ABC News Promotes Radical Expansion of Government Entitlement
Leading up to the June 29
A June 17 âABC World Newsâ story promoted a dramatic expansion of federal funding for the State Childrenâs Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
âChild advocates believe this problem could be fixed if the federal government shells out $50 billion over the next five years. But, that is 10 times what the Bush administration wants to spend,â said ABC correspondent Dan Harris, while an onscreen graph displayed the difference. âAnd while the politicians debate, kids and their parents are suffering.â
The unbalanced story relied on a liberal âchild advocateâ who is a longtime activist for more taxpayer-funded care, as well as several emotional stories about sick children. Viewers didnât get the whole story, as Harris misled the audience about how much money Americans already spend on SCHIP.
Harris compared the âchild advocatesââ $50 billion recommendation with $5 billion from the Bush administration. But that $5 billion is just the increase the Bush administration has proposed for SCHIP over the next five years.
Harrisâ 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 â which ABCâs Harris made a case for â would increase the program to $79 billion over the next five years.
The only opposition to this drastic increase was Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt. âThe question isnât should children be insured,â Leavitt said. âThey need to be insured. The question, âWhat is the vehicle?â Having the SCHIP program become the engine that pulls the train of government-run health care isnât the way to go about it.â
However, the report immediately countered Leavittâs statement with Ron Pollack, executive director of the liberal pro-government-health-care organization Families USA.
âTo say that is a government takeover of the health care system is a disgrace,â Pollack said, as a collage of children with emotive expressions rotated on the TV screen. âWhat this debate is about is to provide a safety net for children and families who simply canât afford coverage on their own.â However, Pollack didnât explain the total cost of such a âsafety netâ and who would finance it.
Casting the issue as a no-brainer, Harris included unfortunate examples of families whose children had health problems. He didnât include any experts who could have explained the impact on all taxpayersâ families if taxes were raised to pay for it.
He told the tale of one family âcutting out birthday presents and cutting back on groceries.â Adam and Diane Harrison of
This wasnât the first time Dan Harris has pushed for more taxpayer-funded health mandates. Earlier this month, he filed another story about