Policy substance or simplified politics?: how the healthcare reform public option was portrayed in newspaper editorials Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Kelly, Carol Bain
    • Affiliation: Hussman School of Journalism and Media
  • This thesis examined the portrayal of the public option proposal for healthcare reform in newspaper editorials during the height of Congressional debate and media attention, June through December 2009. Using a mixed-methods approach, a quantitative content analysis determined editorial stance and compared different United States regions to one another, and a qualitative textual analysis identified and illustrated frames in editorials. Overall, 62% of editorials supported the public option, 21% opposed it, and 17% remained balanced. Social, ethical and political values applicable to healthcare reform guided the qualitative analysis. Cost control, greediness and pure politics were the primary themes. The social and ethical frames considered healthcare provision remedies and societal rights while the political frame was concerned with characterizations, drama and strategy about the public option. Divergent perspectives about individual freedom and responsibility for the provision of health insurance marked the debate. Editorials contained both policy substance and simplified politics.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication."
  • Johnston, Anne
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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