Another anti-Obamacare talking point featured conservative media figures decrying the allegedly undemocratic process by which Congress passed the ACA, claiming that Democrats were trying to “ram it down America’s throat.” Right-wing media took then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) comment “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it” at the National Association of Counties out of context, to scandalize the health law as a secretive, closed door deal.
The continued fight over the potential replacement has inadvertently highlighted the tangible gains achieved by the ACA and made the public acutely aware of the negative impacts of repeal. New polling finds the ACA is increasingly popular, especially as news outlets highlight stories of individuals who would be impacted by repeal.
Media outlets must contextualize the impact of repealing Obamacare in terms of the gains that have already been achieved and how those improvements will be affected or reversed by Republican policies.
While no concrete plan for a replacement currently exists, repealing Obamacare remains a top priority for the incoming Trump administration. Journalists must start asking questions about what a replacement plan will look like, how it will affect millions of Americans who gained coverage under the ACA, and what its true goals are.
Journalists must raise the bar when interviewing Trump and his surrogates, from merely calling out falsehoods to actively putting statements into context and offering facts and data.
Right-wing media are pre-emptively attacking a “public option” health care proposal supported by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama by linking it to supposedly “socialist” single-payer systems that have been routinely demonized through the history of health care reform.
Breitbart News has relentlessly defended Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and problematic statements, from commending Trump for “changing the debate on illegal immigration” with his statement that Mexican immigrants are “rapists” to defending Corey Lewandowski over Breitbart News’ own reporter, Michelle Fields.