Medicare Plan Doesn't Spend Enough; Clinton's Killer Fundraiser
>>> "What If Clinton Knew of Espionage in '95? A Suddenly Irrelevant Question: What Did the President Know and When Did He Know It?" In this latest Media Reality Check fax report the MRC's Tim Graham reviewed how the networks have shown no interest in pursuing Clinton's changing story line and evidence he and his aides knew about espionage earlier than they admit. MRC Webmaster Sean Henry has posted the fax report. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990630.html  <<<
President Clinton's Medicare spending plan topped the ABC, CBS, CNN, FNC and NBC evening shows Monday night, but only CBS and FNC stressed how he is proposing, as FNC's Wendell Goler put it, "the largest ever expansion of the nation's second largest entitlement program." No network raised the cost to taxpayers or considered whether it would be fairer to return some of the surplus to those who created it: taxpayers.
Instead, ABC, CNN and NBC all focused on beneficiaries. NBC's Lisa Myers talked to a pharmacist who she said "sees a serious, perhaps deadly toll on elderly customers" who now can't afford drugs. ABC's John Cochran hit the Clinton plan from the left, arguing it doesn't give enough money to the recipients, focusing on an elderly couple who can't afford to fix their roof and will only "only" get $83 a month. Cochran concluded: "His doctor urged him to go to Mexico where drugs are cheaper. But as a war veteran who paid taxes all his life, Willie can't understand why his own government can't help more."
Here's a rundown of how the networks treated Clinton's Medicare plan on their Tuesday, June 29, evening shows:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. First, Jackie Judd summarized the plan: "President Clinton said his plan would do two things: keep Medicare from going broke and modernize it by offering coverage for prescription drugs." Specifically, he proposed how for $288 a year starting in 2002 Medicare recipients would get 50 percent cost coverage for prescriptions up to $2,000 a year. She noted that how to pay for it was buried but that "providers take the biggest hit" with cuts planned for payments to doctors and hospitals.
then introduced John Cochran's piece on deserving seniors are of the
additional money transfer from currently productive workers:
Note to 90-year-old: No you can't do it. You want others to pay for you.
by outlining how Clinton is too conservative in his spending spree:
"For many older people the Clinton plan is welcomed, but it would
hardly solve the problems of those who have huge drug bills every month.
That would include the Mitchells who live in Florida. 68-year-old Willie
has kidney problems, heart problems and diabetes. The Mitchells'
combined income each month from Social Security is only $1,200. Last month
Willie's drug bill alone was more than $1,000. To make it through each
month he cuts back on food and on medications, cutting his pills into
quarters....Meanwhile other things don't get done. The leaky roof stays
leaky, bills don't get paid, lot's of bills."
How many "working families" of thirty-somethings could afford to fix their roofs if they didn't have to pay so much in payroll taxes to support another entitlement expansion?
Bill Plante explained how Clinton wants to spend $794 billion from the surplus on Medicare over the next 15 years and, unlike ABC's Judd, Plante added that the drug benefit grows in six years to $44 a month for $5,000 a year in coverage and that couples making/getting from Social Security less than $17,000 a year would pay nothing. Plante noted: "The prescription benefit would begin in 2002 and cost the government $118 billion over the next ten years." Actually, that would cost taxpayers.
From Capitol Hill
Bob Schieffer relayed bipartisan concern about costs and giving the
benefit to everyone when 65 percent already have private insurance to
cover prescriptions. As to limiting the new entitlement to just the 13
million without prescription coverage, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle
maintained: "Medicare is an insurance plan. Insurance has always been
available to everybody regardless of resources."
Jeff Flock looked at senior political power and focused on one woman who can't afford her drugs now: "And like a lot of seniors she says she will vote in the future for the party that shows it cares."
Caring equals spending money confiscated from others.
Shipman gave the
only broadcast network air time to a conservative voice: "The White
House says encouraging competition among HMOs will save some money, but
critics say it's not enough."
