporting one side of the story because that’s what’s driving ratings.  Fear and anger — two of the strongest emotions that lure people in and the two emotions most of these media outlets have seized on during these last few weeks.

The reporting of “Obamacare” the last few weeks has been nothing but a media sideshow.  These “reporters” have simply seized on whatever story brings them the best headlines instead of reporting both the good and bad of the Affordable Care Act.  And that’s a damn shame that deserves to be called out.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Joe needsinsurance

    Explaining why it is that insurance companies canceled exiting plans and raised prices doesn’t do anything but try to justify how the president intentionally misled the public to sell Obamacare. You can blame the media for the hype all day, but it doesn’t change the fact that the president made a big mistake and lost a lot of his supporter trust.

    • Laurie

      So Joe needsinsurance….have you gone to the exchange and priced any plans? Did you lose your junk insurance and now you are mad? Obama may have made a MISTAKE in saying, if you like it, you can keep it, but as the article says, the law has rules the insurance companies needed to abide by and they chose to freak people out by canceling policies rather than transition people into new plans. I too, am so sick of the unjustified endless horror hype. It’s been 44 days into the law and every day it’s a freakout circus in the media of the failure of the ACA. Come on now people, get a grip…43 days for MAJOR health reform to insure millions of unisured or underinsured Americans. Have a little patience. The Republicans have been so unhelpful with their daily sabotage for the last few years also. Calm down, slow down and it will either work itself out or not but stop with the drama and the undermining already!

    • rebmoma

      Remarkable how taking the President’s words out of context justifies so much anger. He didn’t lie, but he was only talking about employer based plans. To contrast it with the prevalent lie that the government would “take over” health insurance. So many idiots, so little time.

      • Joseph Buckenberger

        And what kind of dope are you on?

    • Joseph Buckenberger

      Amen Brother!

  • motherunit

    I can’t believe people would whine about losing their junk insurance. The ACA is requiring insurance companies to offer policies that actually work, actually pay for health services. Until that kicked in, companies could offer a policy that really covered next to nothing and wasn’t there when you really needed it. Of course it was cheap, but any price is too much when you’re getting essentially no coverage. Find some people who were burned by that old system and learned the hard way.
    Me, I have a part-time job with no benefits. I’m over 60 and have some pre-existing conditions. I was able to go on the exchange and find a decent policy for about $120/mo after my tax credits. I’m delighted with “Obamacare” and wish stories like mine got more media exposure. People are being misled.

    • Pipercat

      Even on the Federal Exchanges, I checked out what was available, including credits, then looked down at my feet and noticed I was no longer wearing my socks!!!!

      • ditomagik

        I doubt you checked anything, Otherwise you would not be writing this. I’ve spent quite a bit of time helping people look up what changes they may see by signing into the Federal Exchanges, and I have yet to see anyone who was not already in the best situation, or who couldn’t hugely benefit. Do yourself a favor. Check it out for real this time.

      • Pipercat

        The English language is a funny thing. So full of flowery and expressive words, phrases and meanings. The phrase, “getting blown out of my socks” is one of those expressive adages that creates a feeling of being totally, pleasantly, amazed. I had my eye on a gold plan, with subsidies, will create a premium that is 15% of the premium I paid for one of those crybaby policies that was full of conditions and worthless drug coverage. So, I hate to tell ya, I’ll do myself the favor and sign up for the gold plan sans your encouragement…

      • Joseph Buckenberger

        What kind of drugs are You on?

      • Pipercat

        None, I don’t have a prescription drug plan, yet! Oh, how stupid can one be if you cannot find a gold plan on the exchange, that even without the subsidies, is way better deal than a bullshit plan that only extracts premium payments in return for nothing. Posting around horseshit comments like yours only makes me laugh…

      • Joseph Buckenberger

        Yea. Right.

      • Joseph Buckenberger

        Obviously on the Dole

    • Superwife

      Can you please call the news media and share – because they don’t believe that you exist.

    • Joseph Buckenberger

      Mine worked just fine and then was yanked out from under me. Replacement cost for the same policy +60%

    • Maxine Blanchette

      The media don’t tell the real stories about ACA it’s like they want it to fail, and some of these people are brain wash by the republicans. The republicans don’t care about these people they care about the kick back money from the insurance company. One day they will reap for what they sow.

  • jan375

    I think the one interview that made me the most angry was a woman complaining she had to pay for maternity care. “Like I am going to get pregnant at 58.” was her lament. Guess she doesn’t realize that she has been paying for the maternity care of hundreds of thousands of young women who give birth because a huge number of pregnant women are on Medicaid.

  • estfar

    Well said. My friend died of cancer five years ago. And she might have died anyway, but the fact that her insurance company debated whether to cover treatment she desperately needed, sped up her death. I want people to talk about the greed of an industry that use to function like God so they could report good earnings to their shareholders – and the hell with the people they were suppose to insure. They should call this the death pool because there is nothing about this industry that makes me feel safe and secure which is what insurance is suppose to do. Insurance companies deal in death. My friend died because a group of people debated whether to cover her treatment. They can’t do that anymore. And the Affordable Care Act is not perfect but it is a giant step in the right direction. I don’t understand why any individual in their right mind would be opposed to being able to sleep a little better knowing that they might not have to go bankrupt if an illness besets them or a member of their family. What exactly are these Teapublicans demonstrating against – their own best interest?

