Accuracy in Media

NowThis News, a Millennial-focused news company receiving Facebook Watch funding and reaching millions of people each month, created an imbalanced video about health care policy titled “5 Reasons Why The Trump Administration’s Junk Health Care Plans Are Bad for Everyone.”

“The Trump team is clearing the way for plans that are cheap knock-offs of what’s in the Obamacare marketplace,” the unnamed NowThis anchor said, offering no policy argument behind the rationale for the plans except to hurt people. “Sometimes the cheap version of something is worse than nothing at all. And that’s exactly the case with Donald Trump’s new ‘short-term health plans.’”

NowThis also sides with the Obama administration’s regulations on “essential benefits” while failing to acknowledge that many of the coverage mandates stipulated under ObamaCare are for services that would be inapplicable to millions of Americans during the duration of the plans. Essentially, this means millions of consumers are overpaying for costs they don’t incur, hiking insurance costs.

Without offering any alternative voice, including consumers who have benefited from the flexibility offered by short-term NowThis compares the plans to “clearance sushi, discount tattoos, second-hand condoms,” and “knock-off cologne,” concluding that the plans “really stink.”

NowThis could have easily identified the millions of Americans who have benefited from these short-term plans, including Carolyn Bolton, who wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal about how “A short-term catastrophic policy helped me through a difficult time in my life.” Unexpected personal tragedy — the sudden death of her partner — caused Bolton to be without insurance in 2010.

“At the time, ObamaCare was newly enacted and hadn’t rolled out in full,” Bolton wrote. “I was able to purchase a short-term health insurance plan for a fraction of what COBRA would have cost. It didn’t have all the bells and whistles of a full plan, but it was enough to ease my mind and protect me for six months against financial ruin in the event of illness or injury. It was perfect for my needs at that difficult time in my life.”

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