Vox's Kliff: Cable news shows “very little coverage of what [the Republican health care bill] actually does”

Sarah Kliff: “People will lose health insurance because this bill spends a lot less money on expanding health insurance”

From the June 25 edition of CNN’s Reliable Sources:

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BRIAN STELTER (HOST): Secrecy, confusion, and now second thoughts from some within the Republican Party. That's the story so far of the Senate health bill. It was drafted behind closed doors, and now it is public and being criticized from both the left and the right. Here's my question. Do voters know what's actually in the bill, what the bill actually does? If not, whose fault is that? A recent CBS poll conducted after the House passed its version health care reform but before the Senate bill was unveiled, found that 76 percent of Americans haven't heard enough about the GOP health plans to know what they do. Only 23 percent said they have a good understanding of what's really going on. Seems like everybody could use a cliffs notes version of what's going on. So, who better to give us that than Sarah Kliff? She’s the senior policy correspondent at Vox, the author the of the great Voxcare newsletter. Sarah, great to see you.

SARAH KLIFF: Yeah, thanks for having me.

STELTER: I know vote counting is likely to dominate cable news this week, since Mitch McConnell is pushing for a vote before the July 4 recess. Others are saying that’s too fast. Right now five GOP senators are not on board yet -- is all the vote counting getting in the way of the policy talk?

KLIFF: I think it is. This has been constantly true about the Affordable Care Act. That when you look at analysis of cable news coverage of health care, you see a lot more coverage of who is going to vote for it, will this senator or that senator get on board. What kind of tweaks they want. And you see very, very few -- very little coverage of what the bill actually does. You don't see questions about who will lose health insurance, how will health insurance change. And I admit, it's complex stuff, it is hard to cover in short fast, segments. But I think a lot of people are missing out on what this actually does when it becomes kind of this political back and forth. One of my colleagues at Vox recently did a video about how we kind of cover the health care debate like it’s an episode of House of Cards. The drama is around, is it going to pass, it’s not around what does the legislation actually do..


STELTER: You were pretty blunt in a recent column for Vox, you said I covered Obamacare since the very beginning. Quote, “I've never seen lying and obstruction like this.” Who is lying?

KLIFF: So I think there is a lot of lying from Republicans about what this bill actually does. And a lot of that comes from the president. He has given a number of interviews where he says, you know, this bill will cover everyone, or his health secretary, Tom Price, has said Medicaid won't be cut, no one will lose Medicaid. Everything we know about this bill suggests that is not true. People will lose health insurance because this bill spends a lot less money on expanding health insurance. And I think there are a lot of people who get confused by this. I've spent a decent amount of time over the past few months in an area of southeastern Kentucky that voted for Trump, but also has very heavy Obamacare enrollment. There are a lot of people in that area who are expecting that this health care bill will make their health insurance better. But everything we know about it is those people will be really disadvantaged by this health care plan.


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