The Mirror

NYT Reporters Worried About Fate Of Obamacare Amid Steep Rate Hikes

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger

New York Times reporters on the healthcare beat are apparently concerned about the fate of President Obama‘s Affordable Care Act.

They expressed as much in a story published this week.

“As health care reporters, we’ve been debating exactly how worried one should be about the fate of the Affordable Care Act, known informally as Obamacare, in the face of steep rate increases next year,” they write in a double bylined story.

The reporters are Reed Abelson and Margot Sanger-Katz.

The bulk of the story is the reporters strangely having conversation with each other. In it, they brag about noticing last month that insurers are struggling. Margot, you are just so smart! No Reed, it’s you, you are so brainy. 

Here’s a snapshot of part of the conversation…

Reed: Margot, you were definitely right to sound the alarm last month. While it’s still early — and we don’t know what regulators are likely to do with the proposals they’re getting — the Kaiser analysis seems to me another sign that we’re a long way from having a stable individual market. Kaiser was looking at major cities, after all, where there is supposed to be plenty of competition and the market is supposed to work the best. But in our hometowns, New York City and Washington, the proposed rate increases were among the highest — 16 percent for each market!

Margot: Seriously! D.C. likes to brag about how it has the highest enrollment rate and the youngest, healthiest risk pool in the country. But it seems clear that even the insurers here are struggling. I think these higher rates should remind us that this new market has proved much harder for insurers to figure out than we might expect three years in.

Margot: Speaking of politics, these are the sort of scary increases that Republicans have been warning about for years. Yet it doesn’t seem like killing Obamacare is Donald Trump’s top policy priority. How do you think this is going to affect the election?

Reed: It’s hard to know. Most people still get their insurance through an employer, and those rates are not going up by double digits, so I’m not sure the outrage will be so widespread. About this issue, at least.