Letter: Misleading headline
I read the headline on Page C6 of the July 2 Recorder about how, “Big Medicaid gap looms in Obama health care law” and thought, “Oh no, another problem with the Affordable Care Act coming to light after the fact. Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment strikes again.” So imagine my surprise when, upon reading the article, I discovered the “big Medicaid gap” is found only in red states where state legislatures and/or governors have elected to wiggle out of the loophole a conservative Supreme Court conveniently drilled when it found that states could elect not to expand Medicaid with federal dollars to assist lower-income persons and families. A headline more to my likening would have been, “Republican states seek to kill poor people by refusing them health care,” an actually better headline would have been “Big Medicaid gap looms in Red States.” This would have been a more accurate headline since all states mentioned in the article with looming Medicaid gaps were Republican led.
Why is this important? Because all but policy wonks and individuals truly interested in health care will not have read the actual article (probably a full 15 percent of your readers would be my guess). Yet everyone will have read the headline. The headline will have reinforced the notion bandied about by opponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that the ACA is simply too horrible for words. The Republican-led house has voted 37 times to repeal the ACA — 37 times — with no hope of either Senate confirmation or presidential approval. This is dedication to a cause! Even though these votes are nothing but silly showmanship, the continued negative emphasis on the as yet only partially implemented ACA has succeeded in casting doubt in many people’s minds. Headlines such as the one quoted above only inflame that doubt. Please be more careful in the future and craft your headlines to actually reflect the thrust of the story.