By Greg Drobny
The GOP finally unveiled their new healthcare plan, which is supposed to be a replacement for Obamacare—aka the Affordable Care Act—and thus fulfill their promises to voters.
I haven’t gone through all the details yet, but this article from the LA Times on the issue struck me as interesting, simply as a teaching point for how incredibly skewed journalism is. Want to know why people only go to their trusted sources and don’t look at the big ones? Examples follow.
In the article, author Michael Hiltzek lists the top bullet points of why the GOP’s proposal is “awful” and, in the process, demonstrates very clearly why mainstream sources are so difficult to trust. His second bullet:
“The bill effectively shuts down private health insurance coverage for abortion.”
Well that’s interesting. I didn’t think the GOP would go that far, despite past promises. But apparently…Oh, wait, they didn’t go that far. The very next sentence in his own article:
“According to a House Ways and Means Committee digest, the measure forbids spending federal tax subsidies on health plans that include coverage of abortion…”
The bullet makes it sound like there was a law enacted that would prevent private health insurance even covering abortion. But his very next line contradicts this by pointing out that the measure forbids tax subsidies. This is in no way, shape, or form the same as “shutting down” health insurance coverage. But those who skim for bold print would be led to believe exactly that.
His next bullet gets even more ridiculous. Underneath the heading about the individual mandate being eliminated, the author states:
“Without a requirement that individuals carry health insurance, the insurance markets are almost certain to collapse.”
Right. Because eliminating something that has existed for less than a decade is going to crush an industry which has existed for almost a century. Sure, you betcha.
Ignorance about business models in the marketplace aside, this is ludicrous just from a common sense ethics perspective. Let’s suppose a question: if someone points a gun at your head and insists you do X, should we never, ever remove the gun for fear that X might go away?
This is a common problem in discourse about government, unfortunately. When a certain policy or agency is enacted or put in place, seemingly within minutes people can’t even begin to imagine life without it, despite the fact that it has only existed for a very short time.
Try this experiment: suggest abolishing the Department of Education or Homeland Security. People lose their ever loving minds. Why? These black holes of tax dollars have been around for less time than I’ve been alive (in the latter case, it came to be since I’ve been an adult), yet the very mention of doing away with them is seen as being akin to saying the earth is flat.
The individual mandate and government controlled healthcare in general fit in this same category. The “journalist” of the article quoted from above is beside himself at the notion that something which has existed for less time than we’ve been fighting in Afghanistan could—gasp!—not exist anymore. Oh no! Whatever will we do?!?!
Get a life, dude. And read some basic overviews of Constitutional history and economics. Because it’s pretty clear you have very little understanding of either subject.
More to follow on the GOP’s plan which is probably a giant failure simply because it doesn’t go far enough—not because it undoes some of Obamacare.