MPR’s piece featured comments from Terry Hill, executive director of the National Rural Health Resource Center in Duluth, who worried that people in rural areas will have few choices of healthcare providers. He told listeners big health systems were partnering with insurance companies and “rural clinics and their networks are not part of this.” As for the high rates for small employers, Stawicki reported that very few carriers have so far chosen to sell in this market. So much for competition! Finally, she tackled the question that’s been so botched by regulators and the media this year: Will the new rates be lower than what people are paying now? As we’ve reported many times, you can’t make that comparison because the policies are not the same. The new ones have more comprehensive benefits. Stawicki reported “state officials say it’s impossible to make such a comparison.” Hurray for them (and for Stawicki for including it)! That was a refreshing change from misleading pronouncements from other states.

All in all, Minnesota Public Radio gets an A for its work (the online piece included a handy “explainer” for gold, silver, and bronze insurance plans); Kaiser gets a C; and the Department of Health and Human Services—well, a press release is just that, a press release, to be taken with a grain of salt.

Follow @USProjectCJR for more posts from this author and the rest of the United States Project team.

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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.