Presidential candidates’ views on health care

Christina Farr’s article “Where the 2016 Presidential Candidates Stand on Health care” can be found here.

Overall, I thought the article’s structure of providing a short summary of each candidate’s proposal followed by expert opinion was clear and easy to understand. What did you think about this technique– did you think it was effective or was it too repetitive? Would including photographs, diagrams, or visuals have helped break up the repetition of the article and keep the reader interested?

The proposals were summed up in only a sentence or two, so referred to health care legislation and current events like Obamacare, Medicaid, and the Martin Shkreli case without providing an explanation of what they were. There also wasn’t a summary at the beginning of the article about the current state of health care in America. Do you think some readers with a more basic understanding of politics might be confused and find the article hard to follow? Did the author need to explain these terms, or is it fair for journalists to assume a certain level of political awareness and knowledge of current events from its audience?

I thought one of the article’s strengths was that it included experts’ opinions, but I would have liked to know a bit more about them. Did you think the experts were representing many different opinions and perspectives, or were there any perspectives missing from the panel? Did you feel as though there was any bias from the journalist in why she chose to include these experts?

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About natalieandrasko

Natalie is a junior with a major in International Studies and minors in Program in the Environment and Asian Languages and Cultures. Natalie is passionate about the intersection between international development and sustainability, and will be spending two months interning at Frontier Markets in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The Indian government has recently made a massive push towards solar energy as India's energy demand grows, but the rural electrification rate remains much lower than in urban areas. Frontier Markets addresses this problem by partnering with local entrepreneurs and training rural women to sell their solar products to other women, in a program called Solar Sahelis. Natalie will be researching the marketing tactics Frontier Markets uses to convince these women to sell and use their products, and the methods they use to teach them about the environmental and health consequences of using coal. She hopes to bring everything she learns from her time in India to her future career in global health and international development.

12 Responses to “Presidential candidates’ views on health care”

  1. One of the first things that stood out to me in this article was the very apparent democratic bias. I noticed this when I read the first sentence dedicated to describing Trump’s proposal, “I would end Obamacare and replace it with something terrific…” I feel like this quote should have been more carefully chosen if the authors had wanted a more informative list of proposals. Still, I feel like this entire article could have been easily summed up in a single graph. That’s not to say that the article wasn’t informative to an extent, but rather that the same points could have been made in far less words. I also thought that the target audience of this article was someone with a broad understanding of Obamacare and national politics. I think that this is a very reasonable audience, though I don’t know who “Fast Company” is usually trying to reach. I also think that the proposals and such are pretty well known by people interested in politics, so I’m not sure how much the expert opinions add. I guess it serves as a type of fact-check.

  2. I preferred the layout of the article because it provided a concise summary of the candidates’ health care platform, along with specific proposals and the experts’ reactions. Visuals would have been distracting since the focus is on the their plans and the experts’ responses. However, some context or comparison of numbers would have been useful to gauge the relevance of some of the numbers, such as Trump’s “$11 billion” reduction in health care from deporting illegal immigrants. How does this number compare with total spending or how much deportation would cost?

    I admit that I had to search some terms for clarification. This article could demonstrate some difficulty for those without knowledge of some of the terms. At the same time, I feel that the audience that would most likely select reading this article is aware of the topic.

    I don’t think that the journalist had any bias in selecting experts, but it was interesting how most of the experts’ opinions could be summarized in a sentence. This implies consensus between the experts and overall provides one perspective, which could communicate as a bias. Unless, Farr grouped similar opinions for the sake of consistency to prevent too much diversity within responses that could lead to confusion. .

  3. Overall, I think that the piece clearly laid out the different candidates proposals and by providing expert opinions in the form of colloquial quotes, helped readers interpret what the implications of the proposals may be. Also, I completely agree that the layout of the article was very effective and easy to follow, rather than being repetitive. Although there were quite a few terms that could qualify as jargon, because the piece was published Fast Company, which is primarily read by business-minded and well-educated people, I don’t think that the language detracted from the accessibility of the piece.

    One thing I think could be improved upon would be including, as was mentioned in another comment, an introduction about the current state of health care in the country. While most readers are probably aware of many national health care concerns, it doesn’t hurt to frame the issue in this way, and bring these concerns to the forefront of the readers’ minds.

  4. I thought the structure was a great effort to attract people who usually will not engage in “long read” articles about health care to engage for a couple more minutes on the article and educate themselves. Yes, some technical aspects are lost because of the short buzzworthy paragraphs, but I think thats a worthwhile trade off to having this comprehensible and organized source of information for voters. I do not think this article would have benefitted with figures or graphs. This is because this article was not data focused, and if it was, it would detract from the casual readability it already has going.

