CNN again uncritically aired McCain's false suggestion that Dems are proposing a "nationalized health-care system"

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

CNN's Jim Acosta uncritically aired video of Sen. John McCain asserting: "There are those who are convinced the solution is to move to a nationalized health-care system," echoing his repeated assertions that Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are proposing government-run health care. But, while McCain has routinely made such assertions, Acosta did not note that McCain's suggestion is false; neither Clinton nor Obama has proposed a "nationalized health-care system."

On the May 3 edition of CNN's Ballot Bowl '08, during both the 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. ET hours, host Jim Acosta uncritically aired video of Sen. John McCain asserting: "There are those who are convinced the solution is to move to a nationalized health-care system. They urge universal coverage with all the tax increases, new mandates and government regulation that come along with that idea. ... And by the way, the next time you think the government should take over the health-care system of America, go to our airport and go through security." McCain's comments echo his repeated assertions that Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are proposing government-run health care. But, while McCain has routinely made such assertions, Acosta did not note that McCain's suggestion is false. In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted when CNN has repeatedly, uncritically aired -- or repeated -- similar attacks by McCain, neither Clinton nor Obama has proposed a "nationalized health-care system." Indeed, as The New York Times reported in a May 3 article, "McCain has been repeatedly suggesting that his Democratic rivals are proposing a single-payer, or even a nationalized health-care system along the lines of those in countries like Canada and Britain. The suggestion is incorrect."

Despite the fact that neither Clinton nor Obama has proposed a nationalized health-care system, Acosta twice described McCain rejecting government-run health care. During the 3 p.m. program, Acosta stated that McCain "reject[ed] proposals for a government-run, universal health-care system," while during the 5 p.m. hour, Acosta said that McCain is "essentially coming out against, very strongly, any kind of government-run, government-managed universal health-care system."

By contrast, Times reporters Michael Cooper and Julie Bosman, noted in their May 3 article that McCain has repeatedly "inaccurately described the Democrats' health-care proposals, using language that evokes the specter of socialized medicine." From the May 3 article:

McCain has been repeatedly suggesting that his Democratic rivals are proposing a single-payer, or even a nationalized health care system along the lines of those in countries like Canada and Britain.

The suggestion is incorrect. While both Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York are calling for universal health care and an expanded role for government, they stop well short of calling for a single-payer plan.

Mr. McCain has made the assertion several times in recent days, even as he and the Republicans have made repeated calls for accuracy on the campaign trail. They have been complaining indignantly that the Democrats were grossly distorting his position by suggesting that he favors a "100-year war" in Iraq, when he has simply said that he would be fine with stationing troops there for 100 years as long as there were no more American casualties.

Yet on repeated occasions, Mr. McCain, of Arizona, has inaccurately described the Democrats' health care proposals, using language that evokes the specter of socialized medicine.

[...]

Both candidates have called for universal health coverage, with Mrs. Clinton saying she would require everyone to have insurance and Mr. Obama saying he would mandate coverage for children. Both would maintain the existing private insurance system, providing government subsidies or tax credits to help the low-income uninsured afford premiums. And they would give consumers a new option to buy insurance from the federal government, with policies along the lines of Medicare.

Media Matters previously documented that CNN has repeatedly allowed McCain to mischaracterize Obama's and Clinton's health-care plans. On April 28 and 29, for instance, CNN uncritically aired video of McCain falsely suggesting that the Democratic candidates favor a "one-size-fits-all, big-government takeover of health care," and that "[t]hey want the government to make the decisions."

From the 3 p.m. hour of the May 3 edition of CNN's Ballot Bowl '08:

ACOSTA: Senator McCain has come under some criticism from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as not showing enough detail when it comes to his health-care proposal. But John McCain says not so fast -- he also is concerned about this issue, he says, and he's got some solutions for it, according to his campaign. So here's John McCain talking about the issue of health care in Cleveland.

McCAIN [video clip]: There are those who are convinced that the solution is to move closer to a nationalized health-care system. They urge universal coverage with all the tax increases, new mandates, and government regulation that come along with that idea.

But in the end, this will accomplish only one thing: We will replace the inefficiency, irrationality, and uncontrolled costs of the current system with the inefficiency, irrationality, and uncontrolled costs of a government monopoly. That's what we will do.

And by the way, the next time you think that the government should take over the health-care system in America, go to our airport and go through security. Anyway, we have -- we have all the problems and more of private health care -- rigid rules, long waits, and lack of choices -- and risk degrading in great strengths and advantages, including innovation and life-saving technology that makes American medicine the most advanced in the world. I have a different vision.

[...]

McCAIN [video clip]: We should pay a single bill -- a single bill for high-quality disease care, not an endless series of bills for presurgical tests and visits, hospitalizations and surgery, and follow-up tests, drugs, and office visits. Paying for coordinated care means that every single provider is now united in being responsive to the needs of a single person, the patient.

ACOSTA: So there you have it, John McCain on the issue of health care, rejecting proposals for a government-run, universal health-care system. John McCain talking about his health-care plans there in front of a big crowd there in Cleveland, Ohio.

And coming up after a break, here on Ballot Bowl on CNN, we'll check in with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and their plans for the economy.

From the 5 p.m. hour of the May 3 edition of CNN's Ballot Bowl '08:

ACOSTA: We want to switch gears now to the presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain. He is still out there on the campaign trail, and he is fighting hard to basically gather some attention to his campaign, as we are seeing so much attention paid to the slugfest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

John McCain, hitting some battleground states these days, visiting places like Pennsylvania and Iowa. He also made a pit stop in Ohio, where he talked about the issue of health care. And the senator from Arizona essentially coming out against, very strongly, any kind of government-run, government-managed universal health-care system. So here is John McCain on the issue of health care in Cleveland.

McCAIN [video clip]: There are those who are convinced that the solution is to move closer to a nationalized health-care system. They urge universal coverage with all the tax increases, new mandates, and government regulation that come along with that idea.

But in the end, this will accomplish only one thing: We will replace the inefficiency, irrationality, and uncontrolled costs of the current system with the inefficiency, irrationality, and uncontrolled costs of a government monopoly. That's what we will do.

And by the way, the next time you think that the government should take over the health-care system in America, go to our airport and go through security.

[...]

ACOSTA: There you have it, John McCain on the issue of health care in Cleveland, Ohio.

And coming up after the break here on Ballot Bowl on CNN, we'll have more from the campaign trail later on. But up next, a check of the headlines from our Fredricka Whitfield in Atlanta. And she will be taking a look at those storms that are wreaking havoc there in the Southeast. So stick with us, this is Ballot Bowl on CNN.

Posted In
Elections, Health Care
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Jim Acosta
Show/Publication
Ballot Bowl
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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