From Portside <[email protected]>
Subject How the Mainstream Media Tries to Convince You That Medicare for All Is Impossible
Date October 18, 2019 1:37 AM
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[ The insinuation that Medicare for All would somehow leave people
currently insured under a private company behind elevates a popular
right-wing talking point used to dissuade Americans against
single-payer health care.] [[link removed]]

HOW THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA TRIES TO CONVINCE YOU THAT MEDICARE FOR ALL
IS IMPOSSIBLE   [[link removed]]

 

Celisa Calacal
October 16, 2019
Independent Media Institute
[[link removed]]


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_ The insinuation that Medicare for All would somehow leave people
currently insured under a private company behind elevates a popular
right-wing talking point used to dissuade Americans against
single-payer health care. _

A Reuters poll last year, found 70 percent of Americans (including 52
percent of Republicans) support “Medicare for All,” as universal
healthcare now has been branded, was received with surprise by many.
But this finding—should not have been unexpected, Graphic: "Medicare
for All,” Juhan Sonin; The Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)

 

Despite numerous
[[link removed]] polls
[[link removed]] showing
a majority of the public supports a Medicare for All, single-payer
health care system, reports from mainstream media paint a different
picture. In a New York Times election piece from February on the
Democratic candidates’ stances on health care, Alexander
Burns explains
[[link removed]] that
Medicare for All “would require so much public funding and would
force many people who like their existing health insurance to change
plans.” Another New York Times article by Margot Sanger-Katz claims
[[link removed]] that
Medicare for All “would do away with all private health
insurance.” Chelsea Janes and Michael Scherer in a piece
[[link removed]] for
the Washington Post even go so far as to say that moving the U.S. to a
Medicare for All system could be “just as disruptive as the GOP’s
push to kill the ACA.”

This kind of framing and description of Medicare for All—that it
would eliminate private health insurance and force people off their
current plans—pervades the mainstream narrative around single-payer
health care. The problem, however, is that these descriptions are
half-truths. Yes, a Medicare for All plan, like the kind proposed by
Sen. Bernie Sanders and what most of the media refer to when talking
about single-payer health care, would end up eliminating private
health insurance. But, it would do so with the purpose of putting
every person in the U.S. on a government-run plan to ensure that every
person would have adequate health care, only without the exorbitant
out-of-pocket costs that have become commonplace in our current health
care system.

What results from this kind of obscuring and omitting of information
is a narrative that misleads the public into believing that a Medicare
for All plan would ultimately hurt them. In addition, the implication
that the fight for Medicare for All would be “just as disruptive”
as the Republican Party’s attempts to gut the Affordable Care Act is
a faulty comparison—wanting to kick more people off their health
insurance is nowhere near the same as wanting every person to have
adequate health care coverage.

Another common mainstream media trope about Medicare for All is that
such a plan would hurt the people who receive health insurance from
their employer. But what this line of thinking ignores is how Medicare
for All would make it so that Americans would not be reliant on their
jobs or their employers for health care.

Televised news is also guilty of being misleading when it comes to
describing Medicare for All. During the second Democratic primary
debate hosted by CNN, moderator Jake Tapper asked
[[link removed]] Bernie
Sanders: “You support Medicare-for-all, which would eventually take
private health insurance away from more than 150 million Americans in
exchange for government-sponsored health care for everyone.
Congressman [John] Delaney just referred to it as bad policy, and
previously he’s called the idea political suicide that will just get
President Trump reelected. What do you say to Congressman Delaney?”

 

The insinuation that Medicare for All would somehow leave people
currently insured under a private company behind elevates a popular
right-wing talking point used to dissuade Americans against
single-payer health care. But by peddling half-truths about Medicare
for All and single-payer health care, the mainstream media unfairly
characterize the policy as both extremely unpopular and terrible for
the country.

The reality, however, is far different, as many public opinion polls
show a widespread majority of Americans supporting a Medicare for All
system. Many articles in the mainstream press fail to mention this,
and the pieces that do are also quick to include polling showing that
support for Medicare for All decreases when people are asked if they
would still support the plan if it means getting rid of private health
insurance.

In a Washington Post piece from August, “Why 2020 Democrats Are
Backing off Medicare-for-All, in Four Charts
[[link removed]],”
Amber Phillips cites a July poll
[[link removed]] conducted
by the Washington Post and ABC News showing that, while 52 percent of
Americans and 77 percent of Democrats like Medicare for All, support
drops (to 43 percent for all Americans, 66 percent for Democrats) when
respondents are told that such a plan would eliminate private
insurance. Phillips goes on to write that an NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist
poll [[link removed]] from July shows that a public
option is more popular than Medicare for All among Americans.

But that is not the entire story of how Medicare for All would impact
Americans, and it’s not the full story of public support for such a
policy.

A Morning Consult poll
[[link removed]] from
July shows majority support for Medicare for All—as well as the
fearmongering impacts of the misinformation about Medicare for All on
public opinion. The respondents were also asked the following two
questions: Would they support Medicare for All if it meant diminishing
the role of private insurance companies, and would they still support
Medicare for All if losing their current private health care plan
meant they could still keep their preferred doctors and hospitals?

The results from all voters regardless of political party are telling:
support for Medicare for All drops from 53 percent to 46 percent in
response to the first question, but then _increases_ to 55 percent
when the respondents were told that Medicare for All would allow
people to keep seeing the same doctors and going to the same
hospitals. Between the two questions, the latter is actually a more
accurate representation of public sentiment of single-payer health
care, because it does a better job explaining one of the basic tenets
of Medicare for All to voters: As Diane Archer explains
[[link removed]] on
Common Dreams, Medicare for All “will provide all Americans their
choice of doctors and hospitals anywhere in the United States.”

Through public opinion polling, it’s clear that once Americans know
the facts about Medicare for All, they support the plan. In fact, the
biggest hurdles to getting Americans better health care are not found
in the Medicare for All plan itself, as some news outlets would claim;
they lie in getting the media to present all the important data when
it comes to reporting the popularity of Medicare for All.

_[Celisa Calacal is a freelance journalist based in Kansas City,
Missouri. She is a writing fellow for the Independent Media Institute
[[link removed]]. She graduated with a degree
in journalism from Ithaca College, where she worked as an editor and
reporter for the Ithacan. Her writing has appeared in the Nation,
ThinkProgress, AlterNet, and Salon. Follow Celisa on
Twitter @celisa_mia [[link removed]].]_

_This article was produced by Economy for All
[[link removed]], a project of
the Independent Media Institute._

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