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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press In Coverage of Health Care Reform Washington Post Substitutes Republican Talking Points for Reality

In Coverage of Health Care Reform Washington Post Substitutes Republican Talking Points for Reality

Monday, 17 March 2014 06:55

The Washington Post told readers that the Republicans are putting together an alternative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Unfortunately it substituted Republican talking points for an actual description of the plan.

At one point the article told readers:

"They would prefer to see a shift away from the federal government and to the states, with an emphasis on getting more consumers on private plans."

In fact the Republican plan explicitly takes away authority from the states. It would have the federal government require states to accept insurance plans offered by other states. This is 180 degrees at odds with what the Post told readers.

This would be comparable to requiring the United States to allow insurance plans from insurers regulated in the Cayman Islands, Panama, or some other tax/regulatory havens. That would take away control from the United States government. This should have been pretty obvious to the Post reporters.

The other part of this claim is also bizarre. The ACA requires that people buy health care insurance from private insurers. What could it possibly mean to say that the Republicans have:

"an emphasis on getting more consumers on private plans."

This is presumably a line that was focus group tested for appeal, since the Republicans have routinely referred to the ACA as a government takeover of the health care system. However it has no basis in reality and no place in a news article, except as a quote. Even in that case a responsible newspaper would point out to readers that the assertion is not true.

Comments (4)Add Comment
Neo-fascist Health Care
written by Last Mover, March 17, 2014 8:56

They're not done. Once they get health care "provided at the state level", they will proceed the way they did with finance to submit to the predator power of nationwide and globalwide investment banks, as in:

"Oh my god! How are we possibly going to deal with different regulations in 50 different states? It's a red tape regulatory nightmare for our national and multinational corporations!

Here, use this federal legislation we wrote ourselves to eliminate state regulation of our banks and replace it with one system of federal regulation we can deal with."

Neo-fascism in action.
written by Fabian, March 17, 2014 9:07
I think what they might mean with more private plans is something akin to what Arkansas is doing with their medicaid expansion where federal money is used to purchase private insurance plans. Privatized (or block-granted) medicaid (and medicare ultimately) is how I would interpret such quips.
written by Alex Bollinger, March 17, 2014 9:54
Most people who have been insured with the ACA have been put on private plans. Kids under 26 were put on their parents' mostly private insurance. Medicaid was expanded, and most states pay private companies to insure poor people through managed care. And the exchanges are all about private health care.

So, yeah, the WaPo, as always, has no clue what they're talking abuot
written by Duck Soup, March 17, 2014 10:00
Block-granting and privatization are just euphemisms for funneling public money to special interests that got Repubs elected.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.