Accuracy in Media

In a one-sided analysis of Republican health care policy, Millennial-oriented news platform Mic.com chose to scare-monger in an article headlined “Trump administration is trying to bring back pre-existing conditions.”

The article fails to acknowledge a true understanding of the substantive economic and societal intent of President Trump and other Republicans to liberate the health care insurance marketplace by allowing greater market competition and leaner, short-term health care plans.

Writer Emily C. Singer accused the GOP of wanting to “make a series of changes to it that would increase costs for seniors and people with pre-existing conditions.” In her defense of the Affordable Care Act, Singer fails to acknowledge the skyrocketing costs under the ACA current scheme, with premium hikes squeezing the middle class.

“The Trump administration will also demand that an ACA stabilization bill include a provision that would let insurers charge seniors up to five times as much as younger customers,” Singer wrote, without explaining that older Americans (per census data, for example) overall have much higher net worths than the youngest Americans and thus are able to afford more expensive premiums; this makes sense, given that seniors consume more care.

Singer also fails to mention that poor seniors would be subsidized to help mitigate any rising costs. She also makes no mention of the success of Medicare Part D, which came in below initial budgeting estimates and receives high satisfaction marks among seniors because of the market forces that allowed for more flexible, tailor-made plans.

“Because those plans are often cheaper, they draw healthy consumers and leave the better health care plans that cover more to a pool of sicker people who are more expensive to cover, leading to increased premiums,” Singer writes, without acknowledging that Republicans have repeatedly called for public funding to cover sicker Americans in high-risk pools. These pools are important since a very small group of older, sicker Americans generate a wildly disproportionate share of the cost.

The combination of high-risk pools and leaner plans for healthier Americans would improve market efficiency by allowing wealthier taxpayers (since wealthy Americans pay a disproportionate amount of taxes) to more efficiently subsidize sicker people–instead of making younger, middle-class Americans shouldering the burden through higher premiums–something that Singer would probably support if she reported on the economic intent of the high-risk pools.

Singer’s article appeared in a section called “Navigating Trump’s America.” In this article, Singer is missing an understanding that the failure of the ACA helped spring up the Tea Party, which was one of the forces that propelled President Trump to victory.

 




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