GMA Salutes ‘Bold’ Health Care Plan from Democratic ‘War Horses’
Update: Related items listed at bottom of post.
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," Dr. Tim Johnson proved, yet again, that even ABC’s medical expert can spout liberal talking points. Johnson appeared on GMA to tout a universal health care plan by the "two old war horses," Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy and Democratic Congressman John Dingell. (ABC didn’t mention their party affiliation.)
Johnson described the plan as "bold" and "politically brilliant." Additionally, he rhapsodized about its liberal sponsors, saying that Dingell and Kennedy are "trying to do what I think is the right thing." GMA co-host Robin Roberts introduced Johnson by noting just how excited the medical expert was over the legislation:
Robin Roberts: "And, of course, health care a big issue out there on the campaign trail. So, imagine universal health care for everyone? That's what a bold new plan on Capitol Hill is proposing. It's the brain child of Senator Edward Kennedy and Representative John Dingell. And they say it would make universal health care for every American a reality within five years. So, can it work? For answers we're joined by ABC medical expert Dr. Tim Johnson. You’re very happy about this. You say it's bold and politically brilliant."
Dr. Tim Johnson: "It's bold, because it does propose to cover all Americans, including the 47 million now who are uninsured within five years. And I say it’s politically brilliant because one of the options they're offering is for people to choose from the federal employee plan, the menu of options that Congress gets every year. It's going to be very hard for Congress, I think, to say, ‘Well, we can have it but you can’t.’ So, I think that it’s a good strategy on their part."
Shortly thereafter, Roberts asked Johnson just how this universal health care plan would be financed. The ABC analyst began his explanation by noting that "the government finances both plans." Roberts didn’t press him as to where, exactly, the government gets it money from:
Roberts: "Many people, of course when they hear about this, they’re like, okay, Tim, cost. How do you pay for this?"
Johnson: "Well, as you know, the government finances both plans, but in this particular case, what they're talking about doing is shifting the way employers now pay for health care, directly to the insurers on behalf of their employees to a payroll tax for all businesses. And they've estimated that the current cost for the employers who do pay is about 13 percent of payroll. They say that if they spread it around all businesses, entire country, they can reduce that to about seven percent of the payroll tax. So for big companies, like the car companies who are now paying big amounts, it could mean a major reduction, according to the way they calculate it."
Rather than question Mr. Johnson, Roberts simply noted that the plan "sounds good." There were no queries as to what effect the payroll tax would have on businesses. Would it spur them to hire less? Will smaller companies be adversely effected?
Roberts didn’t ask. She simply wondered if the bill would pass. It was at this point that Dr. Johnson’s liberalism became most transparent. According to him, the legislation’s success is contingent on a Democrat’s election to the White House next year:
Johnson: "Well, there are going to be many proposals. This one certainly raises the bar. I love seeing these two old war horses out there trying to do what I think is the right thing. Maybe you disagree with the details of how they do it, but it will certainly raise the debate. And I think, if a Democrat president is elected, there is a good chance this or something like it, will pass, because the public is getting very nervous about health care. Businesses are getting very worried about health care. The present system is a mess."
Though ABC’s medical expert is often portrayed on GMA as a wise purveyor of medical wisdom, his liberalism has long been apparent.
In January of 1994 he advocated universal health care by citing people dying in the street:
"Everyone is applauding, I think, in the health care community, the emphasis on universal access, because they know that unless they're going to let some people just die in the streets, it makes sense to get medical care early, when it's going to be more effective and less costly....the insurance companies are the focal point for the dynamics of denial that are part of our present for-profit system."
-- ABC medical editor Dr. Tim Johnson, January 26 World News Tonight
And in July of that same year, he told then-First Lady Hillary Clinton that her plan for universal health care had his support:
So at least from the physicians represented here, you get a 100 percent vote, including mine, for universal coverage."
-- ABC reporter Dr. Tim Johnson to Hillary Clinton on Good Morning America, July 19.
Considering that "Good Morning America" has a left-wing weatherman and a liberal medical expert, perhaps viewers should soon expect film critic Joel Siegel to explain how movies are just somehow better with a Democrat in the White House.
Update/Related Items (Ken Shepherd | 16:25 EDT ):
ABC Double-Doses Attack on Private on Health Care (Business & Media Institute, Oct. 17, 2006)
ABC Medical Journalist Has a Fever (BMI, May 2, 2006)