22 March 2010


For the last year, health card reform in the media has consisted
almost exclusively of process related stories: the filibuster, the
gang of six, reconciliation, deem-n-pass, etc. It's all been about
"who's up, who's down," who's winning, who's losing. A lot if heat and
very little light.

The radio & news shows today are all about the policy implications of
the bill, now that it is passed. Explaining to people what it is, what
it will do, what it won't do, covering the actual details of the
reforms and the effect it will have on the lives of working Americans.

Sigh. It would have been nice if the media had covered that before the
bill became law. It might have resulted in a better bill, or at least
easier passage of the decent bill we got.


  1. Hear, hear!! I absolutely agree. Even though I'm not a fan of the bill as passed (despite some last-minute tweaks that made it more palatable), I'm glad it was passed so that we have something to work with.

    If it had lost, we'd be dealing with more months (if not years) of Republican gloating and Democratic finger-pointing, and get absolutely nothing accomplished.

  2. Yeah, that!


  3. At least a part of the reason that substance is not covered is that bills change substantially right up until the final vote. Remember how often the legislators don't even have a chance to read the bill before voting. How *could* the media reliably report the substance when it's 2,000 pages the night before the vote?


  4. Matt,

    To a degree this criticism does not apply to the HCR bill. The Senate bill passed 12/24 and passed the House unchanged three months later. So there was a high degree of stability there.

    It IS true that the final language of the reconciliation bill was released only three days before the vote, so that is in fairness a short timeline. The reconciliation bill, however, consists largely of minor tweaks to the Senate bill, so it's not much excuse to the media. Also, the policy details of reconciliation were public about two weeks before the vote.

    The real truth is that the media is much more interested in lazy/dramatic horserace reporting than in boring policy reporting.


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