Distrust “News,” and Check Its Sources — Or Invite Being Deceived

Here is a scary headline from a news-aggregator, tracked back to its linked-to news report, and finally to the original data, which show the very opposite of what that scary headline says (and important facts that were omitted from the published article will be shown here in [brackets]):


Obama White House Continues to Swindle Young People Through “Affordable” Care Acttownhall.com (1 day ago) Mar 29, 2014

During an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last month, First Lady Michelle Obama called young people [who don’t sign up] “knuckleheads”… full story



[townhall.com was founded by the Republican Party’s Heritage Foundation]

Obama White House Continues to Swindle Young People Through “Affordable” Care Act

Katie Pavlich | Mar 28, 2014

During an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last month, First Lady Michelle Obama called young people “knuckleheads” for refusing to sign up for Obamacare. As the data and numbers on Obamacare continue to be analyzed, especially for young people, it appears the real knuckleheads are those who think millenials can actually afford health insurance under the “Affordable” Care Act.

Forbes Contributor Scott Gottlieb is out with a piece today [no link provided here] detailing the cost of Obamacare health plans for young people making between $25,000 and $45,000 per year. The prices are astounding.

My AEI colleague Kelly Funderburk and I looked at four states: Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas. We then looked at a typical 30-year old at one of six different annual income brackets: $20,000 in annual income, $25K, $30K, $35K, $40K, and $45K. For each of the four states, we computed how much an Aetna Classic Silver plan would cost the same 30 year old at each of these six income bands. We looked at monthly premiums, deductibles, and out of pocket limits. We chose the Aetna plan because it operated across all of these markets, and represented a median price point among the silver plans.

Look at our numbers (laid out in the charts below) and you’ll see why so many Millennials have Obamacare sticker shock. Someone, for example, earning $25K annually in Arizona will pay $2,424 in total monthly premiums for Obamacare (10% of their annual income) and still be stuck with a $4,000 deductible and a $5,200 cap on their out of pocket costs. The same person in Illinois will pay $3,576 in annual premiums, and in low cost Texas $2,460.

What about the same 30 year old who now earns $30,000 annually – the average salary for a pre-school teacher according to census data? In Arizona, their annual cost for carrying the Obamacare plan runs $2,772 and their deductible is $5,000. In Illinois, the same person will spend $4,092 for the same health plan, and also have a $5,000 deductible before their full health coverage kicks in.

Before Obamacare passed in 2010, young people were able to obtain private health insurance plans for less than $100 per month with a $1000 deductible. I know because after college I signed up for a plan covering what I needed for just $80 per month before gaining insurance through my employer. Those days of affordability are long gone.

It’s time for young people to take a second step back and ask themselves if they feel insulted yet by the Obama administration’s expectations that their generation pay for one of the biggest expansions of government in American history. Are these kinds of costs really worth it so long as the President is funny during an In Between Two Ferns appearance? Are these costs really worth it so long as multi-millionaires like Lebron James tell you they are? Hardly.

Keep working young people (that is of course if you can find a job, Obamacare is forcing employers to cut workers and hours after all), Barack Obama is depending on you.


[The link was not provided, because the owner of the Town Hall website didn’t want readers to be able easily to access the data-source to check whether it supported or contradicted what Town Hall’s writer was alleging about it, but here is that link:]



credit: American Enterprise Institute

In other words: If your annual income is $25,000, you pay slightly less than 10% of that for coverage that will cap your out-of-pocket medical expenses (the top source of personal bankruptcies) at $5,200, or slightly more than 20% of your annual income. You won’t need to go bankrupt or homeless if you get a disease or crash your car but survive, or if some other tragedy destroys your health.

If your annual income is $45,000, you’ll pay 6% of your annual income for insurance that will cap your out-of-pocket medical expenses at $6,350, or slightly more than 14% of your annual income.

Unlike before Obamacare, the insurance company will not be able to rescind (cancel) your policy if and when you get a long-term illness.

