Major newspapers in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Nevada have urged their governors to reject expansion of Medicaid -- the shared state-federal program that provides health care coverage to low income Americans -- under the Affordable Care Act, citing high costs that they claim would add to the states' financial burdens. In fact, a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that the Medicaid expansion would substantially reduce the number of uninsured at little cost to their state budgets.
As governors continue to decide whether to implement key aspects of the Affordable Care Act, the editorial boards of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Las Vegas Review-Journal urged the rejection of Medicaid expansion, while the editorial board of The Oklahoman applauded the recent decision by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin to reject the funding.
From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
As stipulated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Medicaid eligibility will expand to an additional 800,000 Pennsylvanians -- in effect, placing a quarter of the state's residents on government insurance, according to the Commonwealth Foundation. Never mind that Medicaid currently consumes 30 percent of the state's operating budget.
Once fully realized, ObamaCare will have all the appeal of a perpetual flu.
From the Las Vegas-Review Journal:
The accompanying Medicaid expansion, meanwhile, would throw millions of additional Americans into a system that's already bankrupting state governments and increasing costs in the private market. Geoffrey Lawrence of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, noting last week that Gov. Sandoval is pondering whether to expand Medicaid eligibility in Nevada, said any Medicaid expansion would mean reduced access to care for those currently enrolled.
President Obama won re-election this month, but the states hold the future of ObamaCare in their hands. Knowing the harm the law would do to our citizens, the economy, and the quality of American health care, Gov. Sandoval should join with many of his colleagues and decline to become the enabler of a vastly expensive, European-style medical rationing system that poll after poll has shown most Americans do not want.
From The Oklahoman:
Oklahoma has joined a growing list of states that won't expand Medicaid or implement state-run health exchanges, two key components of Obamacare. Predictably, the political left argues Republicans are being obstructionist. But why would state Republicans rush to implement a bad law to benefit a president who's made clear he would never do the same if the tables were turned?
As of June 2011, Medicaid programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia provided health care coverage to 52.6 million people. However, as the economy has improved, the rate of growth of enrollment in the program has slowed down. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government wants to expand the program in an effort to decrease the number of uninsured by providing coverage to those with an income below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Previously, qualification for the program varied depending on factors such as age or employment status. Despite the claims from these editorial boards, the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion provision will in fact achieve its goal, at only a slightly higher cost than what those states currently pay for Medicaid.
A recent study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that if all states expanded Medicaid it could lead to health care coverage for an additional 21.3 million people nationally with a total cost of around $1 trillion. Yet, the combined costs to states would only be approximately $76 billion as the federal government will cover the other $952 billion.
Specifically, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Oklahoma would see significant increases in the number of people insured for only small changes to their current spending.
In Pennsylvania, if all states expanded Medicaid, the state would see a 52 percent reduction in uninsured citizens, while spending 1.4 percent more on Medicaid than current expenditures when accounting for the savings in uncompensated care. While Pennsylvania's expansion costs are higher than some other states, healthcare professionals note that this is because Pennsylvania currently has one of the more draconian Medicaid systems in the country. From WHYY in Pennsylvania:
New Jersey is on the opposite end of the spectrum, with projected costs of $1.2 billion with an expansion. And Pennsylvania? Almost $2 billion over 10 years, even after accounting for savings.
"Pennsylvania has not expanded to adults whereas other states have," said Ann Bacharach with the Pennsylvania Health Law Project.
"If you're a single, childless adult, there is not much that the state can offer in terms of coverage," Bacharach said.
So the new enrollees covered by an expansion would add costs, but the federal contribution would not provide the same savings in Pennsylvania as it will in Delaware.
Meanwhile, Nevada would see a 44.8 percent reduction in uninsured citizens for only 2.6 percent more in Medicaid spending if all states expanded Medicaid coverage. As Media Matters has previously noted, the Review-Journal's editorial board has attacked the Medicaid provision of the Affordable Care Act while neglecting to note any of the benefits expanding Medicaid would have on their state.
