AP Health Care Article Misses Mark

Any article seeking to gin up support for universal health care would have to rely on skewed numbers and sins of omission. Sure enough, “Health Care Proposal is Not Yet Final” by Philip Elliott of the Associated Press fit the bill.

In the article, featured on Time Magazine’s website on July 20, Elliott wrote, “The United States is the only developed nation that does not have a comprehensive national health care plan for all its citizens, and Obama campaigned on a promise to offer affordable health care to all Americans.”

What Elliott did not say is that the United States is the only developed nation that does not have the problems of a comprehensive national health care plan.

CNSNews reported about Britain’s health care system, “In a turnaround from just a year ago, when the NHS reported it was on track for a 2008 budget surplus, the government-run health service now faces a $24 billion dollar deficit for 5 years, beginning in 2011. That number would represent a record shortfall for the 50-year-old institution.”

CNS also cited reporting from Elliott’s own employer that he should have factored in: “According to the Associated Press, the national health provider’s newfound shortfall could “force the government to skimp on dentistry, fertility treatments, and cutting-edge drugs.”

Elliott also exaggerated the number of uninsured Americans. “About 50 million of America's 300 million people are without health insurance.” Not exactly – of the 45,657,000 people that are actually uninsured, almost 10 million of them aren’t even American citizens, and 17 million earn more than $50,000 a year but choose not to purchase health insurance.

Elliott doubled down on his exaggeration by citing Senator Edward Kennedy’s recent Newsweek essay: “Unless we act now, within a few years, 55 million Americans could be left without coverage even as the economy recovers.”

To Elliott, the Republicans who oppose nationalized health care, “paint Obama's proposals as a massive tax that would leave small businesses wounded, employers shifting away from private plans toward a government-based system, and workers without coverage.”

Some Republican lawmakers are also worried about universal health care funding abortions. But instead of detailing their concerns, Elliott quoted Senator Judd Greg, a “key Republican” who said, “I would hate to see the health care debate go down over that issue ... Hopefully we won't get ourselves wrapped around the wheel of abortion in this debate.”

Elliott did discuss the enormous cost of universal health care. He even allowed that, “It won't come cheap. That means increased taxes and political opposition.” But without detailing what exactly those increased taxes would buy, Elliott left out the most important part of the story.