So, Obamacare has offered, for the first time, health coverage that is non-cancellable and that guarantees that your medical expenses will not, even under the worst circumstances, exceed 20% of your annual income, and it will cost you no more than 10% of your annual income.

No wonder, then, why Michelle Obama said that only a “knucklehead” would turn it down.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • kimyo

    please pull the plug on zeusse’s posts, this experiment is an utter failure.

    if one examines the aca, it’s clear that it benefits only the insurance co’s and big pharma.

    only if you twist the prism just the right way can you portray this program as beneficial for the typical american.

    yes, your out of pocket may be capped. the company can still deny you coverage by tailoring their plans so that only one of the two prohibitively expensive medications/specialists/treatments you need to survive is covered.

    arguing for obamacare is arguing for $10 million dollar salaries for healthcare execs. use that money to treat patients and pay physicians instead.

    • Seems that Zeuesse, who believes that Nader is a communist and Ron Paul a fascist, while pimping a state-corporatist piece of rentier-capitalist extortion, is a failure. His clear support for, and lack of, appreciation for the danger this global neoliberal/neocons assault represents to mankind, does not further the conversation in the right direction.

      I wouldn’t kill the experiment. I can’t say the same for Zuesse’s Mic.

    • human

      I agree. The man more than demonstrates that he has an agenda. If I want to read biased “news” I’ll go elsewhere.

      I’m sick to death of the “Nader helped elect Bush” and the “ACA is the greatest thing since sliced bread” memes. If the Democratic party can not stand on its own, I will not hold it as it falls down.

      We need more representation, not less. The only way to push for change is to be a threat, to paraphrase Frederick Douglass.

  • Griebel

    The irony here is that this post comes off as a general admonition about critical reading of media stories, but is really just an advocacy article defending the ACA against a charge that, its sensationalist tone notwithstanding, really does lie.

    I mean, the article cited is not even a dishonest citing of it — it just leaves off facts that Zeusse wants highlighted. In other words, it’s not even really an honest indictment of the targeted article’s dishonesty — the townhall.com article may have left out facts he finds important, but it really did not dishonestly represent the forbes article.

    Sooo… Obama ACA advocacy piece disguised as media educational article… strained argument accusing an opposing journalist of dishonest reporting with insufficient cause… not looking good.

    Yeah, I think Obama fans who haven’t noticed the smell in the room are probably not a good source of fellow-traveler dialogue.

    • I think the point is pointing out false news, not advocating ACA. It’s like if you point out a corrupt Republican, people automatically think, “Oh! He’s a Democrat shill!” Or vice-versa. Pointing out a false story doesn’t mean you advocate the topic the false story is attacking.
      I’m for single-payer, but there are a lot of false stories stemming from rightwing media about ACA, and I think they should be pointed out…it doesn’t mean I “love” ACA, I just really love pointing out false news stories.

      • cettel

        Right! And even more: I love pointing out the lies from both the right and the left. But, since there are more lies on the right than on the left (and social science has documented this multifold), I usually do this exposing Republican lies; only about 30% of the time do I do it exposing Obama’s lies, Clinton’s lies, etc.

        • BuelahMan

          The biggest lie is continuing the false left vs right paradigm as you just did with that comment.

          • cettel

            So, of you think that the floor-votes aren’t radically separated along Party-lines in both houses of Congress (which they virtually always are, especially on important issues), so that it’s “Tweedledee, Tweedledom,” let’s just add the 70% to the 30% and mix them together as if you’re not deluded in that assumption, and then you won’t be closed-minded to people who are in the reality-sphere of things. If you want to mash them together, in order to maintain your self-deceptions, just continue as you are, and don’t complain to me that I’m not joining you there, because I won’t unless reality changes to fit your fantasies.

          • If they were “radically” separated then how did “we” lose most of all advances of the New Deal? How, for over 40 years, have “we” managed to drift so boldly into the state-corporatist rubric?

