Exchange shoppers must make comparisons all right, but that isn’t one of them. Insurance prices have always varied by state, and what consumers need to know is 1) how rates vary in their own states for the same coverage, and 2) how the rates vary for different coverage and whether it’s worthwhile to pay higher premiums for better coverage. That’s what the next round of stories should focus on.

Tomorrow is D-Day, and the exchanges will be the big story. In examining the premiums that will be on each state’s website, reporters will see for themselves what everybody else will pay for insurance. Maybe the ongoing game of spin the rates will finally be over. The message from the administration and Obamacare cheerleaders has been the Affordable Care Act will bring cheap insurance. It will for some, but not for others. It would be great for the media to forget about waving the pom-poms and instead use their megaphones to tell people what they can actually expect, and how to make the tough decisions about choosing a policy.

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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.