But, perhaps most important, where were the warnings about the substantial problems with the Medicare Advantage plans? Hidden coinsurance charges, for example, can leave seniors with huge bills when serious illness strikes. Insurers know that wellness seminars and gym memberships are cheap—and that people like these perks, too. It’s a great way for them to buy off their policyholders. It’s far more costly for them to cover the entire bill for chemotherapy.

The Coalition provided the thirty or so people who came to the meeting with the means to write or e-mail their elected representatives immediately. That, of course, was what it was all about. And without any analysis or comment from the other side, no doubt some readers took their cues from the paper and joined the letter-writing campaign. The industry couldn’t have gotten better PR.

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.