Of the three major networks, only NBC ignored a major new study with a dire warning about ObamaCare: The President's health care law will likely make things worse in emergency rooms, not better. CBS investigated the story on Thursday's Evening News and Friday's This Morning. ABC allowed a mere 20 seconds on Good Morning America, but still beat NBC's silence.
On Evening News, Sharyl Attkisson revealed, "Despite hopes that expanding Medicaid would decrease expensive and unnecessary hospital visits because the poor would have access to doctors and preventative care, today's study finds the opposite." Attkisson featured MIT professor and co-author Amy Finkelstein. She explained, "What Medicaid does is it makes not only primary care now free for individuals but also the emergency room. And as I teach my undergraduates, when you lower the price of something people tend to buy more of it." [MP3 audio here.]
The study looked at the Medicaid expansion in Oregon prior to Obamacare. An analysis of 25,000 people found that patients using Medicaid went to the ER 40 percent more, often for non-serious problems.
On Friday, This Morning reporter Anthony Mason asserted, "The findings go against key predictions about ObamaCare."
Good Morning America's Bianna Golodryga sounded a similar alarm: "The findings contradict the key argument that ObamaCare would help rein in ER visits and costs."
ABC neglected the results in a story on Thursday night. Instead, World News reporter Jon Karl featured the previously uninsured Maggie Fernandez. She praised, "While I was uninsured, I was paying $200 a month, but now with ObamaCare I will be paying $20 a month."
Overall, Karl offered a balanced take, noting that "there are early signs not enough healthy and young people are signing up in order to keep costs low." However, he did not mention the new study, published in the prestigious Science journal.
NBC avoided the news on Thursday's Nightly News and on Friday's Today. However, the four-hour-long program devoted almost five minutes to previewing commercials for the Super Bowl, nearly a month away.
A transcript of CBS and ABC January 3 morning segments can be found below:
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Meantime, as more than two million Americans joined the ranks of the insured, it appears Obamacare could make things worse for emergency rooms. A new Oregon study shows the newly insured are 40 percent more likely to head straight to the ER. The findings contradict the key argument that ObamaCare would help rein in ER visits and costs.
CBS This Morning
ANTHONY MASON: The New York Times says the number of emergency room visits is going up, with more Americans getting health insurance. A study finds people who added coverage in Oregon six years ago made 40 percent more visits to the E.R. The findings go against key predictions about ObamaCare.