At Best Sloppy Health Care Reporting at the NYT
Covering President Barack Obama’s public health insurance plan pitch to the American Medical association, New York Times reporters Robert Pear and Jackie Calmes write in the June 16th paper under the header Cost Concerns as Obama Pushes Health Issue:
Mr. Obama spoke just days after the A.M.A. had signaled opposition to his proposal for a public health insurance plan to compete with private insurers as part of a menu of choices, much like the one for members of Congress.
This is either factually wrong or highly misleading. Members of Congress, and all federal employees for that matter, do receive a menu of health insurance options. A government run health insurance plan, however, is not one of them.
Members of Congress and federal employees can’t just sign up for Medicare just because they work for the federal government. Kaiser, Blue Cross, Aetna … they are all options in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). A government run health insurance plan, like the one Obama wants to create, simply is not on the menu.
Which is why the Pear and Calmes article is so troubling. Obama was at the AMA specifically to address their fears about the public plan. Misrepresenting that plan, by comparing it to the health care that Members of Congress have, is simply dishonest.