Dean Orfanoyannis | Pittsburgh City Paper

Dean Orfanoyannis 
Member since Apr 28, 2014


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Re: “Corbett shooting blanks in his attack on Schwartz and the Affordable Care Act

The media's constant flat-out false reporting of the actual monthly premium costs for Affordable Care Act health insurance policies has been transparently rancid. General media coverage of the so-called "cancelled policies" from last fall was so calculatedly corrupt and deceptive it requires a completely separate comment.

The mainstream media in general has acted more like public-relations spin doctors for the health insurance industry's political lobbying arm instead of acting as journalists.

The broadcast media in particular seems to have taken the following approach to ACA policy prices: 'We know what the 'list prices' for the health insurance policy premiums are. But we have no way of knowing what the individual customers' actual monthly premium payments will be, because that will depend on their incomes and the number of people in their households. So we will just leave that part out of our coverage, and occasionally just mention the subsidies as an afterthought --- while always making sure to add color to the story with the customary Republican comments expressing outrage at the high (list) prices for the policies.

When I was studying journalism at Syracuse University's Newhouse School three decades ago, a course covered the "yellow journalism" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I don't think any of us suspected 'yellow journalism' would ever make a comeback - especially not in connection with a life-or-death issue like health care.

The media's policy of strategic omission has worked like a charm for Republicans trying to tamp down enrollment numbers for the ACA. Public surveys consistently show that most uninsured Americans now believe that Affordable Care Act policies are simply too expensive for their budgets. That makes the 8 million enrollment number for the ACA even more impressive. With honest and complete reporting from the media, enrollments would likely have been significantly higher. Unfortunately, journalistic standards have never been lower.

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Posted by Dean Orfanoyannis on 04/28/2014 at 1:46 PM

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