LA Times Hails Big Biz Push for Healthcare Mandates, Skates Around Selfish Motives

A May 7 article by Los Angeles Times reporter Jordan Rau tiptoed around selfish motivations that a big business coalition may have for pushing more government involvement in healthcare. Indeed, Rau presented the political manuever as a break from business reticence to "healthcare reform."

What's more, nowhere in his article did the Times reporter label the government mandate-heavy plan a "liberal" policy nor did he seek experts to quantify the direct cost to taxpayers nor the indirect cost to consumers (in increased prices for goods and services).

"Abandoning the business lobby's traditional resistance to healthcare reform, a new coalition of 36 major companies plans to launch a political campaign today calling for medical insurance to be expanded to everyone along lines Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing for California," Rau began his article, referring to a coalition led by Safeway grocery chain chairman Steve Burd.

While Rau did note that the coalition is comprised of "insurers and drug firms that would benefit from mandated health insurance" as well "some of the nation's largest companies," it wasn't until the 21st paragraph (out of the 31-paragraph article) that he brought in small business advocate Scott Hauge who suggested that larger companies might be gaming the proposed regulations to harm smaller competitors.

"When you get Safeway going out saying it should be more, they're chopping our knees off," Hauge told the Los Angeles Times, complaining that Burd has criticized Gov. Schwarzenegger for planning to mandate only 4% of business payroll be earmarked for health care costs.

In response, Rau brought Burd back in for a rebuttal, wherein the grocery chain executive declared healthcare an "emergency" that needs to be addressed by government action. Rau failed to ask Burd if Safeway would have an upper hand in wading through fresh red tape as compared to smaller chain stores and independent grocers.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters