The hosts of the increasingly superficial Good Morning America on Monday hyped the latest episode of Dancing With the Stars, the newest Justin Bieber movie and previewed Vince Vaughan's film, a combined ten minutes of air time. Yet, the journalists at GMA allowed no time for the news that the insurer United Health is dropping thousands of doctors from its plan as a result of ObamaCare.
The Wall Street Journal on Saturday first reported, "UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation's largest provider of privately managed Medicare Advantage plans, has dropped thousands of doctors from its networks in recent weeks." NBC's Today and CBS This Morning similarly ignored the story. Stuart Varney highlighted the loss of doctors on Fox Business. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
As quoted on NewsMax, the Journal noted:
"Medicare Advantage, an alternative to traditional Medicare, combines hospital and doctor coverage and often includes prescription drugs and perks like gym memberships," the Journal explained. "Enrollment has more than doubled since 2004 to 13 million in 2012, which represents about 27 percent of Americans on Medicare.
"The federal government pays private insurers a per-capita fee to manage the benefits. The rate is currently about 12 percent more than the average Medicare patient spends annually. The Obama administration plans to cut those extra payments to insurers by about $150 billion over the next 10 years to help pay" for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Speaking of ObamaCare, company President Austin Pittman explained, "That's what's driving our actions. It's no secret that we are under substantial funding pressure from the federal government."
On Monday, GMA journalists offered four minutes and 12 seconds to discuss every detail of the latest Dancing With the Stars episode. Co-host Robin Roberts spent five minutes and 12 seconds on actor Vince Vaughn. (Roberts asked such penetrating questions as "Fed Ex or UPS?") One minute and ten seconds were given to airing the trailer for Justin Bieber's new documentary.
On Sunday and Saturday, GMA actually covered ObamaCare as a serious problem for the President (but no mention of United Health). On Sunday, reporter Jeff Zeleny relayed the troubling information about the contractors the administration used:
JEFF ZELENY: Dan, it gets worse and worse for the Obama administration here. The lead contractor on this website, a company called CGI Federal, actually has top executives throughout its ranks who have been involved in a series of botched government projects. At that point, the company was called by a different name. But the Washington Post is reporting that these top executives played a key role in at least 20 other failed state and government projects here. So, this was a sign that key senators and senate investigators had warned the government about this company. So, Dan, this is just another sign here that once it gets fixed it's still a troubled, troubled system.
On Saturday, co-host Dan Harris spoke of the "colossal failure known as HealthCare.gov." However, Zeleny used odd language as he discussed White House attempts to "stop a Democratic betrayal" with members of his own party jumping ship. (Democratic betrayal? Wouldn't mutiny have been more neutral language?)
ABC's weekend coverage is commendable, but fewer Americans watching the morning show on Saturday and Sunday. It would be nice if GMA could continue the coverage into the work week