    My critique to this article is its lack of focus on who the panelists are. Their titles are listed in a faint color on the side of the writing. How can we be sure that these panelists are providing diverse and unbiased opinions as a whole? I would like to have seen more conflicting reactions of the panelists. This would show that the writer made an effort to provide all view points.

  5. I felt as though (I can’t believe I’m about to say this) unfair to Trump. In the opening paragraph, they reduce his views down to “Meanwhile, Trump believes he can save the health care system $11 billion by deporting illegal immigrants.” His healthcare policy has several other planks which seem somewhat effective. I think an unfair editorial voice comes in when the writer summarizes the experts’ views on making premiums fully deductible by saying “I guess so…” By and large it seemed like the experts were on board with the idea rather than tentatively agreeing with it.

    Overall, I thought interviewing a panel of experts was a good idea and liked how the author included direct quotes from them. However, I would have liked a little detail on each one so I could determine where their biases lie. The author also could have linked to articles supporting their views. I thought Kraus’ note about how universal healthcare could lead to a more fractured healthcare system and would have more information from that perspective.

  6. Like many of my classmates, one of my biggest critiques is the confusion around who these experts are. When I first read the article, I completely overlooked the side panel that stated each expert’s profession. So, when I was reading their commentary, I was not convinced as to why I should take their comments seriously other than the fact that the author named them as experts. In order to avoid this confusion, I think the author could consider including the experts’ credentials in a short paragraph in the piece. This could potentially disrupt the flow of the article, but I believe it would help readers better process the information in the article.

    Finally, while the summaries and sections of comments were helpful and easy to read, I found that the article did get to be fairly repetitive and it lost my attention. While it would reduce the variety of opinions on each proposal, I think the author could consider reducing the amount of expert commentary per proposal.

  7. As others have said, there is yet another article with a Democratic bias that doesn’t seem to fairly hold a platform for Trump’s views… However I think in this cause it may be simply down to the opinions of the experts and less about an inherent bias of the article. The experts clearly seem to favour the democratic plans (considering Sanders’ only gets one small section it’s not exactly like he’s being favoured much either…).

    I thought the formatting was clear and simple way of discussing all the plans in detail, for the it was perhaps a bit messy and some better idea of who was saying what could have been used – indenting perhaps?
    Saying that it doesn’t have a summary, I think, is something that isn’t necessary, as I believe this article was likely aimed at someone who has a pretty apt idea of the state of America at the moment (eg not me..). For example, I was a bit lost, but I knew i could have easily researched anything i didnt understand.

  8. I think when talking about health care issue, it would be better to include more photographs, diagrams, or visuals to represent some statistical data. Most of the people who will read this article should already have some understanding about the health care in United States, it should be fine without explaining these terms. I think there was a bias from the journalist in that in the second paragraph, she summarizes the main approaches of Hillary and Sanders. However, when she reports Trump, she chooses the proposal of deporting the illegal immigrants, a proposal that probably does not represent the main approach of Trump on health care but a political most sensitive approach.

  9. Unlike others, I don’t think this article necessarily showed bias. The two major candidates plans were both given nuanced and constructive criticism. Trump has run a campaign based on hyperbolic and over simplified rhetoric, so I don’t think that the article simply stating what Trump has already noted as his policy preferences, necessarily show’s bias.
    I thought the format of the article was clean, interesting, and engaging. In particular I enjoyed how they incorporated candidates tweets in to the article to give real insight in to how the candidates portray their own policy plans.

  10. I also agree that this article showed little bias. Perhaps it’s my own bias coming into play, but I believe that each party was represented the way it is in most other medias.
    Additionally, I thought that the structure was particularly helpful – I think the layout helped curate the content in a way beneficial to the reader. The only thing that would have benefitted would be perhaps some infographics, but I found the organization to be enough.

  11. This article was pretty non-biased and informative when it came to revealing what each candidate wanted to implement in regards to the American health system. I thought it was very interesting that the journalist used tweets to quote the presidential candidates. This definitely strengthened the article because it provided direct quotes from the candidates and made it more relatable for younger voters who use twitter. Knowing that younger voters are an under represented voting demographic, the use of tweets made it easier for younger readers to connect with the article and care about the issue being discussed.

  12. Natalie:
    Thanks for selecting this article. It was one of the few I’ve seen focused on the Presidential candidates’ health care plans (though obviously it was written before Clinton was selected as the Democratic candidate.) There has really been a dearth of coverage during this Presidential election on both health care and environment, except for the discussions related to Obamacare. It would be great to explore the reasons for this with speakers in the politics class next week. Fast Company is a relatively new media outlet. Though they initially were known more for their articles about entrepreneurs, I think they’ve done a solid job of covering other issues as well, the Presidential race included. However, students made some good points about ways this piece could have been improved.

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