Obamacare Website Glitches: Privilege Is Clouding Reporting

Journalists who have insurance but log on to healthcare.gov, make false calls into the call center and report negative stories about their experience are missing the point of what the Affordable Care Act means for the millions of Americans without health coverage, Zerlina Maxwell writes at Feministing. 

Posted:
 
zerlina20maxwellmsnbchealthcare.gov20coverage102513575lh
Zerlina Maxwell (MSNBC screenshot)

Political commentator Zerlina Maxwell, writing at Feministing, hits journalists who have health coverage but log on to healthcare.gov, make false calls into the call center and then report negative stories about problems with Obamacare enrollment. She says that these journalists are letting their position of privilege cloud their reporting -- and they're missing the point of what Obamacare means for millions of Americans who actually need the program.

If I see one more journalist symbolically log on to the Obamacare website, I’m going to scream. If you’re making faux calls into the call center, only to complain about the lack of hold music, as if that is what’s critically important here, you’re severely missing the point.

And even when you defend your negative reporting about the Obamacare website glitches, as The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein did last night on MSNBC, having the privilege of analyzing the process from the perspective of someone who is already insured and not in need of coverage allows the core impact of the new program on the health and security of millions of Americans to be missed ...

Obamacare is more than a website. More than half of the people I worked with on the Obama campaign in 2008 said health care reform was their reason for joining the campaign and working to elect a Democrat. Forty-seven million Americans, including me, were uninsured until now. When I finally was able to log into the site–after a few days and a few false starts -- I was floored by the number of affordable options. When I scrolled through my list of choices–124 different plans to be exact–I realized that this is the reason Republicans hate the program so much: it will fundamentally change lives, including my own.

There are a few glaring omissions in the coverage of Obamacare’s shaky rollout. For the most part, those covering the problems are insured themselves and consequently greatly underestimate the patience of a chronically uninsured person who has been counting down the days until Obamacare began so they could have a little piece of mind that if they got sick they wouldn’t be staring down bankruptcy.

Read Zerlina Maxwell's entire piece at Feministing.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.  

The Root 100 People's Choice Awards  
Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM