ABC's Stossel will reportedly moderate Americans for Prosperity health care events


ABC's John Stossel will reportedly moderate three "town hall-style" "health care meetings" organized by the Wisconsin chapter of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity and intended to increase "pressure" on the state's Democratic members of Congress on health care reform. Stossel has recently reported on health care issues on ABC's 20/20, which he co-anchors; that report included criticisms of the purported health care reform goals of President Obama and Democratic members of Congress.

Journal Sentinel: Stossel to moderate AFP events that are part of campaign to pressure Dem House members on health care

Wisconsin chapter of AFP reportedly holding town hall-style health care events to increase "pressure" on state's Democratic House members. "Trying to building pressure [sic] on Democratic members of Congress in Wisconsin, a conservative group will hold town hall-style meetings in late August on the health care reform bill in Congress. The Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity, which opposes the bill, is hosting the health care meetings in districts represented by Reps. Dave Obey (D-Wausau), Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison). ... The members of Congress will be invited to attend the sessions in their district." [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/14/2009]

Stossel reportedly will moderate AFP events. "ABC News 20/20 co-anchor John Stossel will moderate the sessions, which will feature speakers on both sides of the issue, according to AFP's state director, Mark Block." [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/14/2009]

AFP opposes health care reform, reportedly organized town hall disruptions

Through Patients First project, AFP organizing opposition to health care reform. The website of Patients First -- "the health care project of Americans for Prosperity" -- states: "If politicians and Washington bureaucrats get their way -- a government takeover of your health care -- then we will lose the freedom to choose our doctors, what type of care we want and the insurance plans we choose." The website features a petition "[p]atients like us" can sign urging lawmakers to "oppose any legislation that imposes greater government control over my health care that would mean fewer choices for me and my family and even deny treatments to those in need."

AFP reportedly conducting 13-state anti-health reform tour. "A 13-state tour aiming to rally patients to speak out against President Barack Obama's desired health-care overhaul is scheduled to kick off in Richmond this weekend. Americans for Prosperity's 'Patients First' bus tour will start Saturday at a Richmond-area Tea Party, before traveling around the country and through the states of key U.S. senators in the health-care debate, said Ben Marchi, state director of Americans for Prosperity. Organizers will urge constituents to call or visit their senators and sign a petition that asks members of Congress to 'oppose any legislation that imposes greater government control over my health care that would mean fewer choices for me and my family and even deny treatments to those in need.' " [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/23/09]

Group among those reportedly organizing town hall protests. "The protests, organized by loose-knit coalition of conservative voters and advocacy groups, were a raucous start to what is expected to be weeks of political and ideological clashes over the health care overhaul President Obama is trying to push through Congress. The conservative groups, including FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, are harnessing social networking Web sites to organize their supporters in much the same way Mr. Obama did during his election campaign." [The New York Times, 8/3/09] "[The Wisconsin chapter of AFP] was a force behind anti-tax 'tea party' rallies in the state this summer." [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/14/2009]

Stossel, an ABC news correspondent and commentator, recently purported to examine Obama, congressional health care goals

Stossel's ABC bio describes him as an "[a]ward-winning news correspondent." "Award-winning news correspondent John Stossel was named co-anchor of '20/20' in May 2003. He joined the highly acclaimed newsmagazine in 1981 and began doing one-hour primetime specials in 1994. In addition to longer in-depth reports for '20/20' on subjects ranging from addiction to parenting issues in his 'Family Fix' segments, Stossel is featured in a recurring segment entitled 'Give Me a Break.' These short commentaries take a skeptical look at a wide array of issues, from pop culture controversies to censorship and government regulations." [, accessed 8/17/09]

Recent Stossel 20/20 report conflated Canadian health care system with purported goals of Obama, congressional Democrats.

STOSSEL: Some in Congress say they're moving closer to a plan that will make health care cheaper and better. Sounds great. But when government takes charge, it can also mean innovation stops, and you may not get the breakthroughs and care that you need to save your life.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Affordable health care for every single American. That's what we're called upon to do.

STOSSEL: Care for everyone for less money. Critics say that just isn't possible.

SALLY PIPES (Pacific Research Institute president and CEO): The only way they can get costs down under a government-run system is to control the amount of money that is spent on health care. But there is much more of a demand for health care than the government is willing to pay for. And so, we will have long waits for care just like they do in Canada and in Great Britain. [ABC's 20/20, 7/31/2009 (transcript retrieved from Nexis)]

In fact, the White House has not proposed a government-run health care system, and Obama has explicitly rejected a Canadian-style or British-style health care system.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
John Stossel
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