CBS's Hughes Once Again Lauds Liberal California Initiative

CBS’s Sandra Hughes was once again impressed with California’s liberal policy initiatives. On October 31, 2006, Hughes praised California for tackling liberal issues that ‘the federal government won’t touch," such as funding embryonic stem cell research and for enacting "the nation’s most restrictive law on greenhouse gas emissions. And on Wednesday’s "Early Show," in reference to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s health care initiative, Hughes continued to laud California for once again leading "where the federal government fears to tread."

Recently added "Early Show" news anchor Russ Mitchell introduced the piece calling Schwarzenegger’s health care idea a "bold plan." Hughes’ report tried to gain support for the plan by featuring an uninsured man who suffers from diabetes, who claimed that there are a lot of uninsured people in his community, and manyof them are single mothers. Yet, Ms. Hughes neglected to mention that Schwarzenegger’s plan would cover illegal aliens as well as legal California residents. Wouldn’t this type of benefit encourage more illegal immigration, and shouldn’t it, therefore, be explored?

Hughes’ also featured the CEO of a health clinic who shared Ms. Hughes opinion that California is a national trend setter:

Elizabeth Forer, CEO, Venice Family Clinic: "California is really a state that functions more like a country. And if we can make it work here, then maybe this whole idea will go national."

However, Ms. Hughes did, somewhat, present the business side of the argument by airing comments from a small business woman who noted that the increased costs could force some small businesses to either leave California or close.

But the impact on small businesses raises the question, is this an area where "the federal government fears to tread?" Or could it be the federal government realizes that the negative impact a plan such as this could have on small businesses would prove to be to great a cost to risk?

The transcript of Ms. Hughes' piece follows:

Russ Mitchell: "And California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is working on a bold plan for everyone in his state to get health insurance. As CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes tells us, the plan could be a role model for the rest of the country."

Sandra Hughes: "If the devil's in the details, then California's governor is going to spend a lot of time on the hot seat selling his new massive health care package, like he did last night at his State of the State Address."

Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Governor: "The ultimate answer will come from the principle of shared responsibility."

Sandra Hughes: "The governor's proposed $12 billion health care overhaul would require everyone in the state to buy insurance. If you can't afford it, the state will help you buy it. Help is what Gilbert Solis could use, suffering from Diabetes he relies on a free clinic. He's one of the 6.5 million Californians who is now uninsured."

Gilbert Solis, Uninsured Californian: "There's a lot of people that live around here that don't have health insurance, especially single mothers."

Sandra Hughes: "The governor's shared responsibility idea will force administrative cuts on insurance companies and prohibit them from cherry-picking healthy customers. Doctors and hospitals will pay into a state insurance fund, and small businesses with ten or more employees must offer health insurance. Connie Nijst owns a small advertising agency and fears California may see a mass exodus of businesses."

Connie Nijst, California Small Business Owner: "In some cases it's about the very viability of a company and whether or not they're able to stay in business."

Sandra Hughes: "Love it or hate it, California's health care plan is a maverick. And once again, the state leads where the federal government fears to tread."

Elizabeth Forer, CEO, Venice Family Clinic: "California is really a state that functions more like a country. And if we can make it work here, then maybe this whole idea will go national."

Sandra Hughes: "But first the governor has to sell the idea at home. Sandra Hughes, CBS News, Los Angeles."