After the realization that I live in an echo chamber with opaque blue walls, I started following Breitbart news on Facebook. It’s been tough and enlightening, to say the least.
I’ve started noticing some patterns in how Breitbart presents their news and how my sources present their news and how my scientist brain wants to have news presented. I’ve found that my usual liberal sources are actually shockingly similar to Breitbart in many ways, and I’m starting to learn about so many of the nuances involved in communicating fairly. I never took speech or debate in high school, so I’m still processing a lot of these ideas. Today’s news about Tom Price struck me as a really clear example to show these contrasting experiences. That, plus all the headlines like ”FAKE NEWS:
I found out about Trump’s pick for Health Secretary this morning, from a Facebook post by Breitbart. The article says this about Price’s Empowering Patients First Act:
Indeed, as far back as 2013, Rep. Price proposed to repeal and replace Obamacare by introducing the “Empowering Patients First Act,” which would provide coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. “[T]o make sure no one is priced out of the health insurance market because of a pre-existing illness or injury, the Empowering Patients First Act provides for the creation of robust pooling plans that would ensure that any one person’s health status does not increase his or her costs or the costs of others in the same pool.”
Sounds pretty alright, right? That was my thought at 9 a.m. this morning. Though of course I didn’t have much to go off of, except what I was given…
That said, given that the Breitbart article was “breaking” the news, it’s (sort of) understandable that there aren’t more details in the article. I hope they’ll take a more in-depth look into the plan (though I am also skeptical - most of the articles I’ve read from Breitbart are approximately the same length as this one).
This evening, my friend posted this Vox piece about the same topic. It’s at least five times the length of the Breitbart article, and has an in-depth analysis of Price’s plan vs. Obamacare vs. the other Republican plans. It’s got lots of great facts and gives some good pros and cons for Price’s plans vs. the others.
The plans under Price’s proposal would near certainly be cheaper because they wouldn’t have to cover so many benefits. A 55-year-old under Empowering Patients might find lower premiums for plans that cover fewer benefits. But it’s also true that the plans that do offer comprehensive benefits would likely prove financially out of reach for many.
It also offers the analysis in a way that really respects the thought and work Price has put into his legislation:
Price will arrive at HHS with a clear blueprint for what comes next. He is the author of the Empowering Patients First Act, one of the most thorough and detailed proposals to repeal and replace Obamacare.
I also really like this article because it doesn’t seem very biased to me - in fact, it assumes that Obamacare is definitely on its way out (and doesn’t trumpet an appeal to the liberal masses to come out and save it):
The question right now isn’t whether Republicans have plans to repeal Obamacare. It’s which parts of which plans they’ll pick — and how quickly they’ll coalesce around one option.
But in choosing Price, Trump is signaling that he is serious about dismantling Obamacare. He has found one of the law’s most ardent, knowledgeable, and prepared opponents, and put him in charge of the effort.
That said, once I’ve been presented with all of the facts, it pretty clear to me that this plan goes completely against my values. And to people with different values, it might sound great! The thing is, you just can’t take that journey with the Breitbart article - you’re automatically taken to the destination.
The Vox article is just so rich, and also so rare. Since following Breitbart, I’ve started noticing how shallow most news articles are. Forget fake news - the real problem is that so many of the articles we read (including from the liberal media) don’t even give us the news at all! They just jump straight to their value judgments, without ever giving us a chance to make our own.