Media Prescribe Radical Expansion of Health Care

Last night, ABC “World News” sounded a $50 billion call to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).The June 17 program gave the common media prescription: more money, more government.

“Child advocate believe this problem [uninsured children] could be fixed is the federal government shells out $50 billion over the next five years. But, that is 10 times what the Bush administration wants to spend,” said ABC’s Dan Harris.“And while the politicians debate, kids and their parents are suffering,” he added.

But viewers didn’t get the whole story, because Harris misled the audience about how much is already being spend on SCHIP and relied on liberal pro-government experts.Harris’ misleading report left out the fact that the Bush administration is advocating spending $34 billion total over the next five years on the government program. The $50-billion expansion passed in the Senate and by a House subcommittee – which ABC’s Harris made a case for – would increase the program to $79 billion over the next five years.He also quoted Ron Pollack of Families USA, a long-time advocate of government-run health care.Casting the issue as a no-brainer, Harris included unfortunate examples of families whose children had health problems. He didn’t include any experts who could have explained the impact on all taxpayers’ families if taxes were raised to pay for it.He told the tale of one family “cutting out birthday presents and cutting back on groceries.” Adam and Diane Harrison of Dalton, Ga., have a 15-month old son who needs an operation. The family couldn’t afford to buy him insurance, and they made too much money to be covered under Medicaid. Adam is disabled and collects Social Security. So Diane, who works at Wal-Mart, decided to cut her work down from 24 to only 12 hours a week so they can qualify for Medicaid.This wasn’t the first time Dan Harris has pushed for more taxpayer-funded health mandates. Earlier this month, he filed another story about America’s “crisis of care” that also featured Families USA director Pollack. Only one opponent of a $50 billion increase was quoted in Harris’ report.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.