It looks like a good article — Hialeah and Weston: A tale of two cities, one health crisis but don't look too carefully.
The key facts reported appear in paragraphs four and five (after a back-in lead humanizing the statistics):
More than half of Hialeah adults aged 18-64 — 53.1 percent — lack health insurance, according to Census data released last week. That's almost three times the national average and the highest rate in South Florida. The lowest — 13.8 percent — is in Weston.
That disparity “could certainly be a poster child about the need for reform,'' says Robert Berenson, a physician who is a health policy expert at the Urban Institute.
So far, so good. But then the Herald chickens out in paragraph six.
The congressmen for the two cities — Republican Lincoln Diaz-Balart for Hialeah and Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz for Weston — agree reform is needed, but have completely different ideas on what should be done.
And the we don't learn a thing about what they (or others) think should be done…until paragraphs 23-26, the final graphs of the article:
In an e-mail to The Miami Herald, Diaz-Balart wrote that something needed to be done, in particular to help small businesses. He proposes allowing them to “to pool together to negotiate and purchase health insurance, across state lines,'' which should drop premium prices through leveraged buying and increased competition.
“Individuals who are self-employed should receive tax credits to help them purchase health insurance'' across state lines, the Republican wrote.
Wasserman Schultz sent an e-mail saying the contrast between the cities “show clearly the need for health insurance reform.'' She strongly supports a public option and strict controls on private insurers so that they can't reject applicants for preexisting conditions. She also advocates subsidies for people who can't afford coverage.
“Whether it is 13 percent or 53 percent, Americans need to have the stability and security that come from having quality, affordable, health insurance choices,'' the Democrat wrote.
Yes, that's it. Not one word on whether either or both of those plans would address the problem. Hint: Diaz-Ballard's “plan” is not going to do much about small businesses that feel they can't afford to give people health care or the low wages that make it unaffordable plus going accross state lines will weaken enforcement efforts. Waserman Schultz's “subsidies” might, depending how big they are and how they are targeted, but it's a fairly meaningless idea unless it is connected to a realistic proposal now on the Hill — is it? And if not, what if anything does Waserman Schultz, a power in the Democratic Party, intend to do about it?
In short, the Herald ducked everything complicated, important, and interesting about this story. It failed to help readers figure out which if any of their representatives were actively engaged in doing anything meaningful about the problem. And this on one of the leading political controversies in the country, one which the House will be voting on soon.
And it's not as if the Herald can't find or is afraid to quote experts — they put one in paragraph five (quoted above) after all.
I am as loyal a reader and lover of newspapers as you will find anywhere, but more and more wonder why I keep my Herald subscription as the paper gets thinner and duller.
I used to say I got the Herald for the local news, but we've now had not one, but two days of opinion columns and one news story telling us that the recent arrests of politicians in Broward were no surprise. Well, it certainly was a surprise to readers of the Herald, as I doubt there was ever a hint of this in its pages…
Comments closed due to attack robots