Roll Call uncritically quoted John Boehner's false suggestion that under a health care reform bill drafted by Senate Democrats, "at least 23 million Americans would lose their coverage" and be left without health insurance.
CNN again hosted Betsy McCaughey to discuss health care despite the fact that CNN's own health care reporter had to debunk an earlier health care reform assertion advanced by McCaughey.
From the June 24 edition of the Lee Rodgers Show:
Loading the player reg...
John Roberts did not challenge Betsy McCaughey's assertion that the Affordable Health Choices Act "basically" "pushes everyone into an HMO-style plan."
From the June 24 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
Loading the player reg...
ABC and the Washington Post has released a new poll that is sure to get a great deal of attention, as opponents of a public health care plan will use it to claim that the public doesn't really support such a plan. Many reporters will, no doubt, interpret it the same way. But the poll's actual wording appears to stack the deck against a public plan.
Here's how the Post described the poll results:
Survey questions that equate the public option approach with the popular, patient-friendly Medicare system tend to get high approval, as do ones that emphasize the prospect of more choices. But when framed with an explicit counterargument, the idea receives a more tepid response. In the new Post-ABC poll, 62 percent support the general concept, but when respondents were told that meant some insurers would go out of business, support dropped sharply, to 37 percent.
So, it sounds like the ABC/Post poll asked whether people support a public option like the "patient-friendly Medicare system," then asked if they still support a public option if it meant some insurers would go out of business, right? The Washington Post presents this as framing the question "with an explicit counterargument."
But that isn't really what the poll did. Here's the actual wording of the two questions:
21. Would you support or oppose having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans? (IF SUPPORT) Would you rather have that plan run by a government agency, or run by an independent organization with government funding and oversight?
21a. (IF SUPPORT) What if having the government create a new health insurance plan made many private health insurers go out of business because they could not compete? In that case would you support or oppose creating a government-run health insurance plan?
Note that 21 does not actually include an argument in favor of a public plan. It doesn't indicate that a public option could be better and cheaper than private insurance. It does not link a public plan to "the popular, patient-friendly Medicare system," as the Post's write-up implied. But 21a does offer an argument against the public plan -- that "many" private insurers might go out of business.
The Post's write-up suggests that the poll shows what the American people think when presented with an argument for the public plan and an argument against it. In fact, it merely shows what people think when they hear only an argument against it.
Bill Sammon falsely compared the budget reconciliation process some progressives have suggested be used to advance health-care reform legislation to the "nuclear option," which Republicans proposed in 2005 to prohibit filibusters of judicial nominations.
A Fox Nation headline declared, "Diane Sawyer 'proud' of Obama Health Care Infomercial." But in a video clip the Fox Nation included, Sawyer stated, "It is not an infomercial. ABC News does not do that."
During the Bush administration, a lot of progressive media critics -- including me -- criticized reporters for allowing Bush and his press secretaries to get away with blatantly not answering questions.
If Bush didn't answer a question, we argued, the others in the room should ask it again rather than letting him off the hook.
And that's exactly what ABC's Jake Tapper just did. President Obama didn't answer a direct question about whether a public plan is non-negotiable. So when the president called on Tapper, Tapper asked him to answer the previously-asked question. Good for him.
From the June 22 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
Loading the player reg...
Despite poignant testimony by people denied coverage for treatment of serious health problems, the network evening news broadcasts uniformly ignored a June 16 House hearing on the practice by insurance companies of canceling the policies of people who become ill and submit claims for expensive treatments.
From the June 22nd edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
In an interview with members of the Obama health care team, GMA's Diane Sawyer did not ask any questions based on progressive concerns about health care reform.
New York, N.Y.: Ceci, in your article last week you described the AMA as being "the nation's largest physician group," but for some reason you didn't note that that of the 800,000 doctors in America, just 1/3 are AMA members, nor did you mention that the AMA gets at least 20 percent of its budget from drug companies. And those same drug companies are in the midst of a multimillion dollar advocacy campaign against many progressive health reform ideas. Why did you and your editors choose to leave out this extremely crucial context?
washingtonpost.com: In Pitch to AMA, Obama Paints Mixed Picture
Ceci Connolly: I don't think the two points are mutually exclusive. The AMA is the largest doctors' group, but it obviously does not represent every physician. That's the tricky part with any trade group.
Connolly's response misses the point entirely. Yes, the tricky part in writing about trade groups is that they can be large but not fully representative. And Connolly failed to make that clear in the article in question. Reading the article, you would have no idea that AMA represents a small fraction of doctors. In fact, you would likely get the opposite impression. Nor did Connolly indicate, as the reader pointed out, that AMA gets significant funding from drug companies.
Connolly's explanation -- "that's the tricky part" -- isn't an explanation; it is a reminder that her article was flawed. Which isn't really in question; the question is why, and whether she'll do better next time.
Here's the Washington Post editorial page chief:
Broadly speaking, we know how to insure most Americans: Order them to get insurance, help pay for those who can't afford it and tell insurance companies to enroll anyone who asks.
Hiatt doesn't seem to have even considered using either the Veterans Health Administration or Medicare as a model instead. Which is odd, since they already exist and, by most accounts, work rather well.
Hiatt goes on to complain about the cost of health care reform -- which makes his refusal to consider other models all the more odd. After all, the Lewin Group has found that Rep. Pete Stark's proposal, for example, would produce the greatest overall savings:
Though Rep. Stark's AmeriCare bill is the most expensive to the federal government, it provides the biggest overall health savings, lowering projected national expenditures by $58 billion (Figure ES-4). It achieves this by significantly lowering the costs of insurance administration by covering most people through a program like Medicare, which has substantially lower administrative costs than private insurance.
So even as Hiatt portrays universal health care as too expensive, he ignores proposals that would do the most to cut costs.