MediaWatch: March 1993

Vol. Seven No. 3

Morgan on Medicaid Raids

In a sharp and valuable investigative series on February 7, 13 and 28, Washington Post reporter Dan Morgan exposed how state governments circumvent federal Medicaid rules to fund projects unrelated to medical aid for the poor and elderly.

On the 28th, Morgan showed how Republican legislators in New Hampshire used a Medicaid loophole to make up for revenue lost by a downturn in the state. "We're funding our state judicial system, our state highway program, and everything else out of a Medicaid loophole, which is being funded out of the deficit," said GOP lawmaker Douglas Hall.

Morgan also noted that of the New Hampshire hospitals handling large numbers of Medicaid patients, "few if any of the hospitals have used the Medicaid windfall to reduce rates to private patients and insurers. Yet hospital officials acknowledge those rates already include some or all of the cost of caring for indigent patients." Reporters covering the forthcoming health care "reform" should follow Morgan's lead.

The Straight Scoop on Gays

The gay rights movement has long claimed that 10 percent of Americans are homosexual. This figure, based on decades-old research of Alfred Kinsey, has been used as a major piece of ammunition in the battle over gay rights. In the February 15 Newsweek, Senior Editorial Assistant Patrick Rogers took issue with this oft-quoted figure: "Policymakers and the press... adopted the estimate [of 10 percent] despite protests from skeptical conservatives -- citing it time and again."

Rogers wrote that "ideology, not sound science has perpetuated a 1-in-10 myth. In the nearly half century since Kinsey, no survey has come close to duplicating his findings. Most recent studies place gays and lesbians at somewhere between 1 and 6 percent of the population. While experts say these survey results are biased by underreporting from reticent participants, the gap is still significant. Some gay activists now concede that they exploited the Kinsey estimate for it tactical value, not its accuracy."

Rogers referred to the 1992 version of the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center's (NORC) General Social Survey to further skewer Kinsey's data: "Between 1989 and 1992, the [NORC] added two sex questions...The results have been consistent. Among men, 2.8 percent reported exclusively homo-sexual activity in the preceding year; women registered 2.5 percent."