Media Distortions of the ObamaCare Replacement

 

Maybe it’s the tequila. As I write these words it’s Cinco de Mayo and perhaps that explains the mainstream media distortions that are flowing since the House passed the new version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

The Wall Street Journal editorial board describes this phenomenon well:

“The media template for covering the 115th Congress apparently goes like this: When Republicans fail to pass a bill, they’re doomed. But when they succeed, they’re also doomed. Thus the same media sages who said the House could never repeal ObamaCare are now saying that the replacement the House passed Thursday can’t pass the Senate.”

 

The Orlando Sentinel clearly declared its bias with a front page headline that reads: “Locals worry AHCA may lead to horrors; Bill lets states waive patients with pre-existing conditions”. This blatant misrepresentation of the bill shows how little fact-checking is done in liberal news organizations. They are simply repeating false statements made by opponents of the bill. In my last post I explained how no one could be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. (Pre-existing Conditions Dominate Healthcare Debate)

Even the hard news journalists of the Wall Street Journal aren’t immune. If you read the front-page headlines and the numerous news articles in the next few pages, you would think the Republicans have caused a disaster. I counted no less than eight articles that were generally skeptical, if not hostile, toward the new bill.

But the editorial and opinion pages reflect an entirely different perspective. Columnist Kimberley Strassel writes,

“Republicans finally hit a home run with the vote Thursday to pass a healthcare bill that will help millions of struggling Americans. They showed that the system of old-fashioned Washington negotiations and compromise still works. They proved they can govern. They caused heads to explode in the media and among liberals rooting for failure – always a good sign.”

 

Strassel says the most notable success of this new bill has been little recognized. GOP negotiators have embraced the only model that can ultimately see this bill successfully to President Trump’s desk: states’ rights.

This is exactly what I said in an earlier post (GOP Compromise on Healthcare?), which emphasized the concept of Responsible Federalism. That means giving each state the freedom to design their own healthcare model. If liberal states are happy with ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion – let them live with it. If conservative states want more freedom to choose their doctor and their insurance coverage – let them have it. In five years we can compare the systems and people can decide then which is better.

Strassel reminds us that the entire point of this exercise is being lost in the breathless reporting about which political factions are winning on any given day. The point is to restore affordable (and quality) health care to millions of hurting Americans.

Democrats and the mainstream media have lost track of that simple truth. ObamaCare is imploding before their eyes but they act like nothing is wrong. Just this week Aetna decided to withdraw from the Virginia exchanges, the latest announcement of an insurer leaving the market. Five states are down to one insurer and twelve states are down to two in 2017. According to Congressman Dan Webster (R – Fl), there are 4.7 million Americans who live in counties where there are no insurers at all. This situation will definitely get worse in 2018 if Congress doesn’t act now.

What I object to most are the distortions of this new bill that are running wild in Congress and the media – especially on social media and late-night television – where liberals are using demagoguery to frighten the people. No one in Washington wants to let anyone, especially a new-born baby, die for lack of insurance coverage. In fact, that would never happen regardless of insurance coverage. We have laws like the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) that prevent that.

Look for more demagoguery in the coming weeks as the Senate debates the bill. Expect the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to come out with a projection of millions of Americans losing their health insurance. What they won’t project is how many will lose their insurance if nothing is done to fix ObamaCare. They also won’t project how many of those losing insurance will do so voluntarily because the government is no longer penalizing them for choosing not to be covered.

They also won’t tell you how many times their projections have been wildly wrong in the past – just like the pre-election polls were wrong.

 

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