Health and the Election: Obamacare

The upcoming election serves as a topic of conversation and debate over every minor and major policy. Heavy emphasis was put upon the state of the economy in all three debates — which overshadowed many health and environment issues. One prevailing health topic, however, was Obamacare. Since it was passed into law on June 28th this year it has been a controversial topic, even more so now given the upcoming election. The news sources you rely on could give you a very different interpretation of the pros and cons of the health care act, so I included two blatantly opposite views on Obamacare – one conservative and one liberal.

Obviously an individual on either side of the issue will read one of these articles and become even more adamant about their views. But what are the real facts? One of the recurring arguments that I see on every liberal post is that Obamacare will lower the deficit because of the reduced spending. While this is implicitly true (based on initial predictions of costs) it is not actually true. Obama initially estimated his plan would cost approximately 1 trillion dollars over the 10 year period; however, more recently, based on CBO estimates and growth rates, Obamacare is predicted to cost at least 2.6 trillion dollars over a 10 year period. Regardless of which estimate is true the deficit stands to be raised by at least 1 trillion dollars explicitly. The savings these articles refer to will only come off the deficit in theory, and they are all based of initial underestimates of how much the plan will cost.

While reading through a variety of opinions I found an excellent moderate article published in the Wall Street Journal from a man who is an Obamacare supporter, but openly acknowledges that there are flaws in the reform that will end up costing the working class far more than they realize right now.

So after being confronted with opinions and articles from every angle, who should we really listen to? Should we seek out moderate articles that give us a fair, unbiased view of the issue? Should journalists and editors be forced to state their political orientation at the beginning of the article so we as readers know what angle they are taking? Clearly as was pointed out to us we need to be careful about blindly accepting numbers and figures without asking more questions — because they can clearly be twisted either way to suit the argument.


About bfranks

I have two arms and two legs.

5 Responses to “Health and the Election: Obamacare”

  1. Thanks for sharing this and for giving both sides of the story. It’s great that you reported the stats from both sides, as most people tend to only look at the literature that supports their point of view. It goes to show you how politicians can use statistics to trick the public and get away with it rather easily.

  2. “The political is personal; the personal is political”– Carol Hanisch

    Without a doubt I believe that politics is a personal private matter. We live in a society where we’re endless–especially during election season–bombarded with political opinions, issues, and perspectives. There isn’t one source that we should listen to, or expect others to as well. “Moderate,” like “liberal” is a label that brings with it implicit understandings, so too does the word “facts.” This election season, more than any prior, has employed “facts” to direct, confirm, and justify actions and thoughts of multiple campaigns.

    I personally believe that politics is theory either in practice, or on the brink of practice, but that regardless politics has transformed to encompass the personal. It’s not right to pose the question ‘what is right or whom should we listen to’? Rather, realization that individual political choices have produced the need for Journalists to report from multiple perspectives should be employed. Facts, too, have transformed to be another essence of the personal. Facts (whether you believe them to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ or ‘non-encompassing’) are too conceptualized in the personal.

    Political discourse has undoubtably transformed, let’s realize that “facts” have too.

  3. I think it would be incredibly interesting if reporters had to list their political affiliations next to their names when writing a story. As a reader, and as a college student trying to figure out the many issues in the election, I wanted to seek out both sides of the arguments before I made a decision, but found it incredibly hard to sift through everything, read the articles and figure out the politics at work even within the article.
    Although I don’t think it will actually happen, I would love for reporters to report their own views and resulting biases.

  4. I think there’s far too much of a focus on biases in the media, especially lately. Generally, people know if the media outlet they are getting their information from is right- or left-leaning, but it seems silly to pigeon-hole reporters into these definitions. By doing this, we delegitimize their work. Just because a reporter supports a certain political affiliation does not mean they will introduce bias into their reports. Political pundits on the likes of Fox News and MSNBC – yes, I think we can agree they are biased and that we should always question their motives. But what makes someone moderate? That they present both sides? Journalists are typically much more knowledgable in their respective beats than the readers and I think it does them a disservice to discount an article simply because we think they may be biased. It also makes it much easier to get our news from a source that we “agree” with politically, which could blind us to many issues.

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