CNN's Jim Acosta Spotlights Criticism of ObamaCare - From the Left

Dr. David Scheiner doesn't think the president's health care plan will work, but not for the reasons you might think.

CNN's Jim Acosta devoted a three-minute segment to the Scheiner's left-wing criticism of the president's health care plan, but excluded any other voices, even after the doctor took a shot at the insurance industry.

"Chicago doctor David Scheiner has taken a hard look at Obama's prescription for health care reform and sees bad medicine," Acosta said before explaining why the doctor is "so special."

In fact, Scheiner was Obama's personal doctor for 22 years, but he blasted the president's plan for not going "far enough." Scheiner advocated a single-payer system like in Canada and Europe.

"If I had to say the single one thing that's the worst part of it is that private insurance companies continue to be a part of the health scheme. Everybody keeps saying we don't want the government getting involved in health care - the government is involved in health care and Medicare and it works!" Scheiner said.

In a balanced report, Scheiner's attack on private insurers would have been a followed by a statement or representative from the insurance industry. Acosta didn't produce one. Nor did he point out that since 1970, the cost of Medicare has risen 34 percent more per patient "than the combined costs of all health care in America apart from Medicare and Medicaid." He also didn't question Scheiner about the problems Medicare has created for patients when doctors decide to opt out of Medicare (because of lower reimbursements and "too much" hassle).

Scheiner also criticized the public option part of Obama's plan, warning that people don't know what it is and that if it is "too good" it will be unsustainable.

"We don't even know fully what the public option is going to be. If the public option is too good patients who are sick will flock to it and I'm not sure it will be able to support itself," Scheiner said.

Free market experts have criticized public option arguing that it would supplant private insurance altogether due to an uneven playing field. When Hawaii adopted a universal health care program for children called Keiki Care, "people who were already able to afford healthcare began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free," according to Dr. Kenny Fink.

The Heritage Foundation's Greg D'Angelo said that public plans "undercut" private insurers with lower premiums from lower reimbursements to care providers. He concluded, based on Lewin Group data, that 107.6 million people could lose private employer coverage under such a plan. That number is equal to one third of the entire U.S. population.

Acosta's one-sided health care piece, although critical of ObamaCare, continued the media theme of promoting government solutions for health care.

The Business & Media Institute found in its Special Report: UnCritical Condition that the networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, spent the first six months of 2009 promoting government-run health care and ignoring the failures of similar programs like Medicare, the Massachusetts "experiment" and Keiki Care.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.