CNN continues trend of uncritically airing McCain's false attacks on Dems' health care plans

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

CNN's Dana Bash, Wolf Blitzer, and Kyra Phillips all uncritically aired video of Sen. John McCain's false attacks on Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton regarding health care, in which McCain suggested that the Democratic candidates favor a "one-size-fits-all, big-government takeover of health care," and that "[t]hey want the government to make the decisions." In fact, neither Obama nor Clinton has proposed a "big-government takeover of health care"; both have called for individuals to choose their own insurance.

During the 4 p.m. ET hour of the April 28 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, congressional correspondent Dana Bash and host Wolf Blitzer both aired video of Sen. John McCain saying, "The solution, my friends, isn't a one-size-fits-all, big-government takeover of health care." In addition, Blitzer, during the 5 p.m. hour of the April 28 Situation Room, and anchor Kyra Phillips, on the 6 a.m. hour of the April 29 edition of CNN's American Morning, uncritically aired video of McCain stating, "I've made it very clear that what I want is for families to make decisions about their health care, not government. And that's the fundamental difference between myself and Senator [Barack] Obama and Senator [Hillary] Clinton. They want the government to make the decisions; I want the families to make the decisions." In fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted when CNN uncritically aired -- or repeated -- similar attacks by McCain, neither Clinton nor Obama has proposed a "big-government takeover of health care"; both have called for individuals to choose their own insurance.

Regarding McCain's suggestion that the Democratic candidates want a "one-size-fits-all, big-government takeover of health care," on the December 6, 2007, broadcast of NPR's Morning Edition, health policy correspondent Julie Rovner noted: "None of the leading Democratic candidates, however, has proposed anything like a single-payer system, much less a fully government-run program like Britain's National Health Service."

Contrary to McCain's suggestion that Obama and Clinton "want the government to make the decisions," Obama's health care plan allows individuals to keep their private health insurance if they so choose, while he says it also "addresses the large gaps in coverage that leave 47 million Americans uninsured." A Q&A released by the Obama campaign says: "His plan will not tell you which doctors to see or what treatments to get. Under the Obama health care plan, you will be able to keep your doctor and your health insurance if you want. No government bureaucrat will second-guess decisions about your care." And a Clinton campaign summary of her health care program says: "In addition to the broad array of private options that Americans can choose from, they will be offered the choice of a public plan option similar to Medicare." The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog noted on October 24, 2007, that "the Clinton plan does not force Americans to accept 'government insurance.' It offers people a choice. If they are happy with their present health plan, they can keep it. Otherwise, they can switch to the plans offered to members of Congress, or a government-run plan similar to Medicare."

From the April 28 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BASH: McCain advisers I talked to say they won't run any ad using Jeremiah Wright against Obama, but they are no longer going to tell others not to.

[begin video clip]

BASH: A hospital tour, as John McCain discussed one of the starkest policy differences with Democrats: health care.

McCAIN: The solution, my friends, isn't a one-size-fits-all, big-government takeover of health care.

BASH: McCain tried to stick to issues and script a day after straying from his self-described high standard of campaigning, volunteering controversial quotes purportedly from Jeremiah Wright reported on a blog.

[end video clip]

[...]

BLITZER: Let's take a closer look right now at the other issue John McCain is talking about today: health care. The Republican proposes more of a free-market approach to reform than his Democratic rivals. He opposes federally mandated universal coverage, supports expanding health savings accounts and health care tax dividends for low-income Americans.

McCAIN [video clip]: The solution, my friends, isn't a one-size-fits-all, big-government takeover of health care. It resides where every important social advance has always resided, with the American people themselves.

BLITZER: Barack Obama would mandate health care coverage for children, but not necessarily for all adults. He'd create a new national health care program for the uninsured and require private insurance plans to meet certain standards.

OBAMA [video clip]: We've been talking about health care for decades now, through Democratic and Republican administrations. And, yet, year after year after year, nothing ever changes.

BLITZER: Hillary Clinton wants to mandate health insurance coverage for all Americans. She'd create a new public insurance plan modeled after Medicare and let individuals choose from among several private plans.

CLINTON [video clip]: We're going to move toward universal health care, because, if we don't, we're going to bankrupt our health care system, and we're not going to have the kind of health care that any of us deserve to have.

BLITZER: We're going to continue to watch this story on all the substantive issues, where these candidates stand.

[...]

BLITZER: Another major campaign issue: health care. Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain distinguished himself from his Democratic rivals, who both support some measure of government-mandated insurance.

McCAIN [video clip]: I've made it very clear that what I want is for families to make decisions about their health care, not government. And that's the fundamental difference between myself and Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. They want the government to make the decisions; I want the families to make the decisions.

BLITZER: Negotiation and not isolation -- former President Jimmy Carter is urging direct negotiations with Hamas as part of the Middle East peace process.

From the 6 a.m. ET hour of the April 29 edition of CNN's American Morning:

PHILLIPS: And John McCain will talk about his health care plan on the campaign trail in Florida today. McCain wants to offer families a $5,000 tax credit to help buy insurance policies.

McCAIN [video clip]: I've made it very clear that what I want is for families to make decisions about their health care, not government. And that's the fundamental difference between myself and Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. They want the government to make the decisions; I want the families to make the decisions.

PHILLIPS: McCain says that his plan will force companies to respond with better service at a lower cost. Democrats say his plan won't help the average family, and it's very similar to what the Bush administration wants.

Posted In
Elections, Health Care
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Wolf Blitzer, Dana Bash
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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