A Doozie

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen someone bend over quite so far backwards to mislead people about what’s contained in a story. But it is Lisa Myers. So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised? We were just discussing this amongst our ed staff: it’s true that the White House did oversell how little change there would be in the individual insurance market. But saying that millions of people are getting ‘cancellation notices’ or ‘losing their coverage’ is deeply misleading.

What’s happening in most of these cases is that is that people are being notified that they’re being automatically rolled over into new policies, which pretty much by definition provide fuller and more complete coverage. Some of those policies are more expensive, even after the subsidies the law provides to offset these increases. Some people really will just pay more at the end of the day – especially being who are both healthy and affluent.

Marco Rubio is out with a version of this claim for Florida, telling Bill O’Reilly that today “it was announced that 300,000 people are going to lose their individual coverage because of Obamacare.” But Politfact for once got this right calling the claim mostly false.

An accurate way to portray what’s happening might go like this: Millions of people are finding out that they’re being rolled over into new policies that provide fuller coverage. But some may end up paying more, even after the subsidies that the law provides.

Hearing that there’s any change in your policy, anything you need to think about, another issue on your list of rent, kids, retirement, job etc. does and will freak some people out. And that gives opponents of the law a lot of opportunities to demagogue what’s happening and intentionally mislead. One would hope it wouldn’t be a lead reporter from NBC News though.

But the way Myers is pitching the story is basically a BOOM headline that is misleading on the actual details.

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