Health care reform is far from over

By Emily Hutto

ProducersWEB


The wait is nearly up. This week, the Supreme Court will rule on Obama's health care plan, but it's looking like the President and Congress still have their work cut out for them.

In 2007 and 2008, health care accounted for less than 1 percent of all mainstream media coverage. Now it accounts for more than 25 percent, according to The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. The Center recently conducted a 10-month study of television news, newspaper, magazines and online publications relating to health care reform, targeting the key messaging coming from supporters and opponents of Obama's proposed law.

Supporters, The Center found, expressed via media that the reform would insure pre-existing health care conditions and that it would enhance competition among providers. Their message also conveyed a greedy insurance industry.

The Center found more clarity and repetition in the opponents' message: The new health care plan will raise taxes and ration health care, and it calls for further government involvement. The report concludes that opponents of the law were more effective in their media outreach than its proponents.

While only one-third of Americans back this specific reform, three-quarters of Americans desire government involvement in their health care. A June Associated Press-GfK poll suggests that opponents and supporters of the reform said they want the Obama administration to work on a new health bill, whether or not the current one passes.

Of more than 1000 American adults polled, 58 percent of the Republicans in the group believed that the upcoming election will largely impact the country's health care system. Forty-two percent of independents and 42 percent of Democrats agreed.

Suffice to say, increased media coverage of health care reform shows no signs of stopping. And the future of health care's status in this country all hangs on the next week. Stay tuned.