Letter to the Editor

In response to “Healthcare website spurs problems”


I am deeply concerned by the level of misinformation present in Ms. Valerie Yu’s opinion piece on the Affordable Care Act, which appeared in the Oct. 29 issue of the Daily Trojan.

Writers of opinion pieces are entitled to exactly that: opinions. This letter aims to examine the facts presented in Ms. Yu’s piece and to express concern for the danger the DT faces in terms of quality and credibility if its editors continue to publish similarly inaccurate pieces.

Ms. Yu writes: USA Today reported that 700,000 applications were submitted this week.” That USA Today report actually reads that over 700,000 applications have been submitted since Oct 1. This information is in the first sentence of that report. Yu’s piece goes on to argue that healthcare.gov crashing due to high volume combined with penalties for the uninsured means that “the prospects for universal healthcare don’t look good.”

The Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” is not universal healthcare. Even Fox News makes sure to call “Obamacare” a step toward universal healthcare. To claim anything otherwise would be a flat-out lie.

I hope that it was negligence on behalf of the editors of the Daily Trojan that allowed this to happen because this is pure misinformation. Furthermore, the extent to which there will be “penalties for the uninsured” is debatable. I would direct readers to an informative article by Mike Patton in Forbes.

Ms. Yu goes on to quote a former commissioner of Social Security from The Weekly Standard. There is nothing factually wrong here, except an editor should realize that this is not a credible source but rather quoting an opinion second hand. Ms. Yu, however, extrapolates a fact from this: “Unaccountable workers, known as navigators, will have access to Social Security numbers and other private information.” Navigators are accountable, otherwise they wouldn’t be certified, nor do they have access to personal information unless it was willingly offered in person whilst completing the application.

Lastly, Ms. Yu makes questionable use of an article in The National Review by John Fund. One claim is that because of the health care law linking federal agency records, the enrollment in Obamacare is the “largest consolidation of personal data in our nation’s history.” Not only is this claim hardly verifiable, but it has nothing to do with copycat scam websites.

My intention is not to chastise Ms. Yu; she makes excellent points on the cybersecurity concerns of healthcare.gov and I completely agree that many of the problems with the execution of the ACA should have been avoided.

However, this is not the first time pieces in the Daily Trojan have caused me concern.

The DT is and should be a respected news source with a wide readership. As a college newspaper it is not beholden to the private interests of corporate news organizations. As such, it is critical to the well-being of the fourth estate.

Alessandro Sassoon

Senior, international relations