CBS, of all news outlets, is setting a high standard for ABC to meet Wednesday in its broadcasts from the White House. On Tuesday night, just a week after a “Reality Check” on how President Obama's claim that his government-expansion health care plan won't hike the deficit doesn't match reality, the CBS Evening News aired a story on how his plan would likely force many to lose their current health insurance and/or doctor.
Katie Couric noted “72 percent of Americans say they favor a government plan that would compete with private insurers,” but “at the same time, nearly two-thirds are concerned that would reduce the quality of their own health care. And some experts believe they're right to be worried.”
Sharyl Attkisson featured the Cato Institute's Michael Cannon, who explained: “Employer premiums will go up and employers might respond by dropping coverage entirely. So if you're one of those unfortunate workers, then it will be a government policy that ousted you from your health plan.” Attkisson added: “And if you do choose a public plan, you may want to keep your favorite doctors, but they may not want to keep you. Under government health care, they could be paid 20 to 30 percent less.” Attkisson pointed out how “Obama also scoffed at claims that a public plan would put private insurers out of business,” but she countered: “The answer, say critics, is that the government has many tools to get an unfair advantage and undercut private companies.”
(On ABC's World News, Jake Tapper highlighted how, in answering a press conference queston from Tapper, Obama had “backed off” the promise he made that people won't have to change plans, citing “the President conceding that companies may change their employees' health care plans because of circumstances the government creates.”)
My June 16 NewsBusters item, “CBS Airs 'Reality Check' on Obama's False Claim Health Plan 'Deficit Neutral,'” recounted:
Reality catches up with CBS News which on Tuesday night ran a “Reality Check” story on how a new CBO report shows President Obama's claim that his government-expansion health care plan won't hike the deficit doesn't match reality. So, will ABC News display similar skepticism when it broadcasts GMA and World News from the White House next Wednesday, culminating in a prime time hour, “Questions for the President: Prescription for America”? (ABC's Jake Tapper on Monday night briefly cited the CBO report, but ABC and NBC were silent on Tuesday evening.)
Fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor announced “there are growing concerns that President Obama lacks a realistic plan to pay for this sweeping reform.” Reporter Wyatt Andrews related “how the nation really pays for health reform just got a shocking wake-up call. The Congressional Budget Office, CBO, said Senator Ted Kennedy's health care proposal could cost one trillion dollars over ten years, and 36 million Americans would still be uninsured.” Andrews proceeded to note how Obama “claims he can achieve reform without raising the deficit,” but, he asserted, “the fact is, this means raising taxes.” Andrews also pointed out that Obama's “more than $600 billion worth of spending cuts” to Medicare and other programs don't comport with inevitable resistance from hospitals.
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the story on the Tuesday, June 23 CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: As Chip Reid reported earlier, the President put in a plug for health care reform during his news conference today. He wants it to include a public insurance plan, something Republicans are decrying in a new ad released today.
CLIP OF AD: Republicans also believe another government takeover would diminish health care choice and quality. President Obama-
COURIC: Meanwhile, in a CBS News/New York Times poll, 72 percent of Americans say they favor a government plan that would compete with private insurers. But at the same time, nearly two-thirds [63%] are concerned that would reduce the quality of their own health care. And some experts believe they're right to be worried. Here's Sharyl Attkisson.
SHARYL ATTKISSON: Today the President again insisted that his health care reform won't force you to switch plans or doctors.
BARACK OBAMA: What I'm saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform.
ATTKISSON: That's technically correct, but what the President didn't say is that reform could lead your boss to change your health care plan. Here's how: 160 million people are insured through work. Their employer actually picks up most of the cost. Under the President's plan, Americans would be required to carry a certain level of coverage. That means many people would have to increase their insurance.
MICHAEL CANNON, CATO INSTITUTE DIRECTOR OF HEALTH POLICY STUDIES: Employer premiums will go up and employers might respond by dropping coverage entirely. So if you're one of those unfortunate workers, then it will be a government policy that ousted you from your health plan.
ATTKISSON: And if you do choose a public plan, you may want to keep your favorite doctors, but they may not want to keep you. Under government health care, they could be paid 20 to 30 percent less. Today Mr. Obama also scoffed at claims that a public plan would put private insurers out of business.
OBAMA: If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care, if they tell us that they're offering a good deal, then why is it that the government – which they say can't run anything – suddenly is going to drive them out of business?
ATTKISSON: The answer, say critics, is that the government has many tools to get an unfair advantage and undercut private companies.
CANNON: The government can subsidize its plan with tax revenue from other taxpayers. The government can enact regulations that favor its plan over other private insurers.
ATTKISSON: In the end, the President argues it's riskier to do nothing because rising health care costs have put employers on the brink of raising premiums or dropping health insurance entirely. Sharyl Attkisson, CBS News, Washington.