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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

ABC's Obama Health Care Infomercial

Drudge has a story that is so unbelievable that I am almost left speechless. On the 24th of June, they will host a primetime special entitled "'Prescription for America". They will report from the East Room of the White House. They will host a townhall meeting. The entire day will feature news stories on Good Morning America, WORLD NEWS, NIGHTLINE, and on their web site about President Obama's health care plan. At the same time, they have rejected the RNC's request to be included in the special to voice an alternative view.

In totalitarian regimes, the media becomes nothing more than a propaganda arm of the regime. A great example of this is Pravda in Russia. Our democracy is dependent on a vigorous press that acts as a watchdog on the government. It relies on a free press that maintains its independence and strives at all times to present all sides of a story. Whenever our free press limits its vigourous pursuit of these goals, our democracy is threatened.

This ABC special is an example of rank propaganda. I don't necessarily have a problem with rank propaganda as long as it is identified as such. Daily Kos makes no bones about which politician it supports. Yet, the worst part about what ABC is doing is that they are claiming to be balanced and objective all the while allowing propaganda. Here is how ABC's VP Kerry Smith characterized the special.

ABCNEWS prides itself on covering all sides of important issues and asking direct questions of all newsmakers -- of all political persuasions -- even when others have taken a more partisan approach and even in the face of criticism from extremes on both ends of the political spectrum.

ABCNEWS is looking for the most thoughtful and diverse voices on this issue. "ABCNEWS alone will select those who will be in the audience asking questions of the president. Like any programs we broadcast, ABC News will have complete editorial control. To suggest otherwise is quite unfair to both our journalists and our audience."

Propaganda only works when the audience thinks they are getting fair and objective reporting. For ABC to turn the 24th of June into an Obama health care infomercial is bad enough. For ABC to deny it is downright dangerous.


Anonymous said...

When the GOP comes up with ideas, any ideas, the networks will be happy to broadcast them.

mike volpe said...

That's great rhetoric however it's not only nonsense but beside the point. The Reps had an alternative to the stimulus. They have an alternative to health care, energy independence, and regulations. All of these have been published. I have analyzed all myself. I liked all but their energy plan. They have ideas. You, and the MSM, just treat them with contempt. There is a big difference.

The Munz said...

How many time will he say we are in a crisis this time like he did with the stimulus?

This is going to be the nail in the coffin of the USA.

His health care plans will lead us to the government controlling all health care, taking 1/3 of your pay before any taxes are taken, then telling you what you can and can't be treated for.

In Canada, no one over 55 gets dialysis, you wait an average of 23 hours in an emergency room to be seen.
In the UK, if you are too old, they won't give medication to you to save your life. It is not cost effective.

This is obama's plan for the future.

mike volpe said...

There's diminishing returns in that. I really doubt that health care reform will pass. This looks more and more like a big wart the more the debate moves forward.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps "good ol America" could learn from other countries.

The United States, which is proud to claim 37th place in the World Health Organization's rankings of the world's health systems and 15th in the Commonwealth Fund's ranking by avoidable mortality of 19 industrialized countries (the highest rank indicates the fewest such deaths).

To achieve a better score would be unpatriotic!

What sort of problems do these other countries suffer? In Switzerland, where there's a feeling that costs are out of control, health care represents 11 percent of GNP, compared with 16 percent in the United States. Doctors in other industrialized democracies tend to grumble that they don't make nearly enough money, in Japan they may have a point. In general, (outside of India) these foreign doctors manage to live well enough, especially when one considers how little they spend on malpractice insurance and how little debt they run up attending medical school. (In some places, medical education comes free of charge.)

Whatever problems exist tend to fade quickly from memory when one considers that the populations in these industrial democracies typically live longer than we live in the United States and that medical catastrophe does not lead to financial ruin

After rejecting the U.S. model, Taiwan did something the United States ought to be doing but isn't.

It carefully examined, in great detail, other health systems around the globe. (It ended up adopting the National Health Insurance, i.e., Canadian, model.) There may be no country on earth with a greater siege mentality than Taiwan—and for good reason. Nonetheless, Taiwan was able to peer over the parapet long enough to take note of how other countries managed their affairs and acted accordingly. Fortress American could learn a lesson or two from that.

mike volpe said...

How do these rankings get figured out exactly?

When you compare our health care to Switzerland are you are also comparing the fact that our taxes are much lower than theirs.

When you compare ourselves to Taiwan, do you compare our 300 million person population to their several million?

Are you also revealing that these so called WHO rankings are skewed to countries with universal health care?

Maybe, you ought to reveal the full context of this story.

