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CNN’s Obamacare Q&A Only Generates Greater Confusion on the Democrats’ Muddled Plans

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Posted on August 22 2009 7:59 pm
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For a solid hour Saturday, I watched with great anticipation as CNN anchor Drew Griffin and his dynamo fact-finding team tackled viewer questions on health care reform in a lengthy Q&A, that completely lacked the A part.

Under the headline “Health Care: Your Questions Answered,” the team set out to dispel the many myths surrounding the health care reform bill being pushed by House Democrats, and to bring clarity to this exceedingly complicated issue.

Griffin’s crack team of health care reform experts included Lori Robertson of FactCheck.org and Angie Holan of PolitiFact.org, along with CNN’s ambitious young Josh Levs filtering the questions through to the team via a gigantic touchscreen monitor thingy.

Yes, they had all the high-tech bells and whistles. What they lacked was answers. After 60 minutes of vague, noncommittal responses, only two things are clearer to me:

  • I know just as much about health care reform efforts as these “experts.”
  • I’m thankful for over-the-counter headache medicine (I don’t have to get an appointment with my doctor, fork out a co-pay, undergo unnecessary and expensive tests, or wait for a prescription that may or may not be covered by my insurance).

To be clear, this is not meant to disparage the valuable work done by either PolitiFact.org or FactCheck.org, but rather, to emphasize the utter lack of clarity on the proposed health care reform legislation and the constant contradictory statements coming from members of Congress on the reform initiative.

For example – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will not pass a reform bill that does not include a public option. Pelosi’s #2 – Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md) – says the public option may have to go. Congressional Democrats have really outdone themselves in creating an impossibly muddled dialogue on this one issue.

But CNN did Americans no favors Saturday, adding only more confusing dialogue on the issue. Decide for yourself.

Question:  Will the government decide what care I can get?

Answer: Robertson says “yes” while CNN posts large “NO” stamp across the screen.

Question: Would Medicare go away or be slashed?

Answer:  Robertson says “no,” but the legislation, in fact, would cut federal subsidies to the Medicare Advantage program.

Question: Will abortion be covered under a public option plan?

Answer: “It certainly could be covered,” says Robertson.

Question: Will the current health care infrastructure be overwhelmed?

Answer: “That’s an interesting question,” says Holan.

Question: How much will the public option cost?

Answer: That depends.

There are several more examples of the non-answers provided in CNN’s quest for clarity on the health care reform debate, but I’m sure you get the idea.

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