Lastly, Oklahoma would see a 54.4 percent reduction in uninsured for only 1.9 percent more in Medicaid spending if all states expanded Medicaid coverage. From Tulsa World:
[David Blatt, director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute] said the governor's calculations also leave out savings to the state in areas such as health, mental health and corrections that are currently outside the Medicaid system but could be included with expansion. Savings to those agencies has been estimated at more than $49.4 million a year.
Also missing from the calculation would be tax revenue increases the state would see as a result of the Affordable Care Act, he said.
For example, the state has a small tax on insurance premiums. If thousands of Oklahomans begin purchasing insurance through a federal health insurance exchange, that tax revenue goes up, he said.
If every state adopted the Medicaid expansion provision they would receive $9 in federal money for every $1 they spend to expand the program. As John Holahan, head of the Urban Institute's Health Policy Research Center and the study's author, said, "It's hard to conclude anything other than this is pretty attractive and should be pretty hard for states to walk away from." Unfortunately, the editorial boards of the Tribune-Review, Review-Journal, and The Oklahoman failed to provide that perspective and explain the overall benefit of Medicaid expansion to their readers.
Climate change was almost entirely absent from the political discourse this election season, receiving less than an hour of TV coverage over three months from the major cable and broadcast networks excluding MSNBC. By contrast, those outlets devoted nearly twice as much coverage to Vice President Joe Biden's demeanor during his debate with Rep. Paul Ryan. When climate change was addressed, print and TV media outlets often failed to note the scientific consensus or speak to scientists.
A two-part Media Matters examinantion of the largest newspapers in CO, NH, NV, OH, PA and VA from July 1-August 15 and from August 16-October 31, 2012 revealed a variety of shortcomings in the way clean energy and regulatory issues are covered by those publications.
Nevada media outlets failed to disclose the Big Oil interests behind a group offering cheap gas in the state this week to mislead voters about Obama's energy policies, including the false claim that the administration's energy policies are responsible for high gas prices. The bizarre stunts -- involving a walking, talking, anthropomorphic gas can -- were funded by groups largely financed by the Koch brothers, major conservative political donors who have significant oil interests. These groups are pushing policies that will benefit the Koch empire, not American consumers.
From the Associated Press:
Dozens of people lined up at a Reno gas station Tuesday to buy gasoline for $1.84 a gallon as part of a political event.
The cheap gas was offered by the Gas Can Man, a group funded by a [PAC called] Morning in America, focusing on energy policy. The conservative group Americans for Prosperity also funded the event.
A spokesman for the Gas Can Man told KOLO-TV that the event was supposed to remind voters that gas prices are high.
Spokesman Michael Findlay says that gas was $1.84 a gallon in the month of President Barack Obama's inauguration.
The Las Vegas Sun noted that as "people filled up their tanks, they stood in the shadow of AFP's campaign bus emblazoned with the slogan: Obama's Failing Agenda. One man registered voters." The paper quoted an Americans for Prosperity representative claiming the stunt was an exercise in "citizen education":
For the organizers of the event, the cheap gas offering wasn't a handout for those in need.
"It's citizen education," said Nick Vander Poel, of Americans for Prosperity. "This is issue awareness. We're educating them on the issues."
But the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas Sun, and local television stations failed to disclose in their reports that the Gas Can Man and the cheap gas-campaign dubbed the "Million Can March" is funded by oil industry barons pushing policies that, if enacted, would line their own pockets but do nothing to lower the price of gas (the Sun disclosed the Koch ties, but neglected to mention their role in the oil industry).
Two days after the widespread publication of Mitt Romney's controversial declaration that 47 percent of Americans are "dependent on government," the largest newspaper in Nevada, a swing state in the 2012 election the 2012, has thus far failed to cover the story. Additionally, on September 18, the "Swing States Project" at the Columbia Journalism Review noted that another important swing state publication -- New Hampshire's Union Leader -- had also failed to cover the Romney comments.
