This chain reaction is yet another example of Washington’s herd journalism, which did little to illuminate the rate increase stampede. The subject cries out for serious and accurate investigation on the part of the press. The world can do without stories that show White House officials offering inane but quotable comments, Madame Secretary flexing her muscles, or advocacy groups trying to make headlines. Consumers like James Windus, whose rate increase story I tell in this story’s companion post, want answers—and fast.

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.