Here’s the challenge the White House faces in telling Obamacare success stories: Try to picture a headline that says, “Obamacare does what it’s supposed to do.”It goes on like that, for paragraph after paragraph, and to the reporter's credit does tell a few of those success stories. But what it doesn't do is examine exactly why it is the media has such a low bar for Obamacare horror stories. After all, we've seen a whole mess of those stories that, once dug into a little bit, completely collapse. Like this one that Jed Lewison wrote about, a story completely mangled by the Fort Worth Star Telegram easily debunked with just a little bit of follow up. The Wire has a compendium of a few of the other most egregious cases.
Somehow, the Obama administration and its allies will have to convince news outlets to run those kinds of stories—and to give the happy newly insured the same kind of attention as the outraged complainers whose health plans were canceled because of the law.
That’s a complicated task. Loud and angry usually trumps contented and grateful when it comes to sound bites, and news organizations will have a high bar for anecdotes that reflect well on the new law, given the prevailing narrative surrounding its disastrous debut.
And yet, the success stories do exist. For all the problems with the health care rollout and the disruptions the Affordable Care Act has caused, from canceled plans to “sticker shock” from people who are disappointed with their choices, there are also people who are getting exactly what they’re supposed to get: better prices and more stable coverage of their pre-existing conditions.
So yes, traditional media, be more proactive in telling the good news stories, too. But first how about trying to commit some journalism by getting all the facts on the horror stories, too.