The glowing coverage from the West Coast could spark a new meme that can mislead the public. What’s needed is thorough, comprehensive, and skeptical reporting on rate announcements in other states. It may be impossible to compare this year’s individual market rates with those in 2014. In fact, it may be best to concentrate not on premiums, as officialdom would like, but on all the other policy elements that go into helping people decide if a particular offering will be good for them. It is that mix that will reveal whether a policy is good, bad, or mediocre.

The implementation of Obamacare is not really a political story. It’s a consumer story, and what’s called for is some old-fashioned, hard-hitting, and skeptical consumer reporting.

Follow @USProjectCJR for more posts from @Trudy_Lieberman and the rest of the United States Project team, including our work on healthcare issues and public health at The Second Opinion.

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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.