CNN's Gupta -- Once a Candidate for Obama's Surgeon General -- Trumpets Benefits of ObamaCare

CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta boosted ObamaCare on Friday morning's Starting Point without disclosing that he was once a candidate to be President Obama's Surgeon General, and thus the megaphone for ObamaCare.

"Since President Obama's health care law was enacted, 3.1 million people under the age of 26 are now covered by their parents' plans and preventive care is covered 100 percent by insurance companies. Seniors, in particular, have benefitted on prescription drugs," Gupta trumpeted at the start of his report on the health care plans of the presidential candidates.

"Five-and-a-half million seniors have saved a total of nearly four-and-a-half billion dollars on prescription drugs since the law was enacted, according to the Health and Human Services Department," Gupta continued, spouting the Obama administration's own numbers.

Back in June, as on Friday, Gupta offered no disclosure of his past candidacy for Obama's Surgeon General as he warned of rising health care costs if the health care law's individual mandate was overturned by the Supreme Court. 

Gupta was more tempered towards Mitt Romney's health care plan on Friday, after he promoted the alleged successes of Obama's health care policy. "He [Romney] wants ObamaCare gone, including the prescription drug benefit for seniors. But he does want to keep one of the most popular pieces of ObamaCare, although he doesn't say exactly how his plan would work," reported Gupta.

A transcript of Gupta's report, which aired on Starting Point on September 28 at 7:52 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

(Video Clip)

Dr. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN chief medical correspondent (voice-over): Since President Obama's health care law was enacted, 3.1 million people under the age of 26 are now covered by their parents' plans and preventive care is covered 100 percent by insurance companies. Seniors, in particular, have benefitted on prescription drugs.

BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States: Seniors who fall in the coverage gap known as the donut hole will start getting some help. They'll receive $250 to help pay for prescriptions and that will, over time, fill in the donut hole.

GUPTA: Five-and-a-half million seniors have saved a total of nearly four-and-a-half  billion dollars on prescription drugs since the law was enacted, according to the Health and Human Services Department. He also plans to slow spending on Medicare.

OBAMA: I have strengthened Medicare. We've added years to the life of Medicare. We did it by getting rid of taxpayer subsidies to insurance companies that weren't making people healthier.

GUPTA: By 2014, the law requires everyone to have health insurance, whether they purchase it themselves or through their employers. And insurers can't deny you if you have a pre-existing condition or increase your rates. The law has become a cornerstone of the Obama campaign.

OBAMA: I refuse to eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor and elderly or disabled all so those with the most can pay less.

GUPTA: But Romney says the Affordable Care Act is unaffordable.

MITT ROMNEY, Republican presidential nominee: We know that health care is too expensive. Obamacare doesn't make it less expensive.

GUPTA: He wants ObamaCare gone, including the prescription drug benefit for seniors. But he does want to keep one of the most popular pieces of ObamaCare, although he doesn't say exactly how his plan would work.

ROMNEY: We have to make sure that people who have pre-existing conditions are able to get insured and that folks that get sick don't get dropped by their insurance company.

GUPTA: Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, propose to cap malpractice insurance, cut Medicaid by $810 billion over the next 10 years, give states more control over their Medicaid funds, overhaul Medicare.

The overhaul, people now younger than 55, when they reach retirement, would have the option of getting a voucher to purchase private insurance or they could stick with traditional Medicare.

Rep. PAUL RYAN, (R-Wisc.), GOP vice presidential nominee: This financial support system is designed to guarantee that seniors can always afford Medicare coverage, no exceptions.

(End Video Clip)

GUPTA: I tell you, Soledad, we don't talk about Medicaid as much as you know. But a big part of ObamaCare is to expand Medicaid, give the states the option to expand the federal poverty level at which people can qualify for it. But it costs money, for the federal government and for the state government.

The Romney plan – and we've been dissecting this for a bit of time now – really turns Medicaid (Inaudible) into a block grant program for the states, let the states decide. But ultimately, there's less federal dollars going into the program, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right, so then since seniors are a large portion of the recipients of Medicaid, what happens to them? How are they affected?

GUPTA: Well, you know, it's interesting because I think as a physician I've been looking into this somewhat. People, they think of Medicare for seniors and Medicaid for people who are either impoverished or have disabilities. But there are about 6 million seniors who actually get Medicaid as well; they are called "dually eligible". But I think the area where it impacts them the most is probably in long term and nursing home care.

Because Medicare covers a lot of things. But one of the things where it falls a little bit shorter is in that nursing home care. So if you're a senior who falls within that poverty guideline and you need nursing home care, Medicaid often has been where that source of money has come from. I think those people are probably going to be affected the most here.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014