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09.19 Shell and Exxon's secret 1980s climate change warnings [that capitalists suppressed this for continuing profit is the most unforgivable crime ever]Trump administration rolls back methane pollution rule despite harmful health impacts [continuing in the tradition of stupid capitalism at all costs]
09.18 'I was horrified that children are breathing air this dirty inside the school' [if your government isn't working, change it!]
09.13 The Guardian view on electric cars: stopped by industry inaction [Vroom Vroom is Dumb Dumb]
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09.18 'This Election Is Last Chance to Stop Them': Kudlow Confirms Trump and GOP Ready to Gut Safety Net After Midterms [Yes, there are far too many sociopaths]
09.19 'Killing a generation': one million more children at risk from famine in Yemen [Does America's government have empathy? Does it understand the concept of morality? The Saudi Air Force would be ineffective without U.S. military assistance...]
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09.18 Racist rioting in Chemnitz has reopened Germany’s east-west split [We are all mixed-race after 10,000 generations. Helping suffering people makes us feel good, so become their friends instead.]
09.15 A Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come [SCARY]
PUBLIC BROADCASTING HAS BEEN BRIBED OR COERCED:
Frontline Distorts Global Healthcare Options
PBS show treats mandatory for-profit insurance as the only alternative
7 April 2009
Frontline's new documentary perpetuates the media's longstanding pattern of ignoring proposals for single-payer health insurance, despite the fact that this proposal polls well with the American public and has been codified in a bill co-sponsored by 74 congressmembers.The March 31 documentary by PBS's Frontline, Sick Around America, treated mandatory for-profit insurance coverage as the only alternative to the current U.S. healthcare system--even though the documentary was a sequel to a 2008 Frontline special, Sick Around the World (4/15/08), that examined several publicly funded healthcare models, including Taiwan's single-payer system.
In a segment of Sick Around America subtitled "How to Get a Fairer System," Frontline narrator Will Lyman asked Karen Ignati, a spokesperson from the insurers' trade group America's Health Insurance Plans, why the U.S. couldn't guarantee coverage for all like other developed countries do. After Ignati responded that her industry could only guarantee universal coverage if the government required all citizens to have insurance, Lyman stated:
This generalization about other developed countries being places where "people are mandated to buy" insurance is also repeated on Frontline's web page about Sick Around America, in a paragraph that contains a link to the Sick Around the World investigation. The only alternative to the current U.S. healthcare system that was examined in any depth in Sick Around America was Massachusetts' system of mandating that people buy insurance from for-profit health insurance companies.
But this exclusive focus on mandatory for-profit health insurance as a solution to the healthcare problems facing the nation negated Frontline's earlier findings about the healthcare systems in developed countries. None of the healthcare systems featured in Sick Around the World is based on mandatory purchase of for-profit insurance; indeed, as a report by the Canadian government noted (5/97; revised 2/01), "The United States is the only OECD country that relies primarily on private insurance for healthcare financing."
Frontline's 2008 documentary actually highlighted Taiwan's single-payer model of healthcare system. As Frontline correspondent T.R. Reid explained, when Taiwanese healthcare adopted single-payer it went from being "worse than America's is today," with high rates of uninsured, to a system that guarantees coverage for all and "has the lowest administrative costs in the world, less than 2 percent." The U.K.'s system of public national health insurance was also featured.
And as Reid emphasized in the conclusion of the 2008 report, in countries where there is some private-sector role in health financing, one of the central lessons is that they "all impose limits," including that insurance companies "can't make a profit on basic care." (This point is made by one source in passing in Sick Around America, but it's easy to miss.)
Reid was supposed to be the correspondent for the new documentary, but he revealed in an interview with Corporate Crime Reporter (4/2/09) that he quit over concerns that the new documentary contradicted his earlier research:
Frontline's new documentary perpetuates the media's longstanding pattern of ignoring proposals for single-payer health insurance (FAIR Media Advisory, 3/6/09), despite the fact that this proposal polls well with the American public and has been codified in a bill co-sponsored by 74 congressmembers. While Sick Around America included several spokespeople from the health insurance industry, no single-payer advocate was featured in the documentary.
Ask Frontline why Sick Around America misrepresented the findings of Sick Around the World, treating mandatory for-profit insurance coverage as the only alternative to the current U.S. healthcare system.
Please share your letters to Frontline by posting them in the comments section on the FAIR Blog.
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting is a nonpartisan media watchdog organization. Visit http://fair.org for more information, or share your opinion about this story by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Republished in the Chronicle with permission from F.A.I.R.
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This story was published on April 9, 2009.