HHS falls short of pre-existing coverage prediction by … 97.8%

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The crisis that wasn’t.


255 million: The number of Americans with existing health insurance coverage. 20 million: The number of Americans without any health coverage at all due to economic circumstances. 375,000: The number of Americans with pre-existing conditions HHS said would apply for coverage in the first year of ObamaCare, one of the main political arguments for its […]

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NY Times glaringly sides with Palestinians — in its news coverage

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Leading with bias
American Thinker Blog

CNN Claims No Favorites, But MRC Data Shows Campaign Coverage Skewed Left

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

CNN has launched a new advertising campaign, claiming to be the only cable network without an ideological ax to grind. “If you want to keep them all honest, without playing favorites, the choice is clear: CNN, the worldwide leader in news,” the on-screen message argues.

So, did CNN “play favorites” during the midterm campaign? MRC analysts reviewed all of the guests and commentators on CNN’s primetime weekday programs from October 4 through October 29, the last four full weeks before the November 2 elections. Guests were grouped into three categories: “Democrat/liberal,” “Republican/conservative,” and “Other.” The latter category included all non-political guests, as well as guests who were not associated with a clear political point of view.

Results and chart below the fold:

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NewsBusters.org – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

CNN Claims No Favorites, But MRC Data Shows Campaign Coverage Skewed Left

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

CNN has launched a new advertising campaign, claiming to be the only cable network without an ideological ax to grind. “If you want to keep them all honest, without playing favorites, the choice is clear: CNN, the worldwide leader in news,” the on-screen message argues.

So, did CNN “play favorites” during the midterm campaign? MRC analysts reviewed all of the guests and commentators on CNN’s primetime weekday programs from October 4 through October 29, the last four full weeks before the November 2 elections. Guests were grouped into three categories: “Democrat/liberal,” “Republican/conservative,” and “Other.” The latter category included all non-political guests, as well as guests who were not associated with a clear political point of view.

Results and chart below the fold:

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NewsBusters.org – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Survey: Most Businesses Will Not Stop Providing Coverage In 2014

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

A new survey of 2,800 businesses conducted by Mercer finds that employers are “not likely” to stop providing health insurance coverage “once state-run insurance exchanges become operational in 2014,” undermining the often repeated prediction that “firms will find it more attractive to stop offering insurance and let employees get coverage in the new marketplace where generous subsidies will be available. From the report:

6% of all large employers with 500 or more employees say they are likely to terminate their health plans and have employees seek coverage elsewhere.

20% of small employers (those with 10–499 employees) say they are likely to terminate their health plans, especially those with low-paid workers and high turnover, like retailers.

Look:

While small employers are more likely to drop coverage than larger companies — companies that are too small to spread the risk and cost of coverage across a large pool of beneficiaries are often vulnerable to premium increases if just one employee falls gravely ill — Tracy Watts, a Partner in Mercer’s Washington, DC, office suggests that for most large companies offering insurance is a way to maintain control over what they spend on health care. “Employers are reluctant to lose control over a key employee benefit,” she said. “But beyond that, once you consider the penalty, the loss of tax savings and grossing up employee income so they can purchase comparable coverage through an exchange, for many employers dropping coverage may not equate to savings.”

After the first 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that “the number of people obtaining coverage through their employer would be about 3 million lower in 2019 under the legislation.” Actuaries at CMS estimated that just 1.4 million would move out of employer coverage.

Large employers also wouldn’t have access to the exchanges until 2017. And even then, it will be up to the states to allow large employers into the new marketplace. Of course, the gradual shift from ESI (employer sponsored insurance) to regulated individual policies is not necessarily a bad thing (the fear has always been that this would happen too quickly and cause severe coverage disruption). And this study simply confirms that the law accomplishes all this very, very slowly.

Wonk Room

I oppose hearings into “journalistic malpractice” underlying Washington Post climate coverage

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Let me state for the record that I oppose Congressional hearings into “journalistic malpractice” underlying Washington Post coverage of global warming.

Sure Gawker said “The Washington Post Has the Worst Opinion Section in America.”  But is that “journalistic malpractice”?  Sure the Post seemed to abandon any journalistic standards when it let George Will publish a third time global warming lies debunked on its own pages.   Heck, even Bill O’Reilly accused Dana Milbank of an “outright lie,” but he also joked Milbank should be beheaded.

But surely that isn’t justification for holding Congressional hearings into “journalistic malpractice” at the Washington Post?

Stop the presses!  I’m now told whole darn story “may not be true.”

It turns out maybe nobody wants to hold Congressional hearings into “journalistic malpractice” underlying Washington Post coverage of global warming.

Sorry.  Never mind.

But wait?  What about this repeated accusation that there was “journalistic malpractice” at the Washington Post?  Won’t Climate Progress readers come away with that phrase stuck in their mind.  Shouldn’t CP set the record straight so the WashPost isn’t tainted by a false accusation, particularly by the large fraction of readers who never get past the headline?  Nah.

Because then the Washington Post would have to apologize and retract this story, which keeps repeating the false frame of the disinformers with no debunking [italics added]:

GOP leadership cool to hearings into “scientific fraud” underlying global warming

Last week there was widespread speculation that the GOP is planning to hold high profile hearings next year into the “scientific fraud” behind global warming. The news touched off a round of anxious commentary among liberals about the coming rash of GOP investigations and fake scandals.

The only problem is that it may not be true.

A spokesman for the leading Republican on the committee that would undertake such hearings tells me that isn’t the plan. And a senior GOP leadership aide says the leadership is cool to the idea.

Rep. Joe Barton of Texas (the same dude who apologized to BP) is in line to be the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. A committee spokesman, Larry Neal, emails that global warming science won’t be the focus of upcoming hearings. Rather, Barton wants to hold hearings to try to get the Environmental Protection Agency to study the impact action on global warming will have on jobs.

At issue is the EPA’s recent “endangerment finding,” which determined that greeenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare. According to Barton’s office, EPA chief Lisa Jackson said at some point that studying the impact on the economy of scientific action in response to the greenhouse gas problem would have “limited utility.”

“Our committee will finally get to inquire” why Jackson “proudly refuses to analyze her agency’s actions to determine either the potential job losses they will cause or the pressure they will put on U.S. companies to relocate overseas,” Neal emails. “Congressman Barton is very interested.”

Separately, the GOP leadership is apparently aware what a circus hearings into the allegedly fraudulent science underlying global warming would be — and how it would play into Dem efforts to paint Republicans as hostage to extremists.

“It’s just not the best strategy,” a senior GOP aide says. “The most effective way to fight the national energy tax is to talk about the economic effect and jobs.”

So you’re certainly going to see Republicans use the machinery of government to push the case that action on the environment is devastating to the economy. And no doubt there will be bit of grandstanding at these hearings from select GOPers about global warming perhaps being a hoax. But no hearings as of yet are being planned that would focus specifically on the science underlying global warming.

What a relief!

So in this story, counting the headline, the Washington Post repeats the “scientific fraud” frame 3 times and the ‘hoax’ claim once, guaranteeing that most readers will walk away with those phrases or frame in their head.  The Post never bothers to mention the multiple vindications for climate scientists or the overwhelming science underlying our understanding of human caused:

Yes, if read this story very closely you might get the implication that the Post possibly thinks this is a fake scandal.  And they did at least throw in the word “allegedly” and suggest it might conceivably play into efforts to paint Republicans as extremists.  None of that comes close to undoing the power of the incredibly strong repeated word “fraud.”

Indeed, there is a long body of research on the fact that you can’t debunk a myth by repeating (which I discuss here).  “When people find a claim familiar because of prior exposure but do not recall the original context or source of the claim, they tend to think that the claim is true,” noted a 2005 journal article, “How Warnings about False Claims Become Recommendations,” which concluded “Telling people that a consumer claim is false can make them misremember it as true.”

So imagine how bad it is to repeating a myth three times and only hinting that it isn’t true!  This is not some obscure rhetorical matter.  The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention itself has studied the matter, and the Washington Post itself wrote about a it few years ago in a piece titled, “Persistence of Myths Could Alter Public Policy Approach“:

Indeed, repetition seems to be a key culprit. Things that are repeated often become more accessible in memory, and one of the brain’s subconscious rules of thumb is that easily recalled things are true.

So as amusing as it is for the Washington Post to sort of mock the GOP extremists for possibly holding hearings into allegations of fraud that have been thoroughly investigated and debunked, the way the piece is written is inexcusable, though obviously it is not “journalistic malpractice” and I want to state as clearly as possible that I don’t want anybody to think it is even “alleged journalistic malpractice” or to remember the phrase “journalistic malpractice” when they think about the Washington Post coverage of this issue.

I am going to repeat this and put it in bold face to make sure that my meaning is as clear as possible:  Do not think “journalistic malpractice” when you think about the Washington Post coverage of global warming.

For the record, notwithstanding this Post story, there remains a very good chance that the GOP will use hearings in the next two years to attack the science underlying global warming, since it is the cornerstone of the rationale for EPA action.

Related Posts:

Climate Progress

Zurawik: ‘TV Journalism Diminished in Public Mind’ Due to MSNBC’s Election Coverage

November 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Baltimore Sun's media critic is still fuming about MSNBC's pathetic coverage on election night.

