Press Ignoring CNN's Report of WH Pressure on Health Insurance Industry to Stay Mum on Obamacare-Driven Policy Cancellations

Tuesday evening (noted by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters early Wednesday morning), CNN's Drew Griffin reported on Anderson Cooper's show that there is a "behind the scenes attempt by the White House to at least keep insurers from publicly criticizing what is happening under this Affordable Care Act rollout."

Such a report occurring during a Republican or conservative administration would spread like wildfire. Sadly and predictably, that hasn't happened with CNN's bombshell. Using search strings which should have surfaced relevant results if present, I couldn't find anything on the topic at the Associated Press, New York Times, the Politco, or Washington Post.


A Google News search on "white house pressure insurance" (not in quotes, sorted by date) at 11:15 a.m. ET returned 12 relevant results. Besides CNN, Fox News, and the UK Daily Mail, all are center-right alternative media outlets.

Here are key excerpts from the CNN transcript (bolds are mine throughout this post):

ANDERSON COOPER: ... More breaking news, evidence that the Obama administration is leaning on insurance companies to keep a lid on problems with the health care law rollout.

... DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, what's going on is behind the scenes attempt by the White House to at least keep insurers from publicly criticizing what is happening under this Affordable Care Act rollout. Basically if you speak out, if you are quoted, you're going to get a call from the White House, pressure to be quiet.

Several sources tell me and my colleague Chris Frates that insurance executives are being told to keep quiet. Bob Laszewski who heads the Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a consulting firm for big insurance and an outspoken critic of Obamacare, says he is getting calls from these executives who want him to speak out, Anderson, for them about the problems because they feel defenseless against the White House P.R. team.

Laszewski told me today, "The White House is exerting massive pressure on the industry including the trade associations to keep quiet." And sources telling us they feared White House retribution.

COOPER: So, I mean, what specifically are -- do they say that they're being told to keep quiet about?

GRIFFIN: About the fact that clarifications were made to the Affordable Care Act after the law was passed and those clarifications are forcing the insurance industry to drop insurance plans that do not meet Obamacare requirements. There's a lot of coverage now required in these plans, that was not part of many people's private health care plans. Those are the people, Anderson, who are being dropped and despite all the ... rhetoric, I should say, from the president. You simply cannot keep your current health care plan if it does not meet these requirements.

Laszewski says the insurance industry is embarrassed about cancelling the plans but in an interview last week he told me the administration was warned about this very scenario and they ignored the advice.

GRIFFIN: ... basically the insurance companies are in a position to just be quiet for fear of offending basically their biggest source of income.

CNN seems squeamish about its own report. The front-end topics list at the transcript link gives no indication of the White House pressure it reported:

Warning Obamacare is Not Ready for Launch; Insurance Execs versus Obamacare; Did Obama Mislead on Health Care Law?; Interview with Glenn Greenwald; Greenwald On NSA Leaks: "We Don't Tell Terrorists Anything They Didn't Already Know"; Body Parts Found in L.A. Sewage Plants; Macneill's Daughter Describes Finding Mother in Tub; Macy's Accused of Racially Profiling a Man Who Was Detained By Police After Buying Expensive Watch

The topic description makes it look like the "Insurance Execs" are the bad guys doing harm to poor little Obamacare.

All of this enough to make one wonder if the same pressures raining down on insurance carriers are being applied to the news organizations themselves. One almost hopes that's the case, because the alternative would have to be that they really don't think the White House pressure is news. There's no way they would come to the same conclusion about a similar matter during a Republican or conservative presidential administration.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.