Part 1—American group disappeared: Six days ago—it was Wednesday, March 14—the New York Times published an editorial about American health care.
On the whole, the editorial wasn't half bad. Still and all, a highly important group was ruthlessly disappeared.
We refer to the USA 9400, whose very existence is constantly kept from public awareness or view. First, though, let's recall the most interesting part of the editorial the New York Times published that day.
The editorial was an attack on the current Republican health plan, or Ivankacare for short. On the whole, the editorial was basically and pretty much essentially right on the money.
The editors savaged the GOP plan. Headline included, this is the way they began:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (3/8/17): No Wonder They Hid the Health BillYesterday, the CBO released a more detailed estimate of the number of people who would lose coverage (or something like that) under the GOP plan. Some journalists have published accurate accounts of that CBO estimate. Other scribes, not so much.
Republican House leaders have spent months dodging questions about how they would replace the Affordable Care Act with a better law, and went so far as to hide the draft of their plan from other lawmakers. No wonder. The bill they released on Monday would kick millions of people off the coverage they currently have. So much for President Trump's big campaign promise: ''We're going to have insurance for everybody''—with coverage that would be ''much less expensive and much better.''
More than 20 million Americans gained health care coverage under the A.C.A., or Obamacare. Health experts say most would lose that coverage under the proposal.
Whatever! The New York Times editorial was right in the ballpark last week. That said, we thought the most interesting part of the editorial occurred in the highlighted passage shown below, in which the editors spoke to Jason Chaffetz:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL: House Speaker Paul Ryan and Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, have railed against high premiums and deductibles for plans sold on the health exchanges, but that problem would only worsen under their proposal because insurers would almost certainly raise their prices as the pool of the insured shrank. Republican lawmakers seem to think that people who can't afford insurance are simply irresponsible. Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, for instance, told CNN that people should invest in their health care, ''rather than getting that new iPhone.'' Word to Mr. Chaffetz: Health insurance costs more than $18,000 a year for an average family; an iPhone costs a few hundred dollars.Word up! "Health insurance costs more than $18,000 a year for an average family," the editors said.
More than $18,000 per year, possibly for a family of four? To the demographic now known as "the losers," that's a lot of dough!
Health insurance costs more than $18,000 a year for an average family? We're going to assume that the editors were right in that somewhat murky assertion. Having made that assumption, we're going to say that their statement leads to two obvious questions:
Two obvious questions:We'll unpack those equal-but-opposite questions as the week continues. For today, let's establish the absence of that constantly disappeared group, the so-called USA 9400.
1) Why does insurance cost so much?
2) Why does it cost so little?
Modern American history involves quite a few numbered groups. Two prominent examples:
Through their determination and their courage, the Little Rock Nine played a key role in civil rights history. Meanwhile, in a way which was heinous and stupid even by his own standards, Donald J. Trump aggressively semi-urged the execution of the falsely-convicted Central Park Five.
This leads us to the story of the USA 9400, a group whose very existence is constantly disappeared.
Over the next few days, we're going to ask you to ponder the meaning of this mandated disappearance. For today, our point of departure is this:
At the present time, we're seeing tons of journalism about American health care. We're seeing news reports, editorials and opinion columns. We're even seen some cable stars try to discuss this topic!
Within that body of work, you're going to see endless accounts of the costs of American health care. And yet, we can issue a strange guarantee:
You'll never see the USA 9400 mentioned. You won't see that disappeared group mentioned even once!
You won't see this essential group mentioned in the New York Times. They won't be mentioned by Rachel Maddow as she mugs, clowns, minces, grins her weird, consultant-ordered grins and histrionically chuckles.
You'll hear about the white working class. You'll hear about effects on Trump voters.
But you won't hear a single word about the USA 9400. We issue that as a guarantee, and we offer this question:
Why is that?
Tomorrow: The poet has said that "Momma tried." Way back in 2005, so did our most valuable journalist.
Concerning that murky claim: "Health insurance costs more than $18,000 a year for an average family?"
How many people are in that family? The New York Times didn't say.
We assigned our Click Research Team to follow the trail of the murky claim. The editorial's link took them here, where the number of dollars was precisely nailed down but our question remained unexplained, at least at the point where they grimaced, moaned, tore their and sulkingly gave up.