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Shouting Fire - Elderly Fear Health Overhaul (Part 2)

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, August 27, 2009 11:12 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Fox News, Health Care Reform, NPR, Shouting Fire

Fox and Friends discuss health care as does NPR in a completely different approach.

Media Fuels Fears


IMAGE SOURCE: Fox & Friends, August 7, 2009/ Media Matters Web site

“It’s a form of eugenics,” says Fox News medical contributor, Dr. Marc Siegel, referring to health care reform that will ration life-saving surgeries and treatments.

Eugenics was the core of the Hitler's plan to improve the human race.

“The too old, maybe they will get it, maybe not,” he says to the hosts on the August 7 program, Fox & Friends.

With no statistics other than, ”I’m very worried about that,” and no challenges from the show hosts about the rationing of health care that already occurs when insurance providers dictate to doctors what procedures they will cover, that kind of talk understandably scares seniors.

And they are seeing it in town hall meetings across the country.

85-year old Dee Jollie, one of millions of Americans covered by Medicare, the health insurance plan for those 65 and older, tells Associated Press, “I think it’ll be government control.”

She was waiting to see her congressman at a town hall meeting in an upscale retirement home.

"When that occurs, you don't have any control," Jollie added. "I think we will no longer be able to choose our own doctor," she said.

President Obama said during an AARP forum in July that, “nobody is talking about cutting Medicare benefits.”

Yet legislation, still evolving, likely will take some $500 billion from Medicare over 10 years. Obama says that will not affect benefits, but will reduce fraud and abuse, by cutting down on unnecessary hospital readmissions and overpayment to insurance companies that operate private plans along with Medicare, AP reports.

Still the discussion goes on at the Greenspring Retirement Community in Springfield, Va.

“They’re going to take it away from Medicare,” said Florence Arden, 86 who insisted to her friend Medicare was at risk.

“No, it isn’t,” disagreed her friend, Yvonne Fisher, 85.

“Yes, it is,” said Arden.

“I think a lot of lousy myths are going around,” Fisher said.

“I don’t think this administration is too fond of older people,” Arden added.

(*New add) "Marc Seigel’s misleading claims are exactly the type of misinformation that reporters should not allow to drive the health care. His alarmist claims about rationing ignore the fact that insurance companies currently engage in rationing -- and, as for-profit business with highly-paid executives, they have a greater financial incentive to deny care than any government program would," says Jamison Foser, a senior fellow at Media Matters, a media watchdog group, to IB News.

Fox- Hysterical Approach

(*New add) Foser, says the media has helped shape the health care debate.

"The media has focused more on the politics of health care reform than on explaining our current system and the proposed reforms. As a result, most Americans lack basic facts necessary to reach an informed decision, and are susceptible to the well-financed misinformation campaign being waged by opponents of reform."

Fox News Channel*, long considered a conservative voice of the right, appears to be following the GOP strategy playbook to incite fear into the health care debate.

Media Matters, has uncovered a memo, “The 10 Rules for Stopping the Washington Takeover of Healthcare."

In it, Republic consultant, Dr. Frank Luntz writes:

"Put simply, while Americans would oppose the concept (and reality) of healthcare rationing, it is the impact of rationing -- the long waits for tests, the denial of care, the thousands of people fleeing to America to get the care they can't get in their own countries -- this is what truly frightens the public more than the word rationing itself. ... The word "rationing" does induce the negative response you want, but what you really want audiences to focus on is the "consequences of rationing."

The cable news audience is slightly older and more conservative than network news viewers, finds the Pew Research Center in a 2004 report, “Where Americans Go For News.”

46 percent of Republicans regularly watch cable news, compared with 31 percent who watch network news,” the report says.

Meanwhile, Pew reports that 16 percent of Americans regularly listen to National Public Radio, which takes quite a different approach to reporting on health care reform.

NPR – Historical Approach

While Fox and Friends are talking about eugenics, National Public Radio turned away from hysteria and to a historical perspective on health care reform.

On Wednesday, National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed James Morone, co-author of the book, “The Heart of Power” Health and Politics in the Oval Office.”

Consider the following quote on health care:

"One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people, has been by way of medicine. It's very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project — most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can't afford it. Now the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it."

An angry statement in 2009 during a town hall meeting?

No. Those words were spoken by then-candidate, Ronald Reagan, running for the governor of California. Reagan opposed Medicare as “socialism” in 1962, 64, and 65, and rallied Republicans against it.

Ironically, one of the big fears being voiced in 2009 at town hall meetings is that Medicare coverage will be cut back.

Reagan adds that if Medicare passes, we will tell our children and our children’s children, what it was like in America when men were free.

Talking to Renee Montagne, the discussion covers President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) who maneuvered Medicare through Congress as “one of the great untold stories.” Johnson suppressed the actual costs and befriended a young kid elected from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy, in 1962.

“We believe, after looking at the evidence, my co-author (David Blumenthal) and I that if the true cost of Medicare had been known. If Johnson hadn't basically hidden them. The program would never have passed. America's second-most beloved program would never have happened, if we would have had genuine cost estimates,” said Morone.

Eventually, Medicare opponents crossed the aisle and voted for it. Not likely to be true this time he concludes. #

* Editors Note - Akre and her husband filed a lawsuit against Fox News Channel in 1998.

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