            If, and when “our” champions are good only in so far as they manage to cede ground to the “half-witted” red-state flunkies for the 1%, then what good are they to the working stiffs, whom they have clearly abandoned in deed, leaving empty rhetoric as substitute for principles, convictions, advocacy, militancy and balls?

          • cettel

            “We” didn’t; the aristocracy has been stealing those things from the public; 70% or the aristocracy are Republicans; 30% are Democrats — and the Democratic ones pour their money only onto conservative Democratic politicians. Virtually the entire aristocracy are robbing the public. The vast majority of Democrats oppose the aristocracy; and I’m trying to educate them that the aristocracy is trying to buy (and at the Presidential level has succeeded at buying) the public’s Party, so as to produce what we now have. This cannot end unless the Republican electorate recognize that they’re suckers; and unless the Democratic electorate are likewise educated that they’re being strenuously propaganda-pursued to vote against their own interests (e.g., to vote for Hillary).

          • “70% or the aristocracy are Republicans; 30% are Democrats”
            That’s one narrow way to define the workings and reality of the entire pathocratic cohort. A convenient one for partisan liberal flunkies, if true, but useless in describing reality.

            The vast majority of Dems, when push comes to shove, support the aristos. They are the courtiers, for shit’s sake!

            How did America drift so far to the right over the past 40 years, if what you claim is correct?

          • BuelahMan

            Let’s see:

            “deluded in that assumption”, “closed-minded”, “reality-sphere”, “self-deceptions”, and “fantasies”.

            All words in which you degrade me, while somehow believing you bolster yourself. Tear down an opposing view to build oneself up.

            If you want to know about Tweedledum and Tweedledee, see who they serve here:

            Eric, I see that you are not worthy to be published at Washington’s Blog. Why they allow it is beyond me.

            And, yes, the false paradigm has you hoodwinked. That doesn’t make you “deluded” or close-minded self-deceived, outside the reality-sphere, living in fantasy. It means you are stupid.

        • TWICE today what I said above happened:

          I posted a great quote by the new pope and comments below said I must be religious, love the pope, etc…the pope is evil, etc…

          AND…I posted the Republicans voted for a trillion Iraq War, trillions for Bush tax cuts for the rich, $300 million for medicare part D, but filibustered unemployment that’s only 6 billion saying “it’s too much money”…AND BELOW THEY SAID I MUST BE A DEMOCRAT SHILL!!! And they loved the remarks, but wouldn’t share it because it seemed pro-democrat!

          This type if thinking IS left/right thinking, NOT the person posting the good post! It’s the OPPOSITE: people say the POSTER is playing left/right, but actually the attacking commenters who say the poster is playing left/right…are playing left right.

          With that type of thinking, it would actually be impossible to post ANYTHING ever.

  • Rothbardian

    Time to stop letting Zuesse post on here.

    • cettel

      This is Eric Zuesse.

      I love the way the true-believers here attack me.

      Griebel says: “the townhall.com article may have left out facts he finds important, but it really did not dishonestly represent the forbes article.” He ignores that I prove the Forbes article to cite American Enterprise Institute (which is decidedly conservative) data that essentially disprove the central point and the headline of the Forbes article that relies upon it and that is linked to in the townhall squib. Or is Griebel simply too ignorant to know that the U.S. currently sends 17% of its GDP on health care, by far the world’s highest percentage? And is he not intelligent enough to be able then to recognize that for a young person now and hencefoward to have health insurance that costs only 10% of his income and that will cap his healthcare costs in the very worst-case scenario at a mere 20% of his income, is a fantastic improvement for him as compared to what he had before Obamacare — namely total and quick bankrupting if he crashes his car or gets a serious disease? I, too, have written extensively about how rotten Obamacare is, but what it is replacing was far worse. Be realistic!

      kimyo just insults me.

      aprescoup does more of the same.

      Rothbardian says I should be banned here (like I was banned at dailykos, for documenting how bad Obama was turning out to be as President).

