The Trump administration's replacement for the Affordable Care Act brought something almost unprecedented from CNS during the Trump administration: negative-leaning coverage of a Trump initiative.
First, CNS served up the usual stenography:
- WH: Unlike Obamacare, You Don’t Have to Pass GOP Replacement Plan to See What’s In It
- Ryan: ‘We Will Have 218 Votes’ to Pass Our Repeal-and-Replace Plan
- WH on Sen. Cotton’s Opposition to Health Care Bill: ‘We’re Gonna Engage’
But it also served up articles that noted conservative opposition:
- McConnell: GOP Plan Is ‘Dramatic Improvement’; Schumer: No to ‘Trumpcare’
- As GOP Introduces Obamacare Replacement, Conservatives Balk: ‘We’ve Got to Do Better’
- Conservatives: Only One Score Matters: Does GOP Bill Lower Health Care Costs and Premiums?
Then CNS moved to publishing op-eds actually attacking the Trump plan for being too Obamacare-y. A column by the Heritage Foundation's Edmund Haislmaier complains the Trump plan "fails to correct the features of Obamacare that drove up health insurance costs" and does not include "market-based replacement reforms."
CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey then went on the attack in a March 10 column, singling out the Trump plan's proposal to "replace the Obamacare penalty [for not having health insurance coverage] with their own penalty" that gets paid to insurance companies. "Americans who work, support themselves and do not take government subsidies are not the beneficiaries of this Obamacare repeal — or, that is, this Republican 'replacement.'," Jeffrey grumbled. (Jeffrey had also written a "news" article about this provision.)
In other words, CNS is permitting criticism of Trump's health care plan only because it's not right-wing enough.