CBS ‘Early Show’ Promotes Nationalized Health Care

Harry Smith and Kathleen Sebelius, CBS On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith repeated liberal talking points while asking Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about President Obama’s plan to nationalize the health care system: "People get worried when the idea of somebody messing with their health care comes along, but the fact is, is we spend trillions of dollars on health care every year, and if anything is helping or contributing to killing the economy, it's that cost. Why is it so important that this be dealt with?"

Sebelius easily hit that softball: "It isn't about cutting services. It's about doing smarter, more efficient, better medicine for the American people. Too many Americans now come through the doors of an emergency room. Most expensive, least effective care...And frankly, there's a lot more efficiency we can gain in terms of lowering drug costs, lowering costs across the board without cutting services."

Smith concluded the interview by wishing Sebelius "good luck" on implementing the massive government expansion.

Prior to Smith’s interview, correspondent Bill Plante reported on the health care industry cutting costs as a first step toward Obama’s plan: "If the providers stick to their word, it will reduce the nation's health care bill by $2 trillion over ten years. And save the average family of four $2,500 a year. Currently, Americans spend about $2.4 trillion annually on health care, or about $7,800 per person...Since 1999, employment-based health insurance premiums have increased 120%. Employees are now paying $1,600 more for family insurance premiums annually than they did ten years ago."

The figures cited by Plante came from The Kaiser Family Foundation, a group pushing for a nationalized health care system. The foundation website explains: "The percentage of Americans believing that health reform will benefit them needs to go up and cannot go down if there is to be a public environment conducive to a comprehensive reform effort." Plante concluded his report: "And as the costs continue to increase, the pressure for reform will only be greater."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:13AM TEASE:

JULIE CHEN: Up next, a major move towards overhauling health care. We're going to ask the secretary of Health and Human Services what it means for you and your wallet.

7:16AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: President Obama is praising the cost-cutting plan announced Monday by the health care industry. But even if the savings are realized, the U.S. will still spend more on health care than any other country. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante explains.

BILL PLANTE: The President, flanked by former opponents of health care reform, called the industry's promise remarkable.

BARACK OBAMA: But what's brought us all together today is a recognition that we can't continue down the same dangerous road we've been traveling for so many years.

PLANTE: If the providers stick to their word, it will reduce the nation's health care bill by $2 trillion over ten years. And save the average family of four $2500 a year. Currently, Americans spend about $2.4 trillion annually on health care, or about $7,800 per person.

MARK MCCLELLAN [BROOKINGS INSTITUTION]: There is a lot of momentum around health care reform this year because health care costs have gotten to be such a challenge for so many Americans.

PLANTE: Since 1999, employment-based health insurance premiums have increased 120%. Employees are now paying $1,600 more for family insurance premiums annually than they did ten years ago. And as the costs continue to increase, the pressure for reform will only be greater. Bill Plante, CBS News, the White House.

SMITH: Joining us from Washington D.C., is Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. Madam Secretary, good morning.

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: Good morning, Harry. Nice to be with you.

SMITH: So the health care industry comes to Washington and promises a couple of trillion dollars worth of savings over a decade-long period. Is this a kind of preventive medicine? Is this a way for them to say, 'if we give you this now, we hope you'll keep your hands off us when the real surgery starts'?

SEBELIUS: I really think it was a remarkably generous offer and meeting yesterday. First of all, a lot of the leaders of the health care industry would not have been in the room in the early '90s. They were actually running television ads fighting health reform. And now they're at the table, committing to this president that they want to be part of the solution. And frankly, they have a lot of the tools in the system that can begin to cut the crushing costs on businesses and families that are really unsustainable and unacceptable. I was there representing the largest health agency in government, committing, as the President's budget has already proposed, that we will do our share in terms of reducing the increase in costs. So yesterday's meeting, I think, was a breakthrough moment.

SMITH: People get worried when the idea of somebody messing with their health care comes along, but the fact is, is we spend trillions of dollars on health care every year, and if anything is helping or contributing to killing the economy, it's that cost. Why is it so important that this be dealt with?

SEBELIUS: That's right. Well, again, I think it's important that when America -- the American public hears cutting costs. It isn't about cutting services. It's about doing smarter, more efficient, better medicine for the American people. Too many Americans now come through the doors of an emergency room. Most expensive, least effective care. So bringing them into a system with a home health, making sure that we're actually coordinating care of our chronically ill patients so that they're not getting 15 different recommendations helps. And frankly, there's a lot more efficiency we can gain in terms of lowering drug costs, lowering costs across the board without cutting services.

SMITH: Alright, Secretary Sebelius, thank you for your time this morning. Take care.

SEBELIUS: Thank you.

SMITH: And good luck.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC