Both sides of the aisle talk about the “echo chamber” and how important it is to have one that can out-trumpet the other. An echo chamber, for those wondering what I’m talking about, is an effect achieved through coordinating the efforts of various communication outlets working together to spread a message. For example, a blogger uncovers this amazing story that reveals X, then a bigger blogger picks up on it and writes about X, which in turn catches the eye of the two guys running Complete Colorado therefore tipping off more bloggers, and then news sources are forced to acknowledge X and cover it. If you’re lucky enough, Drudge eventually picks up on X and alerts the whole nation to it. When small time and big time news outlets successfully come together to advance a certain narrative, the echo chamber effect can be massive and influential – in other words – massively influential.
Typically the left has had the bigger and better echo chamber. Although those on the center-right have come together in the last couple of years to create a rather effective machine of their own. (Take a look at Peoples Press Collective and Complete Colorado for example). Also typical of an echo chamber is its do-it-yourself mentality and grassroots beginnings.
Knowing all of this, you might be as surprised as I am to find out that the left’s echo chamber has extended far beyond any DIY or grassroots effort. Like waking up one morning to find you’ve got a winning lottery ticket on your nightstand, the left has hit the echo chamber’s version of Powerball. In addition to their successful Colorado Democracy Alliance (CODA) organization, they’ve also got the biggest, baddest slugger in the big leagues batting clean-up for them – the establishment media.
Imagine the clout an echo chamber could have if any message they wanted out there and popularized would be parroted by the establishment media. Let’s just say for the sake of argument, that someone, somewhere wanted to trumpet to the world that skyrocketing health care costs had nothing to do with ObamaCare. Maybe the story would originate from a press release sent from an official department of the state of Colorado. Perhaps a local and usually fair and balanced business news outlet would report on it. Then maybe a local, leftist news website would trumpet the press release as God’s spoken words, along with their lefty affiliates here and here. Suddenly, the establishment newspaper of record cannot abstain from parroting the narrative themselves in their own piece. Even silly news outlets join the party with their own facsimiles.
If, and this is one mighty large if, that ever happened here in Colorado, we at the Independence Institute would not take it lying down. We would probably ask our Health Care Policy Center gurus Linda Gorman and Brian Schwartz to respond to the insane propaganda being trumpeted from sea to shining sea. Brian Schwartz might respond by pointing to something like this from the Cato Institute. Health Care Policy Center director Linda Gorman might respond, being the brilliant genius she is, with something along the lines of this:
- John Deere, Verizon, Caterpillar, McDonald’s, Boeing, and AARP, among others, both operate insurance plans and have publicly stated that ObamaCare is going to raise their costs by hundreds of millions of dollars. They have acted on their claims. Show me the numbers.
- Commissioner Morrison says that the Division of Insurance is “in the process of reviewing rates.” Still, she knows that federal health reforms have “contributed from zero to a maximum of 5 percent of those increases. It’s not the primary cause for increasing rates.”
- Perhaps an explanation of how Commissioner Morrison arrived at her conclusion will have to wait until the Division spends the $1 million it got from the Obama Administration to, in the words of Governor Ritter, “educate consumers about health insurance.”
- Milliman estimates that HMO increases will be 9.0% for January 2011 renewal and 11.0% for PPO renewal. So, if the ObamaCare increase is “just” 5% of those increases it is responsible for half or more of the 2011 premium increases. Perhaps she means that it is just 5% of 9%, or (.05)*(.09) which equals .0045% and, given my premiums, is equal to $3.00 a month for three people. Her analysis can see such a small amount? It is truly powerful and we must bow before it.
- AARP, Caterpillar, Boeing, Aetna, John Deere, Verizon and McDonalds are raising deductibles and co-pays or dropping their health insurance plans. While these changes may not be reflected in premiums, they are reflected in higher co-pays and deductibles. They are also reflected by the fact that the availability of child only health insurance policies and mini-med policies has been severely compromised by the advent of ObamaCare. This is a cost, but it conveniently isn’t included in “premiums.”
- The Division claims that most of these are due to medical cost increases—does she think that ObamaCare has no effect on medical costs? Remember the device taxes? The health information technology requirements? The slacker mandate? Guaranteed issue requirements? The required increases in vision and dental coverage for the kiddies? They don’t take effect until later? Yep, we all know that businesses don’t anticipate cost increases.
But really… who knows? I can’t predict what would happen if the left really did have the mainstream media parroting their talking points. It’s a good thing we don’t have to worry about anything like that right?