It was around this time last year that the mainstream media, including the White House press, became acutely interested in the Affordable Care Act, showering the law with attention (if not factual accuracy), so when White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest released some big news about the law today, the reaction was amazing. Earnest knowingly kicked off Friday's briefing with "a topic that I know you're all very interested in," and announced some huge news about Obamacare. First, there was the newest GDP report, which showed health care inflation continuing its growth at historical lows (1.8% in Q2). followed by the news, this week, that hospitals will save $5.7 billion in unpaid medical bills this year thanks to Obamacare, 74% of which will be from states that expanded Medicaid.
Then, there was the news that, instead of fleeing the Obamacare marketplaces, as doomsayers predicted, 77 additional insurers will be offering plans next year. Finally, Earnest hit the most interesting bullet point of them all, because it's the one the mainstream press spent so much time lying about last year, premiums:
"The average premium for employer-provided coverage went up only 3 percent this year. That's tied for the lowest increase since they began conducting this survey, back in 1999."
That's not to mention the individual market, where premium increases have been lower than prior to Obamacare, but where the choices available mean that consumers can limit their increases to an average of 1% by shopping around. According to another recent report, premiums for Silver plans in 16 major cities will actually fall by an average of .8 percent.
As it turns out, Earnest slightly overestimated the amount of interest White House reporters would show in this big news. For the remainder of the briefing, the topic never came up. As usual, there were only a couple of topics that dominated the briefing, and today they were ISIS, the UNGA, , the White House fence-jumper, and Attorney General Holder's replacement, but they did find time to hit on these other important topics:
Obviously, there's nothing wrong with asking what a fasting world leader is going to have for dinner, but given the contortions these same reporters made to think up questions about Obamacare when the news wasn't so good (or accurate), you would think they could muster at least one question, even a dickish one, like "You said states had 'smartly' expanded Medicaid, so are you calling the other states stupid?"
This blackout from the White House press corps is, of course, mirrored by the larger mainstream media, which has shown no inclination to make up for the harm they did with their inaccurate and destructive coverage of Obamacare's first six months. The old "we do't report when airplanes land" saw doesn't really apply here, either, because, as Earnest pointed out, there are still people dying in states that haven't expanded Medicaid, including veterans. That this decision is also bad for business isn't surprising, but it's definitely news.