credit where it's due dept.

Fox’s Greta Van Susteren Does Actual Journalism On Junk Insurance Story


Talk about surprising — Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren did a far better job than CBS News at explaining one of those stories about how mean old Barack Obama won’t let people keep their crappy insurance plans that don’t “insure” much of anything. Greta had a brief chat yesterday with Dianne Barrette, the subject of a recent CBS story about how because of the Affordable Care Act, Blue Cross of Florida is canceling her $54/month insurance and forcing her to buy a $591/month plan — except, of course, that’s not exactly the case. CBS left out a couple of details, like the fact that Barrette’s plan doesn’t cover hospitalization and only pays $50 toward any of the very few services it does cover. It is the insurance equivalent of wet Kleenex. Unlike CBS, though, Van Susteren got right to the problem with the plan that’s being cancelled:

“Your $54 a month policy is a pretty, you know, bare bones policy, “Greta said. “Why do you want to keep that one, except for the price? Maybe you can get something better with a subsidy?”

We’ll have more on this, right after we deal with these damn flying pigs that have escaped from Hell, which is all iced over.

Barrette, of course, is completely happy with her crap plan, because it’s cheap:

“Well, I know it doesn’t cover lengthy hospital stays,” Barrette replied, adding “It’s perfect for what I want. I get co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions. So it suffices what I need. Also, the price isn’t too bad either.”

Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher has actually researched Ms. Barrette’s coverage better than she has:

Her $54 plan actually doesn’t have copays for doctor visits and prescriptions. It pays $50 toward covered doctor’s visits, Dianne pays the rest, and $15 toward prescriptions, Dianne pays the rest. As for hospitalization, Greta again went where CBS did not, and actually asked about it.

“Well, does it pay for any hospitalization, the current policy you have?” Greta asked.

And once again, Barrette wasn’t sure — she admitted she really had no idea. The plan does not cover any inpatient services at all, and only a few outpatient services — again, it provides a whopping $50 payment toward those services, and Barrette is on the hook for the rest. Van Susteren, again, points out that even if she’s happy with the old plan, “if you are walking across the street and someone runs a red light, you are in deep trouble under your existing policy.”

Bingo. But mean old Obamacare is going to force her to spend ten times as much for insurance! Except, of course, it isn’t — with subsidies, the ACA, she should be able to find a basic plan for about $200, and it will actually be real insurance.

Van Susteren ended the report by sympathizing with Barrette’s frustration, but also had a suggestion:

“You have a real stripped-down policy here, and I think you need to find someone who understands this stuff. It’s pretty confusing, I concede.”

Strange, though, that a blogger who can do some basic research online managed to make some pretty informed estimates of what Barrette should be able to get through the Exchange. You’d think that Teevee news reporters could do that, too. That’s the kind of thing they call “reporting.”

And it also looks like Dianne Barrette’s brief career as a Victim Of Obamacare may be ending soon: Erik Wemple reports that

“Following her chat with Van Susteren, Barrette got word from a network producer that her appointment to appear this morning on Fox News was cancelled.”

We do wish Ms. Barrette well. (Pro-tip, Tommy, that’s “Barrette,” not “Dianne,” because Sexisms.) If she needs some information on her options under the ACA, she might try contacting this guy Tommy at mediaite dot com. Dude seems to be taking on a new job as an ACA Navigator for reporters and consumers who can’t be bothered to do their own research.

[Mediaite / WaPo]

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About the author

Doktor Zoom lives in Boise, Idaho. He acquired his pseudonym after being differently punctual to too many meetings. He is not a medical doctor, although he has a real PhD (in Rhetoric and Composition).

View all articles by Doktor Zoom

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