      I don’t mind being insulted by people such as that. But if I get yanked from washingtonsblog the same way I was yanked from dailykos, then … well, you get the picture: how “free” is “the press” in America?

      I think that this is a great website because it pulls no punches and refuses pander to the true-believers of any faith, but instead exposes the lies and media-manipulations from all sources and of all faiths.

      But, we’ll see. We’ll soon know.

      • Carl_Herman

        Hi Eric,

        I appreciate your clear position evolved from the comments in the last two articles:

        1. The US wars are unlawful and based on lies.

        2. Obama is as criminal as Bush, and this obviously extends to leadership of both parties.

        3. These “people” should be arrested.

        For so-called “Obamacare,” here’s why I think you’re being attacked for your communication: you start with a truth to distrust anything from corporate media, then end with praising Obamacare.

        Here’s how I framed this criminal act of deception and looting of the public to so-called “health” “care” companies that you might want to comment upon: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/11/more-criminal-fraud-obamacare-transfers-100-300-billionyear-from-99-to-1.html

        You would find a receptive audience here, I think, if you could see the larger picture of corporate looting, political lying, corporate media criminal complicity, and that these 100 or so areas of genuine emergencies require full recognition of humanity, action to end it, and the unimaginable power of humans being free from these lying sacks of spin asset holes who annually kill in the millions, harm billions, and loot trillions of our dollars.

        • cettel

          Thanks, Carl, but I don’t want to appeal to anyone on the basis of their existing prejudices. I’m not interested in appealing to bigotries, or faiths of any sort. I try to keep everything clean. If people don’t like their items of faith challenged by the truth, they’re not my audience: I seek only people who are committed to the truth, come-what-may. Obamacare isn’t as bad as the anti-Obama-bots, of either the right or the left claim, and insist on believing. And it’s not as good as the Obama-bots (liberal or else outright fascist [PhRMA, etc.]) claim. It’s just not. I won’t say otherwise. I say only what is.

          • human

            Oh please…You’ve conveniently neglected to mention that the ACA is modeled after Massachusets’ Romneycare, which was in turn structured and implemented with assistance from the AEI! Please see any number of analyses for details. You may start with Lambert Strethers excellent postings at nakedcapitalism.com.

            Anyone stating that spending upwards of 30% of an annual income for healthcare due to necessary care will not bankrupt your average Joe is “appealing to bigotries, or faiths,” and not grounded in reality.

            I don’t know about you, but, in my state (CT) if I sustain injuries due to motor vehicle operation, the first $5,000.00 of my medical expenses are covered by my automobile insurance policy, without deductible or co-pay. No ACA needed, though this is likely to change. For the better?

            Either write about issues which you are not ignorant of or continue to show that you cherry pick your truth.

          • cettel

            I’ve dealt with those things in previous articles; and I also dealt with ACA’s stripping the meager assets of recipients of ACA’s medicaid subsidies so that their children won’t be able to stay in the house when the person dies, etc. But all those things are irrelevant to the present article. In some ways, Obamacare is worse than you know; in other ways it’s better. If you want a balanced opinion of it: I think it’ll be about a wash. All of this conflict, for what? And the idea that this is the best that Obama could have gotten out of the rotten congressional Republicans is also a lie: he got what he had hoped to get. So: I do blame him, and not only the Republicans. As for congressional Democrats, most of them despise Obama, because (as the press puts it), “his negotiating skills are poor.” Bull — and the Democrats in Congress know the truth, and most of them are angry about it. But a few of them are as conservative as is Obama; so they’re not angry at him one bit.

          • Carl_Herman

            Ok, Eric, then please explain:
            1. How the “deception” you frame in the article compares to the deception of Democrat “leaders” not communicating the costs and benefits of single-payer to the public for democratic consideration (“off the table” as Obama put it).

            2. Your findings of how much money is transferred from the US public to those corporate interests comparing Obamacare to single-payer ($100 billion to $300 billion every year in the studies I found in 2010).

