What the AP Story about “Obamacare Losers” Gets Wrong
Today, newspapers across the country–including drudgereport.com–published Kelli Kennedy’s AP story, Sticker Shock Often Follows Insurance Cancellation, which “reports” the supposedly sad case of a Delaware County, PA resident, Dean Griffin and his wife, who received a cancellation notice from their insurance company. Kennedy explains that this previously happy 64 year old couple–one year away from Medicare qualification–is upset because they can’t find an adequate replacement for their current plan, which costs $770 monthly with a $2,500 deductible. In fact, she claims that “the cheapest plan they found on their state insurance exchange was a so-called bronze plan charging a $1,275 monthly premium with deductibles totaling $12,700. It covers only providers in Pennsylvania, so the couple, who live near Delaware, won’t be able to see doctors they’ve used for more than a decade.” On the surface, then, Kennedy spins a yarn of woe in which these two kind soon-to-be-medicare recipients were lied to and, thus, find themselves as “Obamacare losers.” Except, it’s not remotely a true story. Even just a five minute glance at healthcare.gov, makes Kennedy, the AP, and all those unthinking newspapers that bought it in syndication look like lazy hacks. Does the AP not even fact check anymore?
In fact, note that Kennedy clearly didn’t follow through in the obvious hole in her own evidence. She herself writes that “[t]he cheapest plan they found on their state insurance exchange was a so-called bronze plan charging a $1,275 monthly premium with deductibles totaling $12,700.” The cheapest plan “they found”?
That’s very, very different than the “cheapest plan” in actuality. Maybe they didn’t look very hard? Maybe the Griffins can’t use a computer? Maybe they aren’t very bright? Maybe their eyesight isn’t very good? Why didn’t Griffin double check that herself?
Why hasn’t any editor at any newspaper that’s paid for this tripe yet screamed from the mountain tops about this glaring error?
It only takes a second to note that Pennsylvania’s Delaware County Exchange offers a Platinum plan, pre-subsidy, for a husband-wife combo that runs $870.82. This Personal Choice PPO Platinum Independence Blue Cross plan has ZERO deductible with an out of pocket max of 2,500. If their doctor is now considered “out-of-network,” their max cost for the year would be 4,000. That’s a far cry from not being able to see their doctor at all. In short, the Griffins can pay 100 dollars more a month and reduce their deductible from 2,500 to Zero, and they’d reduce their out-of-pocket max from 6,500 to 2,500 If they qualify for a subsidy—another glaring bit of information that Griffin neglects to provide us—they’ll get a top-of-the-line plan.
However, the Griffins complain that none of the plans “they found” will allow them “to see doctors they’ve used for more than a decade.” Again, a simple check of Delaware County’s Exchange clearly shows a Silver “Blue Cross, Multi-State Plan,” which costs 655.72 will fit that bill? It’s a PPO, to boot.
Kennedy’s article–which inexplicably has been published un fact checked in the major markets covered the Washington Post, and lesser markets covered by papers such as The Knoxville News-Sentinel, and such highly trafficked Websites, like drudgereport.com–is inexcusably misinformed and misleading. In short, it’s insidious journalism of the worse kind.
Are such articles politically motivated? Or does the AP know that this new narrative of “Obamacare losers” sells? Whatever the motivation, it is not in the interest of the truth.