Critical Condition

Mainstream-Media Spin on Brown Victory & Health Care

I received an e-mail this morning from a producer at ABC News, which carried the question: “What impact might the already existing health care plan in Massachusetts have had on voters’ feelings on this issue, in your view — particularly considering that those living in Massachusetts may already be enjoying the benefits that a universal health care bill could provide?”

The media have previously hinted that this would be their spin on a Brown victory: Massachusetts voters are so happy with their “universal” coverage, provided by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney and a Democratic legislature (and State Senator Brown’s vote, too), that they are somehow concerned that federal “reform” along the same lines will redistribute their benefits to the other 49 states. So, a vote for Brown was a vote against the pending federal take-over of access to medical services, but only to preserve what they already have in the Bay State.

I guess phase two of this media operation will be to prod the ruling faction to convince voters nationwide that federal “reform” would add to and not subtract from the status quo in Massachusetts.

Well, whatever. The media deliberately ignore analyses demonstrating that the Massachusetts reform achieved much less and at much greater cost than they want to believe. A sampling of recent research: Aaron Yelowitz & Michael F. Cannon, Michael D. Tanner, Grace-Marie Turner & Tara Persico. Plus, the StateHouseCall blog has a number of good entries (some by yours truly) on the evolution of the 2006 Massachusetts reform.

John R. Graham is director of Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute.

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