In his piece published Saturday, David Zurawik called the cable news network a "liberal prep school" while claiming the behavior of folks like Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell, and Keith Olbermann was "so egregious" that the "entire realm of TV journalism was diminished in the public mind":

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NewsBusters.org – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Federal Officials Offer New Options For High Risk Insurance Coverage In Effort To Boost Enrollment

November 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new plan options and lower premiums in the 24 high risk insurance pools that are under federal control in an effort to bolster enrollment in the fledgling program. The so-called Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) functions as a bridge to the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges for people who can’t find affordable coverage in the individual market, but thus far, the program’s high premiums have kept many eligible individuals from enrolling. The program currently boasts just 8,011 beneficiaries.

Starting January 1, however, Americans enrolled in a federally-run PCIP program, will have two new coverage options: a plan with a $ 1,000 deductible and $ 250 deductible for prescriptions, a $ 2,000 deductible with $ 500 deductible for prescriptions and the exiting option of a combined medical and prescription drug deductible of $ 2,500, which will be paired with a federal health savings account.

“Adjustment in rates in existing and new premiums will be nearly 20 percent below what is currently being charged today, ” Richard Popper, Director for the Office of Insurance Programs in HHS’s Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a said on a conference call attended by the Wonk Room. He suggested that PCIP enrollment levels are comparable to the early enrollment rates in CHIP and predicted that the program’s “enrollment continue to grow and with the change in premiums we see that trend escalate.”

In working towards that end, the government is also stepping up its outreach and enrollment efforts:

– Working with states in the federally-run pool programs to encourage their state insurance departments to require individual market insurance companies to notify those who may deny coverage about the availability of PCIP.

– Encouraging insurers to notify denied applicants about the PCIP option. A number of insurers have agreed to put notice in their denial letters about availability of PCIP.

– Working with the Social Security Administration to inform individuals under 65, who are not yet eligible for Medicare, about PCIP.

– AARP has sent out notices to their 24 million members about the availability of PCIP.

Some of the 27 states that are operating their own high risk health insurance pools are already offering similar options and all states will have “the opportunity to submit any changes they would like to make in their benefits or premiums for 2011.” “But we are not requiring the states to exactly adopt the changes that we are rolling out,” Popper said. “This program is largely build on state flexibility. With that flexibility and with the available products available we don’t feel the need to require them to copy what’s being done on the federal pool level.”

“We are doing everything we can do get as much enrollment and we’re doing as much outreach and we think premiums will help and hope that other states will follow suite,” Liz Fowler, Director for Policy in HHS’s Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight said on the call.

Wonk Room

Daily Commentary – Thursday, November 4th, 2010 – Election Coverage Spin and the New Congress

November 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 
  • Comments on Dana and Clint Van Zandt’s off-air discussion about the election coverage, and thoughts on what the future holds with the new Republican-dominated congress.
Daily Commentary – Thursday, November 4th, 2010 – Election Coverage Spin and the New Congress [1:40m]:  | Download

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Scared Monkeys

Fox News “Fair & Balanced” Offered Best Election Eve Coverage … Shocker, Even Better Than MSNBC

November 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

There is a reason why Fox News is called “Fair & Balanced”.

 The results are in and FOX News offered a more balanced and professional coverage of the 2010 midterm election. During the hours of coverage on FOX, the cable news giant brought in a combination of anaysts on the right, left and center. Of course there were times that there was some smiles and glee on the ride of FOX News personalities, like when Bill O’Reilly wishfully predicted the demise of the despicable Florida House Rep Alan Grayson. As fate would have it, seconds later it was announced Grayson had lost in a landslide. However, clearly FOX News’ coverage was the best.

Fox News’ key decision in their approach to covering the election last night was putting their heaviest hitters on the bench, choosing their up-and-comers Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier to serve as hosts of their coverage, an overt effort to have their news anchors cover the election results instead of their opinion hosts (as opposed to MSNBC.)

The same cannot be said for the pathetic joke of what is called MSLSDMSNBC. Every so often when a key race was announced election night and a key Democrat lost a race, I would change the channel and go to MSNBC to see the reaction. After a while, I like many, could not take suffering what was passed off as election night coverage. There was only so long one could stare at a train wreck. The sophomoric humor, unprofessional and disrespectful behavior was a new low, even for NSNBC. The executives at NBC should be ashamed of what they passed off as a news product. Hopefully, new ownership at Comcast will gut the programming there.

Check out the unprofessional behavior of Crissy Matthews of MSNBC with sitting Congresswoman Michele Bauchmann (MN-R). You can hear Keith Olbermann laughing like a fool in the background as the sorry sad sacks of MSLSD pout, kick and scream at the election results coming in that did not put a thrill up Matthews leg.

 

Not only was MSNBC election night coverage bad, it’s focus was obviously only directed to the moonbat LEFT. Why should we be shocked seeing that every night of their cable shows is the same. At what point is some one going to step in and have adults run the operations over there. Honestly, it would have been better ratings if they just ran reruns of “To Catch a Predator”.

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