3 over-hyped healthcare reform stories


Health reform-related stories have certainly been extremely popular this year throughout all media sources, whether industry-focused or mainstream. However, there's been a fair share of stories that over-dramatized issues, giving them more attention than was warranted, reported California Healthline.

What three puffed-up reform stories took the media spotlight this year? California Healthline took a deep dive--here are some of the highlights from the article:

1. Unprepared state health insurance exchanges:
Multiple news outlets reported on the lack of preparedness for the Oct. 1 launch of insurance exchanges. They cited a report from the Government Accountability Office, which warned that incomplete tasks and testing as well as slow consumer outreach would jeopardize the exchange rollout.

But some media outlets included state exchanges in their coverage of the report. And the 14 state-based exchanges have managed a much smoother rollout of their online marketplaces than the feds.

In the first week of open enrollment, for example, New York exchange officials said 40,000 people signed up for a health plan, while 27,000 people created accounts and partially completed an application on California's exchange.

2. Employer, individual mandate fairness:
After President Barack Obama delayed the employer mandate until 2015, much media coverage focused on whether it was fair to delay the employer mandate without also postponing the individual mandate. 

However, California Healthline noted the delay of the employer mandate barely affects health coverage in that market, whereas postponing the individual mandate delay could lead to 11 million uninsured consumers next year.

3. Public opinion:
Media coverage of public opinion polls on the reform law has been widespread, "creating a No Man's Land of percentages and fractions that have added up to surprisingly few common themes," the California Healthline reporter wrote.

For example, a Reuters/Ipsos poll released in September concluded young adults support the reform law and will shop on exchanges, while a Harvard Institute of Politics survey from December concluded most young adults disapprove of the reform law.

To learn more:
- read the California Healthline article

Related Articles:
Exchanges open to strong consumer interest, technical glitches
GAO warns delays threaten health exchange rollout
State exchanges enroll more consumers than federal marketplace
White House delays employer mandate until 2015
GOP strategizes to delay individual mandate
Healthy young adults will shop on exchanges
Survey: Most young adults disapprove of reform