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LA media outlet abrogates duty on health deabte coverage

Pres. Barack Obama’s fading radical shift to universal, government provided health care coverage hit the beachhead of Louisiana in an effort to revive its flagging fortunes, courtesy of an eager front group and a lazy newspaper.

The Times-Picayune published a story of a study released by a group known as Families USA. The study argued that in Louisiana for almost a decade health care premiums rose more quickly than family incomes, and said how to change that was by more emphasis on preventative care, better management of chronic conditions, increased coordination, not enough regulation of health insurance, reversal of too little competition in the insurance market requiring more regulation and through creation of a publicly-funded insurance option, and reduced cost shifting from the uninsured to the insured by forcibly increasing coverage.

If this sounds familiar, it is because it mimics the socialist agenda of Obama on health care. This should be no surprise, because Families USA since its founding has been an outspoken advocate for the liberal public policy agenda when it comes to health care – something not noted by the newspaper. It receives the vast majority of its funding from the labor movement, has relentlessly criticized market-based solutions to improvement of coverage, and it’s no accident that when then-Sen. Obama famously proclaimed America would see (presumably by his hand) universal coverage by 2012, it was at this organization’s conference.

While the newspaper does note that the group “supports most of the concepts that President Barack Obama has outlined,” it fails point out its leftist credentials, to critically appraise its claims, or to seek out an alternative viewpoint to the policy prescriptions that the group shills. It mentions only three changes the group advocates including the two least controversial, condition management and coordination, but fails to provide balance concerning the farcical notion of what the group calls the “Medicare windfall.”

That refers to the Medicare Advantage program, introduced over the group’s extreme objections a few years ago precisely because it brought more competition into the provision of Medicare. The program has been a success because it based upon challenging the government’s overseeing of administration of senior care, which has produced more access, options, benefits, and better value. This has made it a prime target of Democrats and groups like this precisely because it interferes with the monopolization of health care power by government.

As for some of the other unreported recommendations, they border on the ludicrous, if not counterintuitive. Anybody with any understanding of economics and human behavior knows that to create price pressure downwards, you don’t drive it away with the “public option,” you increase competition through such means as health savings accounts and vouchers. Increased regulation has created the cost problems principally because consumers can’t shop across state lines and states force certain kinds of coverage. And the peril of cost shifting is a presumed problem they greatly exaggerate, thereby casting doubt on the very conclusion that premiums are rising fasting than income given the group’s history of manipulating methodology to support its agenda.

With the liberal dream of universal, government health care starting to falter, look for more public relations efforts like this group’s to try to rescue it. It should be the job of the media to report comprehensively on these efforts, and at least warn the public of the motives of these kinds of groups. Leaving an impression that unimpeachable results ineluctably lead to certain policy choices means the media abrogate their duty.

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