CBS Hails ObamaCare; Calls French Health Care 'Best in the World'
On CBS's Sunday Morning correspondent Martha Teichner touted President Obama's latest PR blitz to promote health care reform: "For the third time in five days, Barack Obama used the presidential bully pulpit on behalf of what he's now calling health insurance reform. No more letting the angry opposition control the agenda."
Teichner dismissed that "angry opposition" by declaring: "Here's a question. Do they even know what's in the bills currently being considered by Congress? Do you?" Teichner and two liberal supporters of the Obama health care plan proceeded to educate viewers as to what was being proposed.
She spoke with former head of the left-wing group People for the American Way, Ralph Neas, now CEO of the supposedly "non-partisan" National Coalition on Health Care that is pushing for reform. In addition, Teichner spoke with University of North Carolina Professor Jonathan Oberlander, who in a July 22 article for the liberal British newspaper The Guardian wrote: "The Obama administration is pushing Congress to enact health reform legislation this year. And against all odds, Obama may pull it off....Obama's election, after all, is a reminder that history is not always repeated. Sometimes it is made."
During the Sunday Morning segment, Neas argued: "The United States spends twice as much as the average of all the industrialized countries in the world. One half of all the foreclosures, one half of all the bankruptcies, are because people can't pay their medical bills and it's because of the broken system that we have."
After Teichner highlighted Sarah Palin's claim that the Obama health care plan would lead to "death panels" in an effort to ration care, Oberland claimed: "You would have a greater chance of being killed by a Death Star in one of the Star Wars movies than you would being killed by a government-run death panel, which is to say they don't exist." He went on to argue that the health care plan "is absolutely good for seniors."
Teichner concluded her report: "'A contest between hope and fear,' he called the fight for health care reform. At week's end, with the decibel level still rising, Barack Obama's battle cry had the unmistakable sound of his presidential campaign."
Following Teichner, correspondent Sharyl Attkisson spoke with left-wing advocate of health care reform, Brown University Professor James Morone, who observed: "It certainly does seem like Groundhog Day through the years, because the problems with the health system are so acute that every time we fight this out, even when we blow it, even when it goes away, it's back again. It's like Winston Churchill says, 'count on Americans to do the right thing after they've exhausted all other possibilities.'"
Not being content with cheerleading for ObamaCare at the top of the show, Sunday Morning host Charles Osgood later introduced another segment on the issue, this time looking overseas for inspiration: "Ahead, when in France. David Turecamo examines what may be the best health care system in the world.....most Americans want change, many also say they definitely don't want a European-style system. But how many of us know just what that means?"
Correspondent David Turecamo proceeded to praise the French health care system:
See, 65% is covered by the national health system. The rest is picked up by private insurance, which is available to everyone at a nominal cost....French doctors make a lot less than their American counterparts - roughly fifty to a hundred thousand dollars a year. That's because the French government, not the doctors or pharmaceutical companies, no, the French government sets the prices for everything, prices they feel are reasonable. Now critics argue that's socialized medicine, but other doctors say it's what we call managed care....Sound good? Well, eight years ago, the World Health Organization released a study ranking France as having the best health care system in the world.
Turecamo did go on to admit: "Well even the French tend to roll their eyes when they hear that and the study itself has been criticized for its methodology." However he quickly followed up by claiming: "...it's not just the quality of health care this country offers, it's the fact that it's offered to everyone. Every man, woman, and child who is a legal resident in France is covered by national health care. It's a comprehensive system that's innovative as well."
Turecamo concluded his report by noting: "So is their system really better than ours, the best in the world? Well the only thing I can say definitively is in France at least you can go to the hospital without going broke."
Here is a full transcript of Teichner's report:
MARTHA TEICHNER: Yesterday, the location was Grand Junction, Colorado.
BARACK OBAMA: These struggles have always boiled down to a contest between hope and fear. It was true when social security was born, it was true when Medicare was created, it's true in today's debate.
TEICHNER: For the third time in five days, Barack Obama used the presidential bully pulpit on behalf of what he's now calling health insurance reform. No more letting the angry opposition control the agenda.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN B: They're Marxist. They're socialist.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN B: Pure government takeover. I am definitely-
TEICHNER: Here's a question. Do they even know what's in the bills currently being considered by Congress? Do you?
OBAMA: For all of the chatter and the yelling and the shouting and the noise, what you need to know is this. If you don't have health insurance, you will finally have quality affordable options once we pass reform.
