All the news that’s fit to print

By Denis Storey


As journalists -- and yes, there are a few of us left -- what we choose to report is just as critical as how we report it.

We often have discussions, sometimes disagreements and occasionally outright arguments internally about what we cover, how we cover it and how we put it in front of you.

And, no, it’s not as bad, or as contentious, as it sounds. It’s actually healthy for journalists. It keeps us sharp honest, and often entertained. We clearly don’t get out much.

Just last week, we debated the administration’s press release touting how much consumers would save on premiums thanks to rate reviews as articulated in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (A colleague actually weighed on in this here, so I won’t get into that.)

The point of contention was over the administration’s $1.2 billion figure, which grew out of some pretty creative math. As such, I refused to fall into their trap and we played the story straight, simply reporting the latest on the rate reviews, which you can check out here. The story wasn’t nearly as sexy as it could have been, but it kept us above the fray.

Two other stories broke today. One, the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau, gives us the latest numbers on poverty and the uninsured in this country. I’ll weigh in on those figures tomorrow.

The other story stems from yet another self-congratulatory press release from Health and Human Services, which proclaimed how many millions will be able to get health insurance for less than $100 a month. Sounds great, but while the right hand of Kathleen Sebelius is showing us these great numbers, the left is stuck firmly behind her back. We have yet to see a clear, comprehensive list of exchange rates with open enrollment just of couple of weeks away. And, for the record, I don’t believe for a second that they don’t have a spreadsheets of actual costs stashed somewhere in their piles of paperwork.

For an administration so publicly -- and vocally -- big on transparency, they’re awfully bad at it in practice. We could sure use another Eric Snowden to jump up out of HHS and blow the whistle on what’s really going on with not only rates, but the security of their vaunted data hub and their realistic readiness for enrollment. Among other things ...

But I’m guessing that’s one birthday wish I won’t be getting.

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