NPR Bemoans That Few Think Obamacare Will Benefit Them

On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Julie Rovner promoted the supposed benefits of ObamaCare, and played up a recent poll which found that "about a third of those without health insurance think the law will help them, and that's because only about half know that it includes key provisions that will make insurance more available and affordable."

The sole source for the correspondent's report was an August 2011 tracking poll conducted by the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation. Rovner played three sound bites from Drew Altman, who works for the foundation, and none from opponents of ObamaCare. In his first clip, Altman highlighted how a majority of people surveyed for the poll agree that "it [ObamaCare] really does help the uninsured. Thirty-two million uninsured people will get coverage."

After noting that according to the poll, "only about half know that it includes key provisions that will make insurance more available and affordable," the NPR journalist played a second sound bite from Altman, who attributed the low numbers to the opponents of the liberal legislation, and added that it could also be explained by the fact that the law hasn't fully gone into effect yet:

ROVNER: One conclusion, he [Altman] says, is that the law's supporters have let opponents define the law on their terms.

ALTMAN: That's why it became, in the minds of many, a government takeover.

ROVNER: But Altman thinks there's something else. The uninsured, like everyone else outside of Washington, have so far experienced the health law as little more than a political debate.

One detail from the poll that both Rovner and Altman omitted during the segment is how more people are opposed to ObamaCare (44%) than support it (39%), and that "six in ten Democrats have a favorable view of the law (the lowest support among Democrats since the law's passage)."

The NPR correspondent has consistently given biased coverage on health care issues. In March 2011, Rovner played up the "benefits" of ObamaCare. The following month, she slanted towards proponents of federal funding of contraceptives. Just over a month ago, the journalist spun the debate over a propose mandate for private insurance companies to cover birth control as being between "women's health groups" and "conservatives."

The full transcript of Julie Rovner's report from Tuesday's Morning Edition:

STEVE INSKEEP: And now let's look at a new study of the government's health overhaul. NPR's Julie Rovner reports that many of the people most likely to be helped by it don't know it.

Julie Rovner, NPR Correspondent, taken from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/images/health/jan-june09/0226_healthcare_rovner3.jpg | NewsBusters.orgJULIE ROVNER: When it comes to last year's huge health law, there's not much that people agree on, but there is one thing, says Drew Altman of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

DREW ALTMAN, KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION: And that's that it really does help the uninsured. Thirty-two million uninsured people will get coverage.

ROVNER: But the latest monthly tracking poll by Altman's foundation finds that only about a third of those without health insurance think the law will help them, and that's because only about half know that it includes key provisions that will make insurance more available and affordable- things like new tax credits and a huge expansion of the Medicaid program for able-bodied adults. One conclusion, he says, is that the law's supporters have let opponents define the law on their terms.

ALTMAN: That's why it became, in the minds of many, a government takeover.

ROVNER: But Altman thinks there's something else. The uninsured, like everyone else outside of Washington, have so far experienced the health law as little more than a political debate.


ALTMAN: And what it means is this will be real for people when it's real, which is mostly in 2014.

ROVNER: Because that's when most of the new benefits for those without insurance take effect. Until then, the law is just so many words on paper, and so much political hot air. Julie Rovner, NPR News, Washington.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center