Anonymous said...

Finance committee Baucus chairs could find no place in this year's exhaustive health care hearings for a single expert on how other countries achieve better health outcomes for their populations while typically spending, on a per capita basis, half what we do. When the finance committee releases its draft bill this week, it will be almost completely free of foreign influence.

Its the simple point the America has not heard submissions from how other countries have done it.

Is this not stupid?

Here is the Commonwealth report link

Anonymous said...


The typical Taiwanese pays 6% to 10% tax.
I should know, I currently live here.

Please read T.R. Reid's superb new book, The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care.

Reid helpfully divides health care systems into four models:

Bismarck. As the name suggests, the Bismarck model is found in Germany—and also in Japan, France, Belgium, Austria, and, "to a degree," in Latin America. Doctors, hospitals, and insurers are all private, and insurance is funded jointly by employers and employees, as it is in the United States. But the insurance companies are nonprofit, and coverage, fees, and medical services are all tightly regulated by the state.

Beveridge. Named for Lord William Beveridge, who with Aneurin Bevan created Britain's National Health Service. Also found in Spain, Italy, Hong Kong, and much of Scandinavia. Instead of private insurers, the government pays all medical bills. Hospitals are typically owned by the government, and doctors are usually (though not always) salaried government employees.

National Health Insurance. A blend of Bismarck and Beveridge found in Canada, Taiwan, and South Korea. Hospitals and doctors are private, but the government pays.

Out-of-Pocket. The de facto system of the Third World. Since most of the population can't afford health insurance, medical care is typically achieved through international charity or (most often) not at all.

Reid explains that for most working people in the United States, the health care model is a modified Bismarck in which insurance is for-profit and regulation is scattershot.

Essentially, the United States has taken a workable foreign model and ruined it by rendering it "uniquely American." Within the conservative subculture of the military (including veterans), the U.S. health care model is the highly pinko Beveridge. For everyone over 65, the model is National Health Insurance. (Medicare even got its name from Canada's single-payer program.) For the 45 million Americans who have no health insurance, the model is Out-of-Pocket; for these unfortunate souls, Reid writes, the United States may as well be "Cambodia, or Burkina Faso, or rural India."

As Reid drags his sore shoulder through France, Germany, Japan, the U.K., Canada, India, Taiwan, and Switzerland, two conclusions become inescapable. The first is that the health care systems of every one of these industrialized democracies have problems. The second is that (except for India) virtually all of these problems look trivial compared with the problems of the U.S. health care system.

Most of the foreign medical professionals and politicians whom Reid interviews are well-aware of this and express horror at the mess the richest nation on earth has made of its health care system. Although no one comes out and says it, one senses that they wonder whether Americans place a lower value than they do on human life.

How could the United States possibly persuade insurance companies to give up profits? Reid answered that Switzerland, home to many powerful insurance companies, had done it in 1994 when it adopted the Bismarck model. The insurers fought it tooth and nail, of course, but now they compete energetically to sign up people for basic care on a nonprofit basis because they constitute a customer base for supplemental insurance that they're allowed to sell on a for-profit basis. This answer didn't satisfy Baucus. "Perhaps you don't know how much money [U.S. insurers] have," he told Reid. (Judging from his campaign contributions—since 2005, Aetna alone has given him $45,250—Baucus knows very well.)

mike volpe said...

First, Taiwan has 22 million people in it. It's not a good comparison to a country with nearly 500 million people.

Second, non profit in this country means something likely a lot different than in most countries.

I just finished a piece on a hospital that is sitting on nearly $2 billion in investment. So, you can make all these insurance companies non profit but I am not sure what that will do.

I don't think that it's a good idea to revolutionize our insurance structure because there is some book out there that is "excellent".

Here in America, it will cost trillions to get universal coverage that is mandate.

Real Estate Agent in Toronto said...

I love how our (Canadian) health care system is suddenly the worst one in the world. Suddenly everyone has a relative or a friend who had to wait for 3 days to get in an emergency room. In my whole life I've never had that happen or even heard of something like that. I don't know who comes up with these "true" stories and all those stupid statistics...

Take care, Julie

Anonymous said...

The truth is the health care system in US really sucks.
I am an international student in the US and student insurance is required for enrolling to school. However, when I was sick, I had to be in pain for a month to be referred to a "real" physician, and waited another 2 weeks to see a real doctor. I ended up flying back to Taiwan to see doctor. The first day I saw the doctor, and the second day a surgery was scheduled. I was in hospital for 2 weeks and paid less than the bill for ultrasound I got in the US.
BTY, Taiwan has almost 23 million people.