A story published yesterday by the Columbia Journalism Review pointed out that the New Hampshire Union Leader -- New Hampshire's largest newspaper by circulation according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations -- had failed to cover Mitt Romney's comments that 47 percent of Americans will support Obama "no matter what" and that they are "dependent upon government."
While the Union Leader still has not published a news story on the topic, it did publish an editorial defending Romney's comments explaining that it was obviously a "statement of campaign strategy, not policy." From the editorial:
Naturally, the media portray this as Romney not caring about half the country. Absurd. It was a statement of campaign strategy, not policy, and every single national political reporter knows that.
In contrast to the Union Leader's limited attention to the issue, the Review-Journal -- Nevada's largest newspaper by circulation -- has not published anything on the subject at all, according to a Media Matters search of Nexis records and the Review-Journal website. In fact, despite not mentioning the comments once in its news or opinion sections, the Review-Journal has published two unrelated stories on Mitt Romney since Monday -- including a story discussing a private fundraiser Romney was planning on having in Las Vegas this Friday.
While 41 swing state newspapers made the Romney comments a front page story, the Review-Journal has mentioned it only once in an online-only blog post by opinion columnist and former publisher, Sherman Frederick, who, unsurprisingly, defended Romney for his "admirable truth-telling." Unfortunately, it seems that similar to the Union Leader, over 200,000 print subscribers of the Review-Journal can't count on their hometown paper to report a story with national implications if it doesn't look good for its preferred candidate.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board attacked the "Democratic Senate" for giving "tax breaks for pet businesses," including green energy producers. However, many Republicans support giving the wind industry the type of economic certainty that the oil industry has enjoyed for decades -- a position the Review-Journal has previously defended.
In two editorials over the past week, the Las Vegas Review-Journal argued that Nevada should opt-out of the Medicaid provision in the Affordable Care Act. The paper's arguments completely ignored the potential benefits Medicaid expansion would have to the citizens and economy of Nevada.
Both mainstream and conservative media outlets have responded to the recent spike in gasoline prices by circulating talking points rooted in politics rather than facts. As a whole, these claims reflect the misconception, perpetuated by the news media, that changes in U.S. energy policy are a major driver of oil and gasoline prices.
In the wake of President Obama's announcement that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan, Media Matters looks back at conservative media who attacked his commitment to fighting terrorism. Since his election in 2008, right-wing media figures have repeatedly suggested that Obama is weak on terror and that he is not serious about defending America from terrorism threats.
Earlier this evening, I pointed out that the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Sherman Frederick has stepped down as the paper's publisher; the same article noted that the paper's editor in chief, Thomas Mitchell, would also be stepping down. The article suggested that Frederick was reducing his responsibility due to health issues.
But Steve Friess, a Las Vegas-based freelance journalist who once worked for the Review-Journal and now often writes for Las Vegas Weekly, has a different theory, reporting on his blog that the "real explanation" is that "Harry Reid won":
An extremely knowledgable source at the paper called this move a "shakeout" and a "head slap" from the top, meaning the owners back in Arkansas. He reminded me that the Stephens family are big Washington D.C. players, with banking interests and other issues to deal with in Congress. They may have supported Republican candidates, but the over-the-top efforts by Sherm Frederick and [Review-Journal editor] Thomas Mitchell to support Sharron Angle and unrelentingly beat up on the Senate Majority Leader was exceptional. It was nasty and personal and harmed the reporters' ability to have their work taken credibly, but even more importantly, if the Stephens clan wanted to make nice with Harry Reid, the only way to do it was to get rid of Frederick and Mitchell.
In a follow-up post, Friess writes that he is "fairly confident" and has "sources that have provided some proof" that Reid's victory "played a pretty big part" in the replacement of Frederick and Mitchell.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that Sherman Frederick is stepping down effective immediately from his longtime position as publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and as CEO of its parent company, Stephens Media:
The Las Vegas Review-Journal today named a new publisher to replace longtime publisher Sherman Frederick.
Bob Brown, advertising director of the newspaper since 2001, was named publisher of the newspaper effective immediately.
Frederick also stepped down effective immediately as chief executive officer of Stephens Media, owner of the Review-Journal. He will be replaced by Michael Ferguson, the company's current chief operating officer.
Frederick will remain with Stephens Media in a consultant role and write a weekly column for Stephens Media newspapers.
Stephens Media owner Warren Stephens announced Frederick's new role today.
"I am pleased that Sherm will remain with the company," Stephens said. "Sherm has had a long and distinguished journalism career. I am glad we will be able to retain his writing talents for the newspaper."
"It's been a hard summer for me," said Frederick, who underwent back-to-back prostate and heart bypass surgeries. "I'm looking forward to a more measured pace for a while, as well as my new duties with the company."
In March, Media Matters documented how Frederick's blog posts and columns have been rife with smears, factual errors, and conspiracy theories about Democrats. Media Matters' Joe Strupp subsequently reported that members of the Nevada journalism community responded to the report with harsh criticism for Frederick, with Jon Ralston, a former Review-Journal columnist who now writes for the Las Vegas Sun, saying, "It is one thing for someone to be a local embarrassment; it is another thing to be a national embarrassment."
Yesterday FoxNews.com reported that a former low-level staffer allegedly lied to federal investigators about her marriage -- prior to going to work for Reid's office. In that article, FoxNews.com gave no indication that Reid or anyone in his office had any knowledge of the investigation or the alleged wrongdoing.
Enter the Review-Journal. While pushing the Fox News smear, Frederick adds:
The Reid folks ain't sayin' much other than to suggest it's a GOP trick. Only problem, it happened on Obama's watch and involves several federal agencies.
In fact, Reid's spokesman are saying that Reid and his office did not know about the allegations until being informed by Fox News, at which time Reid's office conducted an investigation and severed its relationship with the staffer, Diana Tejada. The allegations never resulted in criminal charges against Tejada.
Moreover, contrary to Frederick's claim that "it happened on Obama's watch," the marriage in question occurred in 2003, and Tejada reportedly issued the false statements to federal investigators in 2004 and in 2008. According to the FoxNews.com article Frederick links to, Tejada "broke down and confessed that her marriage was a lie" in November 2008 and filed for divorce in December 2008 -- prior to Obama's inauguration.
In a blog post headlined "Is Sen. Reid physically up to the job?" Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick compiled a devastating case to support his assertion that "something's wrong with Sen. Harry Reid." For example, did you know that during a recent debate, Reid "mixed up the Department of Energy with the Department of Education"? And what happened when "Sharron Angle told him to 'man-up' " in that same debate? Reid "had no retort," according to Frederick. (I'd suggest it's possible that Reid had "no retort" because he didn't expect to be told to "man up" during a campaign debate for a seat in the United States Senate, rather than, say, during a pickup basketball game.)
When you're talking about a public figure whose words are catalogued almost constantly by the press, it's not difficult to pick out instances of misspeaking. It seems pretty low to turn Reid's misstatements into evidence that there's something "wrong" with him, especially considering that Frederick's blog post pivots on the mini-stroke that Reid had more than five years ago.
Frederick didn't limit his attack on Reid's fitness for office to misstatements -- ridiculous right-wing talking points came into play, too.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal charged Elena Kagan with taking an extreme position while defending a statute written to ban animal "crush videos." In fact, the Supreme Court stated that Kagan's brief was grounded in precedent, Justice Samuel Alito sided with the government in the case, and Kagan has said that she was doing her best to defend the statute, as is consistent with her solicitor general duties.
Right-wing media have attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her statement that unemployment insurance stimulates the economy and creates jobs, calling her remarks "laughable" and "lunacy." In fact, economists agree that extending unemployment insurance has a strong stimulative effect on GDP and employment during a recession.