A few weeks back, when I was looking for a local angle on the Supreme Court decision regarding the Affordable Care Act that reforms health care, I learned something I hadnt known: The act already has benefitted tens of thousands of people on the Central Coast.
Let me repeat that: Your friends, your neighbors, already are living better lives because of the Affordable Care Act.
They and their children are able to see doctors when two years ago they could not afford to; their kids are getting vaccinations they previously could not receive; seniors are receiving heretofore unavailable preventive care; nobody can be turned away for bogus reasons.
The list goes on. The ACAs beneficial aspects affect literally millions of people nationwide.
The question I have is, how come I didnt know about this?
Im a pretty sophisticated news consumer, to use the jargon, and I work in the profession. Was I asleep at the switch?
I asked a few of my colleagues about this, and they didnt know much about the benefits of the ACA, either.
I believe most folks in the general public dont realize it either.
Why is this? Because of (drum roll) yet another spectacular failure on the part of the national media to inform the citizenry of things that affect their lives.
Look at the stories online, in the newspapers, on the telly about this health care act, and what do you see?
You see an obsession with the politics of it. Talking heads blather about whether it creates a tax. They thrust and parry over which presidential candidate, incumbent President Barack Obama or challenger Mitt Romney, is scoring political points.
They call it, disparagingly, Obamacare, as though a partisan talking point is legitimate news.
Im not saying there is no economic or political component of the Affordable Care Act. Of course there is.
But there is a human aspect, as well. Where is the coverage of that?
Has Wolf Blitzer interviewed a mom whose kid is healthier because of the ACA? Has John King dimmed the lights on his electoral maps long enough to speak with some guy in his 70s who is saving money and getting better care because of the ACA?
Of course they havent. Thats not what they are all about.
Lets give credit as well for this negligence to the people behind the curtain. Theyre called producers. You dont know them, but they lurk behind the familiar talking head and whisper in his or her ear.
Its dereliction of a news professionals duty.
I believe these alleged newspersons ignore the human coverage for one principal reason: They are obsessed with the politics of the presidential race. They cannot see beyond it, and dont care to.
In fact, I dont think its much of a stretch to say that they are the new kingmakers, or what we used to call the smoke-filled room.
Their desire to grasp the power to choose presidents focuses them narrowly on horse race coverage, at the expense of information that affects the rest of us out here on the wrong side of the Beltway.
Besides, we bore them. Wheres the excitement at a walk-in clinic on Grand Avenue or a doctors office on El Camino Real?
To reiterate: The Affordable Care Act is helping people. If you want to find out how, though, or whether it might give sustenance to you and yours, youre on your own. Dont look to the national media.
You can start by searching on Google for the Affordable Care Act.
Reach Bob Cuddy at firstname.lastname@example.org.