Last week, NBC News ran a report about millions of Americans possibly losing their health insurance coverage, even after President Obama promised for three years that “if you like your health care plan” you’ll get to keep it. The truth is that the way the president worded it made it very easy to understand why those Americans who are facing a loss of their policy thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s new guidelines might feel upset, but the tone with which the NBC story was written left readers with the impression that the White House deliberately lied and mislead a large swath of people into thinking no changes were coming their way.
The Obama Administration has pushed up against the Lisa Meyers story hard, pointing out that the group the NBC story relates to is a very small percentage of people compared to the 80% who get their insurance through their provider or the 15% that are currently completely uninsured. Many have also since pointed out that the group the NBC piece refers to will mostly wind-up paying less for more coverage, and one person’s story in particular — that of small business owner Heather Goldwater — fits that narrative perfectly.
Goldwater is a former ABC TV host, and she runs a PR firm. She appeared both in the NBC piece, and on CNBC to tout her story of being dumped from her $510 a month health care plan, and while she is still waiting to hear what her replacement plan will be and what it will cost, both NBC and CNBC decided to project that her premiums “could” double. As it turns out, NBC and CNBC omitted large chunks of Goldwater’s story out, and that those details paint an entirely different story.
For starters after contacting Goldwater, Mediate found out her old plan did not cover maternity expenses, and those cost her $16,000 last year. Secondly, she has several preexisting conditions that would have kept her from getting any coverage without the ACA’s guidelines. “I definitely believe there should be healthcare reform and honestly, I’m glad the reform is happening,”Goldwater told Mediate. “The fact I am a successful woman business owner, yet had to pay out of pocket close to $16,000 to have my daughter felt like I was the one being punished. So yes, reform is necessary.”
Mediate also did some investigating and found several plans that were cheaper than the $510 she was paying before, and that all covered maternity expenses and did not deny coverage for preexisting conditions. Clearly the NBC and CNBC reports were done with a certain narrative in mind, and when details of Goldwater’s story didn’t jive with that narrative, they were dropped like hot potatoes. That’s not good journalism, and it does everyone a disservice.
Surely there have been things that the insurance companies and the Obama administration could have done better, but in not painting the entire picture of Goldwater’s situation, they left the country to conclude their president outright lied and put a woman in jeopardy when the reality is that she will likely end up getting more bang for her buck, and NBC and CNBC should print the rest of her story in an update.
Watch Heather Golderwater’s appearance on CNBC below, and note the completely misleading info box next to her, stating her premiums “could” double, courtesy of Mediate.