Reports said enrollment for Affordable Care Act health insurance plans was up initially in Iowa, despite reduced spending on navigators and advertising and an enrollment period that was cut in half. Imagine my surprise seeing the headline “Affordable Care Act – Enrollment in Iowa is falling short” on Thursday's front page of Quad-City Times and my dismay at the article headline “Obamacare sign ups slow, with only two weeks left to enroll.”
However, upon reading the article, I found enrollment was actually higher by 5,000 in the first weeks and the company selling policies on the Iowa exchange is meeting its expectations. The article also stated, “Typically, enrollment figures ramp up toward the end of the signup window.” In fact, throughout the entire article, I found the only mention of decreased numbers was a prediction by the Iowa insurance commissioner after he had said “it’s still too early to know how many people will end up in the market because of a number of variables.”
Perhaps the headline, “Affordable Care Act – Doing Fine” does not sell papers, but it does represent reality right now. I ask that Times staff take care to be accurate and fair, so they do not cause potential harm by creating self-fulfilling prophecies. Not everyone takes the time to read every story – some browse the headlines. All the more reason to be sure what you print in the bigger, bold letters of the headlines matches what you print in the plain, small fonts of the article.