It appears that the mainstream media has been pushing the idea that premiums in the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) are going through the roof. Let’s see if we can get some facts –
Over the past few weeks I’ve been watching a real-time demonstration of how American voters come to be misinformed about key policy issues. Yes, it’s Obamacare again.
Here’s how it played: some insurance companies began filing requests for large increases in the premiums for individual plans. Now, anyone who reads Charles Gaba knows that such filings need to be taken with huge helpings of salt: there were similar stories last year, and it turned out both that approved increases were much smaller than requests and that the companies asking for big raises were outliers; overall, premiums rose very little.
Nonetheless, my inbox began filling up with right-wing attacks on the mainstream media for covering up the truth about skyrocketing Obamacare costs, and this pressure campaign had its effect: soon, scare stories about a looming disaster began popping up.
And then more numbers began coming in, and sure enough, the whole thing is looking like a false alarm.
So will there be big headlines about Obamacare not costing that much, after all, and how the earlier reports were misleading? Hahaha.
And think how this affects the vast majority of voters. They aren’t carefully keeping score; they’re forming impressions based on reports they hear mainly in passing. So each year they hear a flurry of scare stories about surging premiums, then nothing more — and the impression they build up over time is that Obamacare expenses are out of control. No wonder, then, that almost nobody knows the truth, which is that Obamacare has ended up costing much less than expected.
The point is that we’re looking at a highly successful disinformation campaign, which works because the media keep letting themselves be played.
So, to my reading, the premiums haven’t blown up.