Here’s How Teamwork Produced An Effective Response To A ‘False’ Tweet

After we reported that there is “no guarantee of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions” in the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, this tweet popped up from @BillCassidy:

@NPR FALSE. Under the bill, states must ensure that individuals with pre-existing conditions have access to adequate & affordable insurance.

Steve Mullis suggested NPR should respond. Alison Kodjak, whose story the senator was questioning, and her editors (Gisele Grayson, Nancy Shute, Joe Neel) got to work. The goal would be to respond calmly. The forum would be Twitter, where the senator made his charge. The response and how we got there, is worth revisiting.

Some key points:

- We followed our mantra: “Stand with the Facts.”

- It was known that we might decide not to go ahead if we couldn’t strike the right tone — and that would be OK.

- The teams that knew what to do, from the best way to engage to the best way to explain the story, led the process.

- We moved quickly, but we didn’t hurry. Everyone who needed to weigh in did, but no one held up the process.

You can see the result here.

Or, read through how tweets rolled out:

- Sen @BillCassidy called our reading of his health care bill on pre-existing conditions false. Here’s how we read it:

- Prior to ACA, insurers routinely excluded care for cancer or mental health or made the coverage so expensive that it was out of reach

- Current law (ACA) guarantees coverage for 10 “essential health benefits”—in every exchange policy in every state

- Those EHBs are central to pre-existing condition protections because they define what an insurance policy is required to cover

- #GrahamCassidy allows states to opt out of EHBs. That cld mean a person with diabetes can be charged extra for a plan with Rx drug coverage

- Allowing states to opt out of EHBs under #GrahamCassidy cld also mean a person w/ depression may not find a plan with mental health coverage

- Sen. @BillCassidy says his bill ensures that people with pre-existing conditions have access to “adequate & affordable” coverage

- With no EHB requirements and no subsidies, “adequate” and “affordable” is left up to states and does not guarantee coverage

Thanks to all involved in crafting this response.

(“Memmos;” Sept. 25, 2017)

September 25, 2017

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