            3. Your praise of this program compared with your omission of what Dems should be doing with their “leadership” given they are literal War Criminals, as you’ve agreed that they are, and depending on your responses to the first two also giving hundreds of billions of Americans’ dollars every year to corporations committed to profit rather than public health.

          • cettel

            Tight on time now, but: Obama had Baucus block that initiative from even being aired. Almost all Senate Democrats had been expecting single-payer to be at least a bargaining-chip to win a strong public option. Obama killed it; he aborted it; his entire campaign pledge on it had been a lie. He gave that away before the “negotiations” with Boehner & Co. started. It’s one reason many congressional Democrats loathe him.

          • Carl_Herman

            Then please don’t attempt to respond until you’re ready, Eric. You didn’t explain any of the three, so I repost. I’ll skip the temptation to ask how Obama can kill anything without Democratic Party Leadership support, unless you’d like to claim how Obama is a dictator rather than Congress making the laws, or Democrats allow dictatorship, or that Democrats “forgot” they have easy access to back down a “rogue president” by simply telling the truth and forcing him to veto a bill overwhelmingly wanted by his voters.

            1. How the “deception” you frame in the article compares to the deception of Democrat “leaders” not communicating the costs and benefits of single-payer to the public for democratic consideration (“off the table” as Obama put it).

            2. Your findings of how much money is transferred from the US public to those corporate interests comparing Obamacare to single-payer ($100 billion to $300 billion every year in the studies I found in 2010).

            3. Your praise of this program compared with your omission of what Dems should be doing with their “leadership” given they are literal War Criminals, as you’ve agreed that they are, and depending on your responses to the first two also giving hundreds of billions of Americans’ dollars every year to corporations committed to profit rather than public health.

      • Griebel

        Careful how you throw around your pejorative terms like “true believers,” lest they hurl back terms like “hack.”

        Freedom of association is not what people mean when they talk about an unfree press. If people here find you to be narrow-minded and stuck in certain ideological paradigms (the “dominant paradigm” as is said), such that your additions here are, for us, like just getting liberal mainstream news piped onto the site… then such is the right of any news/discussion organization to choose its contributors.

        This argument… that WB readers being unfavorable to your perspective and suggesting it may not be conducive here, and perhaps even moving on to an end to the relationship, is somehow representative of press unfreedom… again suggests a rather limited understanding. Similar to the cliche’ of someone claiming that the first amendment protects them from other private individuals not listening to them. (The first amendment protects only against suppression of speech under color of government power, not against editorial, hiring or printing discretion on the part of private organizations except where they are fulfilling officially-contracted government duties.)

        In the end, it just may not be a good fit.

        • USA_objector

          Griebel, I almost want Eric’s columns to continue. Think of it as kind of a slow-motion train wreck. His “hooray-for-our-side” left-right spewage becomes so bad, it’s good — kinda like watching Piers Morgan caterwaul like a schoolgirl over Americans’ right to bear arms for over a year as his ratings dropped by 75%.

          It’s actually kind of fun watching Carl in the comments, coaxing Eric into agreeing that “Obama is as criminal as Bush, and this obviously extends to leadership of both parties.” Evasive response: “Well, we have Elizabeth Warren!”

          • Name

            It kind of reminds me of the demise of Air America. At first, it was invigorating that finally there was a platform for people speaking truth to power. Then when the Democrats won both chambers of Congress, nothing changed, and nobody was held accountable. But instead of taking the Ds to task, the talking heads just became mouthpieces for one tribe of the elite. What was most frustrating was the assumption that “liberals” or “progressives” always come down on the same side of every issue, as if people come off an assembly line. It’s no wonder the radio station that once carried “progressive” talk now mainly broadcasts local college and high school sports.

  • Voice of Reason

    The biggest single objection to this post is that you chose an example about which there could be so much debate when there is such a flagrant stinker as the ‘presstitute’ coverage of Ukraine. One could almost accuse you of trivializing or obscuring the issue with your choice.

  • Name