Saturday, August 22, 2009

He said, she said on health care

Here's the headline from today's Denver Post story by Michael Booth and Jennifer Brown:
Health care reform advocates say insurance companies already ration coverage
Okay, let's go through this together. Do insurance companies provide unlimited coverage for everyone? No? Then they're rationing. This headline would be perfectly accurate without the words "Health care reform advocates say...."

The whole piece is an annoying he said/she said piece that doesn't bother to investigate actual truth. Example:
While government and private insurance would try to hold down costs, [Colorado State Sen. Morgan] Carroll said, "the major difference is that the for-profit insurance industry has a direct financial interest in reducing or eliminating payments for your medical care, and a government or nonprofit authority doesn't."
Insurance companies, though, say they have advantages the government doesn't. For one, it doesn't take an act of Congress — just a medical panel — to cover a new drug or procedure.
Yeah, it doesn't take an act of Congress for the government to approve new drugs or procedures, either. That's what the FDA does, using medical panels.
And in contrast to the government, insurance companies don't have a strict budget that dictates what procedures to cover, [UnitedHealthcare CEO Beth] Soberg said. For the government, "that's all there is and you have to make decisions based on that," she said.
Really? Private businesses don't have strict budgets? As compared to the federal government, which can print money?

Sigh. I hate to keep holding up a comedian as a model of journalism, but he does, you know, do his homework, and he can sort out fiction from truth.

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