Williams got to the truly greedy. Not retired people demanding those still
working turn over more of their money but the "cash cow"
pharmaceutical industry: "The bills, the liquids, the inhalers that
make up the cash cow industry known as prescription drugs..."
Today co-host Katie is baffled as to how anyone could oppose Clinton's "no-brainer" Medicare expansion plan and when someone did suggest a downside she offered up a counter-argument.
Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, Couric interviewed Alan
Holmer of a pharmaceutical trade association and a representative from the
AARP. Couric began:
After tossing some
softballs to the woman from the AARP Couric offered this retort to
Holmer's concern that price controls and reduced payments for drugs will
hurt research and ultimately patients who need new drugs:
 Maybe the Energy Department should hire FNC's Carl Cameron. Tuesday night he showed how he knew about testimony from a counter-intelligence agent that the agent's boss, the Energy Department's counter-intelligence chief, wasn't even aware of. And Cameron added unique TV play for a story on the wires Tuesday and in the Washington Times Wednesday about how a Defense official was transferred pending the outcome of a probe about how the supervisor improperly tried to access the computer files of a whistleblower testifying at that moment on Capitol Hill.
In a piece
featured on both Special Report with Brit Hume and the Fox Report, Cameron
revealed what went on behind the scenes at a House Government Reform
Committee hearing last week:
Cameron went on to explain that when House members realized what Hansen would disclose he was removed from a panel of officials testifying about reprisals for their efforts to expose security shortcomings and stop dangerous technology transfers. This was the June 24 hearing that all but FNC ignored. See the June 25 CyberAlert for details: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990625.html#1 
Cameron picked up the story with this bit of intrigue: "At the exact time Defense Department analyst Peter Leitner was telling Congress that his bosses have in the past planted evidence in his desk to discredit him, over at the Pentagon those supervisors were allegedly trying to get into his computer without proper permission. A trail of e-mails obtained by Fox News indicates that several Defense Department officials were involved. Ultimately they did not gain access, but the Defense Threat Reduction Agency has announced an investigation and pending the outcome Leitner's supervisor at the Pentagon has been transferred to another post. Congress continues to investigate alleged reprisals and has subpoenaed Leitner's supervisors to explain their actions next week."
Cameron concluded: "As to ongoing security breaches, despite Energy Secretary Bill Richardson's insistence that the problem has been fixed, one senior counter-intelligence official said quote, 'They continue to steal us blind,' unquote."
But only Fox News notices.
+++ Watch Cameron's story. While over 50 percent of cable homes now have access to the Fox News Channel, many still don't, including mine. So that all CyberAlert readers have the chance to view another of Cameron's unique stories, the MRC's Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry will post it Wednesday morning. To watch it via RealPlayer, go to the MRC home page: http://www.mrc.org 
Is Starr finished? NBC says maybe not yet. "Hubbell to Plead Guilty as Starr Wraps Up," the Washington Post headlined its hopeful June 29 story on the plea deal in Starr's last scheduled trial.
Tuesday morning on Today NBC's Lisa Myers, in a piece that never aired on Nightly News on Monday or Tuesday, shot a hole in liberal dreams that Starr will go away without getting at the First Lady: "But Starr does not yet appear to be closing shop. NBC News has learned that in fact his Travelgate investigation is intensifying. With testimony recently from witnesses who quote a White House official as saying Hillary Clinton ordered the firing of travel office workers contrary to what she said under oath."
Best lines of the week. Monday afternoon Bill Clinton attended a special Democratic fundraising performance on Broadway in New York City of the play The Iceman Cometh, which stars Kevin Spacey.
Two best paragraphs in stories about Clinton's attendance:
Press reporter Kevin Galvin in a dispatch distributed Tuesday morning:
Robert Hardt Jr., Deborah Orin and Marilyn Rauber in their June 29 New
York Post story offered a harder-edged summary of the play's plot:
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