Drudge, Fox Nation mischaracterize Obama remarks as supporting end to private health insurance

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

On August 3, the Drudge Report and the Fox Nation linked to a YouTube video with the headlines, "Uncovered Video: Obama Explains How His Health Care Plan Will 'Eliminate' Private Insurance" and "2007 Video! Did Obama Say He Wants to Kill Private Insurance?," respectively. However, the video clip cropped Obama's comments and mischaracterized them: Obama was not discussing the elimination of private insurance, but rather how health insurance could transition from a system of primarily "employer coverage" to a "much more portable system."

Drudge, Fox Nation echo YouTube poster's claim that in clip, Obama is "saying His Health Care Plan Will ELIMINATE Private Insurance"

From the Drudge Report on August 3:

drudgevideo

From FoxNation.com on August 3:

fnhealth

Posted video shows Obama was not discussing elimination of "private insurance" in general

Video mischaracterized footage of Obama discussing insurance options beyond employer-based coverage. While the video clip is posted on YouTube under the headline, "SHOCK UNCOVERED: Obama IN HIS OWN WORDS saying His Health Care Plan will ELIMINATE private insurance," Obama does not discuss the elimination of private insurance during the clip. Rather, in the footage, taken from a 2007 forum on health care, Obama discusses how the health insurance system could transition away from a system of primarily "employer coverage." In the video clip, Obama states, "I would hope that we could set up a system that allows those who can go through their employer to access a federal system or a state pool of some sort. ... But I don't think we're going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately."

From the video, posted on YouTube by the conservative video news site NakedEmperorNews.com:

OBAMA: My commitment is to make sure that we've got universal health care for all Americans by the end of my first term as president.

[...]

OBAMA: I would hope that we could set up a system that allows those who can go through their employer to access a federal system or a state pool of some sort.

ON-SCREEN TEXT: OBAMA admitting his plan will ELIMINATE private insurance (over time)

OBAMA: But I don't think we're going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There's going to be potentially some transition process. I can envision a decade out or 15 years out or 20 years out.

Video crops Obama comments to suggest employer coverage would be "eliminated" by his plan

Contrary to cropped video, Obama did not suggest "employer coverage" would be "eliminate[d]" in 10 to 20 years. Obama stated: "But I don't think we're going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There's going to be potentially some transition process. I can envision a decade out or 15 years out or 20 years out where we've got a much more portable system" [cropped comments in italics].

Obama stated during forum that under his plan, employers "still have the option of providing coverage." Following the remarks included in the YouTube video, Obama stated that under that "much more portable system": Employers still have the option of providing coverage, but many people may find that they get better coverage, or at least coverage that gives them more for health care dollars than they spend outside of their employer. And I think we've got to facilitate that and let individuals make that choice to transition out of employer coverage."

Later in forum, Obama stated that under his plan, pooling options would exist "in addition to the employer based system." Obama stated: "[O]ne thing that I think is important is to recognize that there are a lot of small employers who would like to get health care for their workers but they themselves can't afford it because they don't have access to large enough pools to allow them to save money. That's why I think it's going to be important for us in whatever system that we set up to make sure that in addition to the employer based system that we've got an alternative system that individuals who aren't getting it through the job can access."

From the March 24, 2007, health care forum (portions aired in the video in bold):

OBAMA: As I indicated before, I think that we're going to have to have some system where people can buy into a larger pool. Right now their pool typically is the employer, but there are other ways of doing it. I would like to -- I would hope that we could set up a system that allows those who can go through their employer to access a federal system or a state pool of some sort. But I don't think we're going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There's going to be potentially some transition process. I can envision a decade out or 15 years out or 20 years out where we've got a much more portable system. Employers still have the option of providing coverage, but many people may find that they get better coverage, or at least coverage that gives them more for health care dollars than they spend outside of their employer. And I think we've got to facilitate that and let individuals make that choice to transition out of employer coverage.

[...]

OBAMA: And one thing that I think is important is to recognize that there are a lot of small employers who would like to get health care for their workers but they themselves can't afford it because they don't have access to large enough pools to allow them to save money. That's why I think it's going to be important for us in whatever system that we set up to make sure that in addition to the employer based system that we've got an alternative system that individuals who aren't getting it through the job can access. Now, I just have to repeat something I said earlier. And I'm absolutely convinced of this. The most important challenge for us is to build a political consensus around the need to solve this problem.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
The Drudge Report, Fox Nation
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