  • Mr Smith

    Of all the news outlets MSNBC has provided well balanced reporting on the affordable care act. Lawrence O’donnell most notably with the best coverage as well as Rachelle Maddow and Chris Hayes. Sadly with Kieth Olbermann being taken off the air news just isn’t the same. He wasn’t afraid to hit below the belt with video to prove it and was fired more then once for it. They are very good at fact checking and provide proof contrary to the lies other news outlets broadcast.

    • regressive rightwing trash

      mr smith,,,,,,,,,,,,,,UUUUUUUUUUUU have NOOOOO idea how much I miss olberman- he was the saddam Hussein of TV as his bombast kept creeps such as Hannity and oreilly off balance and petrified of his delivery( NOTE: my Hussein reference is that saddam kept IRAN in check; now that the wisdom of the repubs removed him–and his thousand tanks— IRAQ is free again to be IRAQ) I love O donnell and have learned to utmostly respect Rachel. just remember: when cretins on FOX “news” cry how THEIR ( oreillys) show is most watched for a decade,,,,just smile and note that McDonalds feed more than anyone– so they claim of being “#1” is akin to saying that more roaches are born than eagles yearly

    • regressive rightwing trash

      “fact checking”…….. similar to water on the wicked witch

    • Maxine Blanchette

      Please check the Ed show on MSNBC he is good he went through the steps of the ACA he comes on before Al Sharpton show. He is good and you will get the facts.

  • vwbtl99

    Completely agree with this article. It is all BS from republicans as well as media outlets only covering the negatives while all the positives out weigh all of that. Insurance policies have always dropped people, increased premiums, etc. It has nothing, I repeat nothing to do with “Obamacare”. Anyways, this is a plan that uses the private market to work. Isn’t that what the republicans believe in?

    • Joseph Buckenberger

      Outweigh is one word. What kind of dope are you on?

  • James Thompson

    I just refuse to watch “news stories” about these so-called problems. Most of the country has no problems with the ACA.

    • Joseph Buckenberger

      And? What kind of dope are you on?

      • James Thompson

        better stuff than the hootch you are on

  • barbaralee12

    This is not new and people had insurance that did not cover what is needed!I am boycotting all news stations for now .The media is not doing investing that is needed to help the plan .first of all the insurance companies are behind Alec and they are doing just what they want to their clients.

  • rebmoma

    The media also haven’t covered the hidden tax those of us with coverage have paid to serve those who don’t have insurance the past thirty years since insurance went from non-profit to for-profit. Talk about subsidies…At least we know the ACA subsidies go to those who have been means tested, not just the lazy ones and deadbeats. Oops.

    • Joseph Buckenberger

      We ALL have to be covered, DUH?

  • Maria DelCoco

    While we are examining the situation and assigning blame, why not mention the right wing, who have tried (47 times) to repeal the law when they maybe could have been focused on fixing it. Or highlight the dirty tricks and sabotage to our government and economy, by letting themselves be bought by the insurance companies, banks, and ALEC-none of whom care about the average American or our rights, save the profit they can make from us. Last but not least, there’s the misguided people who consistently vote for them. No, there’s plenty of blame to go around. I wish solutions and common sense were as forth coming..

    • Joseph Buckenberger


      • jdunaway65

        I know, too much for your little troll brain to comprehend…

        And even IF (as you have claimed on here a few times) your insurance costs 60% more (which I seriously doubt), you will be paying a LOT less for copays and out of pocket deductibles, but again that is probably too much to comprehend.

        I know, I know “and what kind of drugs are you on?” Right?

  • Aly Cat

    To make it plain and simple…. a good number of people in this damned country just want something to be mad about and a single name and face to blame it on. Everyone is quick to say “this or that is Obama’s fault,” even when they are benefiting from it. He may be our President but anyone who has taken a history course in elementary school knows that the president does not literally hold ALL of the power, and that is why the government is divided into branches. As you said, a lot of it comes from greed within the insurance companies and etc. Everyone is so brainwashed listening to what the media cover (namely Fox News!) So sick of everyone!

    • Joseph Buckenberger

      Tell me, how I am better off with a 60% increase in my health insurance costs?

  • Hazel M. Brannan

    Greedy insurance companies jack up rates, then blame the President for having a law providing adequate coverage, so you don’t have to file for bankruptcy for a catastrophic illness or accident that may befall you. Insurance companies sure aren’t going broke any more than bankers are. Why hasn’t the news covered people who have had their rates go down with the new law? Maybe that’s not exciting for them, but it sure is for the people saving money. Negativity is what seems to pass for news these days in the political realm.

  • Joseph Buckenberger

    It matters not what “people thought the deal was” Fucked over is what they are