By Matthew E. Milliken
March 26, 2015
With the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, taking place on Monday, the media have been packed with assessments of the law. Two of them caught my eye, for no other reason than that they flitted across my Twitter feed.
Tony Pugh of McClatchy’s Washington, D.C., bureau wrote more than 1,400 words on the Affordable Care Act’s rocky five-year history. PolitiFact’s Steve Contorno and Angie Drobnic Holan assembled an assessment that spanned more than 2,000 words. (That count doesn’t include the article’s bibliography, which lists 31 different interviews, articles and studies that formed the basis for the story.)
Now, conservatives love to bellyache about how the mainstream — oh, excuse me; lamestream — media is biased toward liberals. Sadly, anywhere one turns, one finds evidence that these complaints are accurate. Check out these fawning paragraphs that Pugh wrote to conclude his story:
As the health care law hits age five, it’s way too early to pass judgment on its effectiveness, said health care blogger Robert Laszewski. The law’s main provisions have been in place for only about 18 months, Laszewski said. Marketplace insurers are still being subsidized by the federal government, and only about half of the estimated 22 million marketplace plan members the CBO envisions in coming years have purchased coverage.
“I would rate Obamacare, 18 months after implementation, as incomplete,” Laszewski said. “Anybody who wants to look at Obamacare and talk about whether it’s a success or a failure, call me in 2017.”
Obviously this reporter is totally in the tank for Obama, right?
Or how about the PolitiFact article, which betrays its bias with this passage:
Once expected to insure 32 million new Americans by the end of the decade, the projected target has been downgraded to 27 million — far from the universal coverage many proponents hoped for.
Unforeseen developments, like significant changes in health cost trends and a sweeping Supreme Court decision on Medicaid expansion, have meant the insurance provisions in the law will cost $139 billion less over the next five years than it was supposed to back in 2010. That has quieted some critics who expected massive, deficit-inflating costs.
In five years, the law has steadily navigated toward its overall goal of decreasing the number of uninsured Americans, without dramatically disrupting the overall health care industry, for better or worse. Yet.
“The whole thing has been in much slower motion that what was predicted,” said Michael Tanner, health care analyst with the libertarian Cato Institute. “Whether you thought something good was going to happen or something bad, you sort of thought it would have happened by now. Instead, it’s just been creeping along.”
I mean, Contorno and Drobnic Holan might as well walk around with “I ❤️ Obamacare” stickers plastered on their foreheads, right? It’s really pretty sad.
In my next post, I’ll examine Obamacare through the only medium that can be relied to give its audience the entire unflinching truth: Vehicles for conservative opinions!