I’ve been commenting for years on NPR’s slanted-toward-the-Republicans reporting. The right wing’s contention that it’s part of the liberal media is just a smoke screen. However, this morning NPR’s Morning Edition hit a new low with its hit piece on what it insists on calling Obamacare, which is the Republican-devised epithet for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Affordable Care Act for short. Because the job given to NPR by persons or persons unknown is to keep pushing the myth that the ACA is unaffordable and that is why millions of people are risking federal tax fines by gleefully dropping it. If the ACA is unaffordable for millions of people it is due to the concerted efforts of the Republicans, as I show below.
I don’t know who is ultimately responsible for this hit piece. What I do know is that Steve Inkeep’s lead-in is misleading. What I also know is that typically, the written text underneath the audio link to a news story is identical to the audio story. In this case, the audio version barely resembles the written text. Inskeep intros the story “Millions of Americans have found the Affordable Care Act to be unaffordable.” Thus the story is framed that the ACA is essentially a failure, especially where lower-middle class individuals are concerned. Contrast this with the actual written headline to the story: “Obamacare Deploys New Apps, Allies To Persuade The Uninsured”. Now it’s a story about how the Obama administration is attempting to get more uninsured people the health insurance they lack.
Another difference between the audio and written stories: the audio leads off with sound bites from Dave Egbert of Huron, South Dakota, stating that he and his partner, Rich Davis, dropped Obamacare because it was too expensive. In the written version, Egbert and Davis are buried near the bottom of the story. The audio story says that there are only three insurance plans to choose from. But the story doesn’t explain why and this is where the slanted reporting comes in.
The fact is that Republican South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard and the Republican-controlled state legislature refused to expand Medicaid in that state on February 24, 2014. Expanding Medicaid in all states was a primary goal of–what else?—the Affordable Care Act. Just about all—if not all—Republican-controlled states refused to expand Medicaid even though the federal government was picking up the tab for the first few years. So Egbert and Davis should be blaming Governor Daugaard and their state legislature—people they most likely voted for in prior elections—for the lack of affordable healthcare in their state, along with the paucity of health plans to choose from. That’s under the control of your state, gentlemen, not the Feds.
This hit the working poor, like Egbert and Davis, hardest of all. Had state Republicans not blocked this expansion, it is very likely Egbert and Davis among 25,000 other people would have had the affordable healthcare Davis needed at the time. I have no information to back this up but I wonder if both Egbert and Davis are Republicans? What I do know is that NPR contacted Egbert after he posted a comment on its Facebook page. Whether or not they vetted Egbert and his story is unknown.
Something else I do know is that, right before next year’s elections, South Dakota has now decided to expand Medicaid and has gotten the initial “go ahead” from a health official in the Obama Administration. http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2015/09/29/medicaid-expansion-plan-gets-initial-go-ahead-dc/73067220/
So, Messers. Egbert and Davis, and the other 25,000 uninsured inhabitants of South Dakota, it looks like with your South Dakota state government finally embracing Obamacare just before election time, you will get your affordable health insurance. And if it gives you gentlemen any solace, Obamacare started off as Romneycare (an advisor to then-Gov. Romney re-worked it for the Obama administration) which had its genesis with a plan devised by the Koch Brothers own Heritage Foundation as far back as 1989.
So, gentlemen, stop seeing Red over Obamacare. And in next year’s elections, start feeling Blue.
And you, Steve Inskeep and all at NPR Morning Edition, have you no shame? Apparently not.