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MinM's Journal
Posted by MinM in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Oct 13th 2009, 11:54 AM

http://nprcheck.blogspot.com/2009/06/npr-d...

A few days ago a reader (h/t to Masbrow) mentioned an interesting article by Felice Pace in CounterPunch. Pace does a little exploring with the NPR search engine to see how poor, old single payer fares there. He notes that "...stories mention single payer. I can find no NPR news reports or other shows which actually focused on single payer or on the movement to achieve it."*** This prompts him to ask, "Why is NPR refusing to report on what 60% of US citizens and the majority of health professionals want?" To answer that question he did a little more digging at NPR and found that (as of 2006) NPR's financial health care was mighty dependent on some heavy hitters in insurance industry:

* $1 million+: Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, Prudential Financial
* $500,000 - $999,999: Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Allstate Insurance Company, Northwestern Mutual Foundation
* $250,000 - $499,999: AARP, The Hartford Financial Services Group, UnumProvident
* $100,000 $249,999: Liberty Mutual Insurance Company

Single payer may be off the table, but when money sets the table, public radio isn't so different from our trusty public servants.

***A slight correction: I found that by searching "Physicians for a National Health Program" there was one relatively recent (Dec. 24, 2008) report that focused on the single-payer plan; however, the whole point of that Christmas Eve coal-in-the-stocking from NPR was how single-payer is neither as popular nor realistic as supporters claim. It featured Baucus and Rep. Pete Stark poo-pooing single-payer and Rovner relying on one dud poll to claim that "while single-payer has won big majorities in many polls, in this one it came in dead last" (How's that for unbiased?).

Now that Obama and the Dem's sadly watered-down health care proposal is working its way through the bowels of Congress I thought it might be worthwhile to put NPR's most recent health care stories into perspective and see whose viewpoints (i.e. $$$) hold sway.

My poor little post of last Friday - noting how TWO features on Morning Edition flogged the public option - had barely seen the light of cyberspace when the next morning NPR felt obliged to give oft-consulted Karen Ignagni of AHIP ("enemy number one" of single payer) unchallenged airtime to denounce the public option with the help of Scott Simon. Instead of responding here - I dropped a comment (reprinted at the end of this post) on NPR's site.

Since then things have only gotten worse. On Sunday morning Rovner claimed that "the bill coming up this week is going to be the most left-leaning if you will...could provide subsidies to people earning up to 5 times the poverty level...so this may be the farthest to the left of all." With that salvo, is it any wonder that on Tuesday morning Steve Inskeep was all over Kathleen Sebelius with the Republican talking points about the public option and denouncing single-payer:

* "I want to understand this number because...Republicans have said, quoted a study, way over a hundred million Americans...so what's your number?"
* "Just the numbers you mention...this option, this public option, if it passes as you imagine is going to be vast."
* "....people in Congress are talking about putting some kind of limit on this public plan...what kind of limits are you prepared to expect..."
* "...would you accept a limit that would say this is just not going to be a national health insurance at some point in the future...?"
* "Can you say flat out it's just never going to be single-player health insurance....?"

This morning Inskeep was at it again in a chat with Juan Williams. After Williams claimed "what the government's doing may in fact drive up the cost of health care" and touted a CBO report alleging that the Dem/Obama plan would "cause some people to lose their insurance" - Inskeep played a clip of the Sebelius interview in which she calls the potential for single-payer insurance a "draconian scenario." He then asks Williams, "Has the White House found any effective way to prove a negative here; to say this is not going to become creeping socialism?"

http://counterpunch.org/pace06122009.html

http://nprcheck.blogspot.com/
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