CBS Plays Up ObamaCare 'Success', Omits Group's Liberal Leanings

CBS Evening News on Wednesday hyped the "early success" of a provision of ObamaCare which allows young adults under the age of 26 to stay on their parents' health care. Correspondent Wyatt Andrews spotlighted a young woman afflicted with Crohn's disease as an example of this apparent success, all the while failing to mention the liberal agenda of a "patient rights advocate" featured in his report.

The first part of Andrews's report played as a human interest story, focusing on Caryn Powers, "one of those young adults who already benefits from the health care reform act." The journalist highlighted that "Caryn's medicine alone costs more than $3,000 a month. If she could not stay on her parents' health insurance, she says, she'd be bankrupt and unable to work as a nurse."

Ron Pollack, Families USA; Screen Cap From the 14 December 2011 Edition of CBS Evening News | NewsBusters.orgAfter playing two sound bites from Powers, Andrews continued that "the administration says 2.5 million young adults now have insurance, thanks to their parents and to health care reform. Patient rights advocates, like Ron Pollack of the non-profit group Families USA, call this an accomplishment, because young adults 19 to 25 are the most likely not to have health insurance." The CBS reporter, like his colleague Susan Koeppen back in July 2011, omitted how Pollack's organization actively supports ObamaCare. An August 2010 report by Ben Smith of Politico noted that FamilesUSA was "one of the central groups in the push" for the passage of the legislation.

Later, Andrews did mention that "the young adult provision is not free. Last year, the administration itself projected that this one benefit alone could increase group insurance premiums nationwide by up to 1.2 percent." He also played a clip from Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney voicing his opposition to ObamaCare. But he ended the segment by stating that "the announcement of this early success was, in part, a political answer to the Republicans, that the more people come to depend on health care reform...the tougher it will be to repeal it."

The transcript of Wyatt Andrews's report from Wednesday's CBS Evening News, which aired 39 minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour:

SCOTT PELLEY: One thing both [Mitt] Romney and [Newt] Gingrich agree on is their desire to repeal President Obama's health care reform law. Much of it hasn't taken effect yet, but one significant part has started- that part that allows young people to stay on their parents' health insurance until they're 26 years old.

We wondered whether it's working, and we asked Wyatt Andrews to find out.

Wyatt Andrews, CBS News Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgWYATT ANDREWS (voice-over): Caryn Powers is one of those young adults who already benefits from the health care reform act. At 24 years old, she has Crohn's disease, an immune disorder that attacks the stomach and intestines.

CARYN POWERS: It's like having the stomach flu, but it's 100 times worse.

ANDREWS: Caryn's medicine alone costs more than $3,000 a month. If she could not stay on her parents' health insurance, she says, she'd be bankrupt and unable to work as a nurse.

POWERS: If I had to go off my parents' policy, I would not be able to have the medications that I need, the treatment that I need. I'd be unable to go to the doctor's. I would be very, very sick.

ANDREWS: The administration says 2.5 million young adults now have insurance, thanks to their parents and to health care reform. Patient rights advocates, like Ron Pollack of the non-profit group Families USA, call this an accomplishment, because young adults 19 to 25 are the most likely not to have health insurance.


RON POLLACK, FAMILIES USA: This is a benefit for those people who are struggling to find a job or who are in an entry-level job, and they can't pay for health insurance. And now, they have the ability to stay on their parents' policy til their 26th birthday.

ANDREWS: But as life-saving as this was for Caryn, the young adult provision is not free. Last year, the administration itself projected that this one benefit alone could increase group insurance premiums nationwide by up to 1.2 percent. High-cost projections are precisely why Republican candidates, like Mitt Romney, say ending the health care act is the first thing they will do.

MITT ROMNEY, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And if I'm president, on day one, I will take action to stop ObamaCare in its tracks, and I will get it repealed. (audience applauds)

ANDREWS (on-camera): So the announcement of this early success was, in part, a political answer to the Republicans, that the more people come to depend on health care reform, Scott, the tougher it will be to repeal it.

PELLEY: Wyatt, thanks very much.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center