The Big Three networks' morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the Government Accountability Office's investigation of ObamaCare's sign-up process that uncovered that fraudulent documents were able to procure federal health plans and subsidies. On Wednesday, Amy Goldstein of the Washington Post reported that "undercover GAO investigators tried to obtain health plans for a dozen fictitious applicants....All but one of the fake applicants ended up getting subsidized coverage — and have kept it."
Brian Williams glossed over this GAO investigation on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, but set aside 21 seconds of air time to tout the latest enrollment numbers for ObamaCare: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The press continues its disinterested fiddling while the royal mess known as Obamacare burns through money and exhausts the patience of those attempting any kind of oversight.
One of the more obvious examples of this is how the Washington Post's May 17 story on errors in calculating Obamacare subsidies has gone absolutely nowhere. About one-third of the 20 results returned in a Google News search on "healthcare subsidies" (not in quotes) at 11 p.m. ET Friday evening were partial reprints or rewrites of the original story by WaPo reporters Amy Goldstein and Sandhya Somashekhar. Most of the remaining results were from center-right outlets, while a few came from medical sites. The results didn't change much when searching on "health care" instead of "healthcare." What the WaPo pair reported is a breathtaking cacophony of incompetence which, as Heritage noted last year, won't even "solve" itself when Obamacare enrollees file their 2014 tax returns. Goldstein and Somashekhar also missed an opportunity to make a fundamental point, which is that everyone who has enrolled has some exposure.
It’s the bland leading the bland as Obamacare enrollment (sort of) ends. The front page of Monday’s Washington Post carries the headline “New fronts in health battle: Challenges after sign-up milestone.” (Yawn.) The pull quote inside on A-2 is “The unresolved issues mean it is far too soon to know how President Obama’s signature domestic achievement will turn out.”
In that case, why use the word “achievement”? Did they describe the Iraq War as Bush's "signature achievement"? In doing so, the Post sounds just like Obama adviser David Plouffe, whom they quoted from ABC saying “The law’s working” and it’s a “seminal achievement.” The Post account left out Bill Kristol’s response on ABC that Democrats aren’t saying “the law’s working” on the campaign trail.
"More time for health sign-up" cheered the Washington Post front-page headline for Amy Goldstein's March 26 story on the administration's latest ObamaCare delay, this time for the individual mandate which requires Americans to be insured so as to avoid paying a "tax" penalty. In an amazing dereliction of her journalistic duty, Goldstein utterly failed to mention that just two weeks earlier HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified to Congress that, in fact, the March 31 sign-up deadline was not going to move.
Goldstein, of course, was too busy parroting the administration's talking points and turning to supposedly non-ideological "consumer advocates" who hailed the deadline extension (emphasis mine):
The Obama administration is preparing to put in place yet another delay in ObamaCare, forestalling a wave of insurance policy cancelations that are mandated by law in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In doing so, some of the negative repercussions of ObamaCare will be delayed until well after the November 2014 midterm election.
The political journalists at the Washington Post are no fools, they must surely realize the nakedly political nature of the move, but the reader would not get that from Amy Goldstein's coverage in March 5 print article, which editors buried at the item at the bottom of page A6 with the bland headline, "Americans may be able to keep old health-care plans longer under rewrite of rules." What's more, Goldstein waited until the eighth and final paragraph to give a fleeting, misleading account of Republican criticism:
The Obama administration today revealed that more than half of the sign-ups for ObamaCare are aged 45 and older, hardly the sort of young, healthy insurance pool the White House was hoping for.
On their websites, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times all focused on the older/sicker skew of the Healthcare.gov signups. The Washington Post, however, tried to accentuate the positive for the administration. "Young adults make up almost one-quarter of health sign-ups," cheered the WashingtonPost.com headline [see collage of headlines below the page break]. But as Louise Radnofsky reported for the Journal (emphasis mine):
With a headline at a Washington Post story by Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin reading "Obama administration quietly extends health-care enrollment deadline by a day," you would think that the administration issued some kind of press release without comment — or at least, as was the case with its announcement waiving the individual mandate for those who had individual policies cancelled, communicated the change to sympathetic senators or congresspersons.
Nope. The Post's detailed coverage tells us that those involved merely made "a software change that government officials and IT contractors inserted into the computer system over the weekend for the online insurance marketplace." Readers will see who was actually told about the change after the jump (bolds are mine):
Saturday’s Washington Post served up the Kool-Aid with this Obamacare headline on the front page: “Health Web site to meet deadline: Officials set to announce fixes.” The entire story by Juliet Eilperin and Amy Goldstein is unanimously just Obama and his tech-helpers. There are no launch critics anywhere to be found.
“As of Friday night, federal officials and contractors had achieved two goals, according to government officials who spoke on the conditition of anonymity in order to discuss ongoing operations,” the reporters said. But by noon Saturday, they were updating to back away from the giddy optimism:
In an otherwise decent article in today's Washington Post, staffer Amy Goldstein suggested that the U.S. health insurance industry is ideologically conservative despite its support for the controversial and unconstitutional "individual mandate" provision of ObamaCare.
The relevant portion is found midway through her page A3 article, "Mandatory coverage moves to forefront of health-care debate":
The debate over whether the mandate is essential does not split neatly along ideological lines. The insurance industry, a part of the health-care system that the White House has vilified, shares the administration's view that the mandate must accompany other insurance rules in the law.
A new ABC-Washington Post poll found ObamaCare sunk to its lowest popularity yet: 52 percent opposed, and only 43 percent in favor. ABC mentioned the poll without fanfare at the end of a Jake Tapper report on Monday’s World News, and Tapper added this was the health law's "lowest level of popularity ever." But Tuesday’s Washington Post reported not one sentence on the poll in the paper – even as they reported in the paper that the same survey found Obama’s tax-and-unemployment-compensation deal has “broad bipartisan support.”
This is the same Post that highlighted the news on Page One on October 20, 2009, when they found a “clear majority” in favor of a socialist “public option” -- amid charges they oversampled Democrats.
The numbers weren't excluded because they arrived late. The Post poll numbers went up on the website yesterday at about 1 pm, under the headline “Health care opponents divided on repeal.” That obscured the numbers a bit, as Cohen found a “slim majority” (not a “clear majority”?) currently oppose ObamaCare: