In an August 4 article by staff writers Perry Bacon Jr. and Michael D. Shear about the health care reform plans of several presidential candidates, The Washington Post noted that "Democrats, particularly Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and former senator John Edwards (N.C.), are calling for higher taxes for people who make more than $250,000 a year" to pay for their health care plans. The Post went on to discuss former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's (R) recently released health care proposal, saying that it would be "less costly and would cover fewer people," than Obama's and Edwards' plans. However, the Post did not report -- and gave no indication it had attempted to determine -- how Giuliani plans to fund his proposal.
From the article headlined, "Diner Exchange Underlines Voters' Health-Care Concerns":
Generally, the debate on the campaign trail resembles that in Washington, where congressional Democrats are trying to push through a major expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides coverage for low-income children, but President Bush is threatening a veto in part because he opposes increasing the number of people who receive health care through the federal government.
Democrats, particularly Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and former senator John Edwards (N.C.), are calling for higher taxes for people who make more than $250,000 a year, to pay for tax subsidies and increase the number of people on public programs.
Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and other Republicans are touting approaches that would be less costly and would cover fewer people. This week Giuliani released a plan, similar to an initiative that Bush has adopted, that would exclude up to $15,000 of a family's income from taxes if it was spent to purchase health insurance.
The article did not note that Giuliani has reportedly not released details of how he would pay for the proposal or how many uninsured people would remain uninsured under Giuliani's program. The Associated Press reported on August 1: "Asked how much the plan would cost and how many uninsured Americans it would help, Giuliani said he would not have those answers for two or three months." The AP article also noted that "Edwards estimates that his plan would cost $90 billion to $120 billion per year," while "Obama estimates his plan would cost $50 billion to $65 billion per year." Similarly, in an August 4 editorial titled "All buzz, no math from Giuliani," The Washington Times noted that the Giuliani campaign has not revealed the cost of his proposal: "Instead of cost estimates, Mr. Giuliani offered a 'vision' and a promise to provide details in the fall." Further, in an August 1 article headlined "Rudy health care plan echoes failed Bush scheme," Newsday noted that Giuliani "admit[ted] it could take years for his plan to help those without insurance and makes no promise that all the uninsured would be helped."
Media Matters for America has documented other media reports that have, like the Post article, failed to challenge Republicans to detail the costs of their proposals and how they would pay for them:
- In an August 1 New York Times article, reporter Marc Santora gave no indication that he asked Giuliani the cost of his plan or otherwise tried to determine it. By contrast, when Democratic presidential hopefuls Obama and Edwards unveiled their respective health care proposals, the Times noted that the campaigns provided cost estimates, and it reported those estimates.
- In a July 24 AP article, staff writer James Prichard reported that Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (AZ) "originally opposed Bush's tax cuts, but he advocates extending them now because he says repealing them would amount to a tax increase," and added that "if elected president, he [McCain] would repeal the alternative minimum tax [AMT]," but gave no indication that Prichard had asked McCain, or that McCain had spoken, about how he proposed to make up for the decrease in revenue that would result from repealing the AMT and extending the Bush tax cuts.
- On the July 13 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider said of health care plans proposed by Democratic presidential candidates: "How are they going to pay for it? Some say they want to end the war in Iraq, some by ending President Bush's tax cuts for high-income Americans." Moments later, Schneider discussed Republican positions on health care and asserted that Republican presidential candidates "want to use tax incentives to empower consumers" without asking how the Republicans would pay for the revenue lost through such "tax incentives."