TEICHNER: Right now, though, reform is a moving target, still changing. There is no such thing as an Obama bill. The President presented a wish list to Congress, where five different committees - three in the House and two in the Senate - are in various stages of drafting bills with some big differences, but a lot of similarities.
RALPH NEAS: All agree that all Americans should be covered. They all agree that you cannot be denied coverage because of a preexisting condition.
TEICHNER: Ralph Neas is CEO of the National Coalition on Health Care, a nonpartisan alliance of groups working for health care reform.
NEAS: They all agree that if you leave a job, you don't lose health care coverage. They all agree if you have health care coverage you can't be denied it once you get sick.
JONATHAN OBERLANDER: And they would mandate that all but the smallest employers would have to provide insurance to their workers.
TEICHNER: Jonathan Oberlander teaches health policy and management at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
JONATHAN OBERLANDER: The second thing that they would do is create a new marketplace where the uninsured and small businesses could go to get insurance. It would be called a health insurance exchange and if you didn't have insurance from your employer, you would get subsidies from the government and you would go to this exchange and you could choose what insurance plan you would have.
TEICHNER: And each of the proposals would expand Medicaid. Where there's disagreement is over how all of this would be paid for, and over the so-called 'public option,' a government-run health care plan that would be available alongside private plans.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN C: Nobody tells me how to live my life.
TEICHNER: The public option is by no means a done deal.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN D: I don't want this country turning into Russia, turning into a socialized country.
TEICHNER: But tell that to the people doing all the yelling at town hall meetings last week.
ARLEN SPECTER: We are not moving to socialism.
NEAS: The reason they oppose the public option is they think it's a stalking horse. They think the real plan of President Obama, or those who want health care reform, is to have single-payer, totally government-run health care reform. It will fail if people think it is tilted to kill the private insurance industry.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN C: We don't need Obama or his crew to tell us how to die.
TEICHNER: And now to address some of health care reform's hottest hot-button issues, such as the reference to a 'death panel' on Sarah Palin's Facebook page.
OBERLANDER: You would have a greater chance of being killed by a Death Star in one of the Star Wars movies than you would being killed by a government-run death panel, which is to say they don't exist.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN E: What is your position on taxpayer-funded abortion?
TEICHNER: Hot-button issue number two: abortion.
NEAS: To the contrary, there is language in the House Energy and Commerce bill that says federal monies cannot be used for abortions.
[EXCERPT FROM TV AD]
UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: For seniors, this will mean long waits for care, cuts to MRIs, CAT Scans-
TEICHNER: And those television ads aimed at the elderly-
ANNOUNCER: Seniors may lose their own doctors.
OBERLANDER: That is absolutely false. In fact, the opposite is true. This legislation is absolutely good for seniors.
NEAS: The United States spends twice as much as the average of all the industrialized countries in the world. One half of all the foreclosures, one half of all the bankruptcies, are because people can't pay their medical bills and it's because of the broken system that we have.
TEICHNER: The American public agrees.
SARAH DUTTON: Our most recent poll found that more than eight out of ten Americans think the U.S. health care system either needs fundamental changes or needs to be completely rebuilt. Even seventy percent of Republicans feel that way.
TEICHNER: Sarah Dutton is head of surveys for CBS News. An end of July poll showed two-thirds of Americans supporting some sort of public option, although fewer Republicans than Democrats. Where Americans are most ambivalent is over the cost of health care reform.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN D: We can't spend any more money. We've got to stop.
TEICHNER: Hot-button number three.
RANDY RATHIE: You can't tell us how you're going to pay for this.
OBAMA: You are absolutely right that I can't cover another 46 million people for free. Two-thirds of the money we can obtain just from eliminating waste and inefficiencies.
TEICHNER: But the Congressional Budget Office has put a trillion-dollar price tag on health care reform over the next ten years and calculates it will add $239 billion to the federal deficit. And what happens if health care reform fails?
OBERLANDER: The Urban Institute estimates that as many as sixty-six million Americans could be without health insurance in 2019.
NEAS: That's why the Congress and the President takes this so seriously. There is now, every year, $2.5 trillion spent on health care. This 2.5 trillion will soon be 3.5 trillion, $5 trillion. Our economy cannot sustain it now.
OBAMA: For all the scare tactics out there, what's truly scary is if we don't do anything.
TEICHNER: 'A contest between hope and fear,' he called the fight for health care reform. At week's end, with the decibel level still rising, Barack Obama's battle cry had the unmistakable sound of his presidential campaign.
OBAMA: I need your help. I need you to stand for hope. I need you to knock on doors. I need you to spread the word, because we are going to get this done this year. Thank you, Grand Junction. Thank you.
-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.