Local television news coverage of the affordable care act: Emphasizing politics over consumer information

Sarah E Gollust, Laura M. Baum, Jeff Niederdeppe, Colleen L. Barry, Erika Franklin Fowler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives. To examine the public health and policy-relevant messages conveyed through local television news during the first stage of Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation, when about 10 million Americans gained insurance. Methods. We conducted a content analysis of 1569 ACA-related local evening television news stories, obtained from sampling local news aired between October 1, 2013, and April 19, 2014. Coders systematically collected data using a coding instrument tracking major messages and information sources cited in the news. Results. Overall, only half of all ACA-related news coverage focused on health insurance products,whereastheremainderdiscussedpoliticaldisagreementsoverthelaw.Majorpolicy tools of the ACA-the Medicaid expansion and subsidies available-were cited in less than 10% of news stories. Number of enrollees (27%) and Web site glitches (33%) were more common features of coverage. Sources with a political affiliation were by far the most commonsourceofinformation(> 40%),whereasresearchwascitedinlessthan4%ofstories. Conclusions. The most common source of news for Americans provided little public health-relevant substance about the ACA during its early implementation, favoring political strategy in coverage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-693
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Volume107
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017

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Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Television
Politics
Public Health
Medicaid
Health Insurance
Public Policy
Health Policy
Insurance

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Cite this

Local television news coverage of the affordable care act : Emphasizing politics over consumer information. / Gollust, Sarah E; Baum, Laura M.; Niederdeppe, Jeff; Barry, Colleen L.; Fowler, Erika Franklin.

In: American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 107, No. 5, 01.05.2017, p. 687-693.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Gollust, Sarah E ; Baum, Laura M. ; Niederdeppe, Jeff ; Barry, Colleen L. ; Fowler, Erika Franklin. / Local television news coverage of the affordable care act : Emphasizing politics over consumer information. In: American Journal of Public Health. 2017 ; Vol. 107, No. 5. pp. 687-693.
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abstract = "Objectives. To examine the public health and policy-relevant messages conveyed through local television news during the first stage of Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation, when about 10 million Americans gained insurance. Methods. We conducted a content analysis of 1569 ACA-related local evening television news stories, obtained from sampling local news aired between October 1, 2013, and April 19, 2014. Coders systematically collected data using a coding instrument tracking major messages and information sources cited in the news. Results. Overall, only half of all ACA-related news coverage focused on health insurance products,whereastheremainderdiscussedpoliticaldisagreementsoverthelaw.Majorpolicy tools of the ACA-the Medicaid expansion and subsidies available-were cited in less than 10{\%} of news stories. Number of enrollees (27{\%}) and Web site glitches (33{\%}) were more common features of coverage. Sources with a political affiliation were by far the most commonsourceofinformation(> 40{\%}),whereasresearchwascitedinlessthan4{\%}ofstories. Conclusions. The most common source of news for Americans provided little public health-relevant substance about the ACA during its early implementation, favoring political strategy in coverage.",
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