FNC's Napolitano peddles paranoia about "swine flu," Obama's health care plan

››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN

Andrew Napolitano baselessly suggested President Obama was moving forward on health care now to take advantage of "fears of an epidemic and a pandemic" concerning the H1N1 virus, and falsely suggested that President Obama's health care proposal is similar to the Canadian and British systems -- models Obama has explicitly rejected.

On the April 28 edition of Fox News Radio's Brian & The Judge, co-host Andrew Napolitano baselessly suggested President Obama was moving forward on health care now to take advantage of "fears of an epidemic and a pandemic" concerning the influenza A virus subtype H1N1, commonly referred to as "swine flu." Napolitano stated: "Do you think that it's a coincidence that the government would be enacting this takeover of health care in the same week that we have fears of an epidemic and a pandemic about swine flu. Remember how fear -- remember how the government uses fear to get people to give up their freedom." During the same segment, Napolitano falsely suggested that "what may be coming" under President Obama's proposed health care plan is similar to the systems used in Canada and the United Kingdom -- systems Obama has explicitly rejected as models for his own policies.

While discussing congressional Democrats' reported decision to use the budget reconciliation process to advance health care reform, Napolitano stated: "You want a situation like we have in Canada, where you have to wait 16 months to have nonelective surgery? Do you want a situation like they have in Great Britain, where only the rich can go to private clinics and everybody else from the upper-middle class -- from the upper-middle class on down has bad teeth and poor health and has to get the permission of a bureaucrat before they can see a doctor? That is what may be coming without a meaningful debate, without a meaningful alternative, without input from you." But Obama has explicitly rejected adopting the British and Canadian models, and the public health insurance option supported by the White House is fundamentally different than the health care systems provided in Canada and the United Kingdom. According to the Health Care agenda detailed on the White House website, the administration has proposed to "[e]stablish a National Health Insurance Exchange with a range of private insurance options as well as a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage" [emphasis added]. Indeed, when asked during a March 26 online town hall discussion, "Why can we not have a universal health care system, like many European countries, where people are treated based on needs rather than financial resources," Obama replied that instead of adopting a "single-payer system" like the United Kingdom and Canada have, "what I think we should do is to build on the system that we have and fill some of these gaps."

As Media Matters for America has documented, several conservative commentators have baselessly assigned a political motivation to the Obama administration's handling of the H1N1 flu outbreak. Moreover, several media figures and outlets have falsely suggested Obama supports creating a health care system "like the European countries," despite his explicit rejection of those systems.

From the April 28 edition of Fox News Radio's Brian & The Judge:

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): And the word is in the latest budget negotiations, he's going to get his health care. Without a debate, he's going to have the financing for putting together his health care program.

NAPOLITANO: How can that be?

KILMEADE: That's unfath -- I don't even know what the policies are.

NAPOLITANO: Listen, when Bill Clinton tried "Hillary-care" -- for all of its socialist tendencies, for all of the money that was spent, for all of the attempted secrecy of the meetings at the White House -- at least there was a public debate on it. And it became apparent to President Clinton that the Congress wasn't going to go for it; the bill never even got to the floor of either house of Congress.

But in the case of President Obama, the budget allocates 645 billion for health care. They are now going to authorize him to spend that however he wants. There will be no material significant debate, Mr. and Mrs. America, about whether or not you want central planning for your health care to come out of Washington, D.C. You want a situation like we have in Canada, where you have to wait 16 months to have nonelective surgery? Do you want a situation like they have in Great Britain, where only the rich can go to private clinics and everybody else from the upper-middle class -- from the upper-middle class on down has bad teeth and poor health and has to get the permission of a bureaucrat before they can see a doctor?

That is what may be coming without a meaningful debate, without a meaningful alternative, without input from you, because the president and his colleagues have decided they won the election and this is what the election means: centralized planning of the economy and centralized planning of health care. I don't want it.

KILMEADE: It's coming, and it's got to be addressed and debated. I don't think the current system is working. In the long term, I do think we need to look at it, analyze it, but it's going to take deep thought, and you've got to get politics out of it. And he's saying politics is in it, it's my plan, and I'm going to go use reconciliation and use my Democratic majority to do it. And that's 51, which he might struggle to get because a lot of people on the Democratic side say, listen, I'm not sure that there is a party line here.

NAPOLITANO: Do you think that it's a coincidence that the government would be enacting this takeover of health care in the same week that we have fears of an epidemic --

KILMEADE: Interesting.

NAPOLITANO: -- and a pandemic about swine flu? Remember how fear -- remember how the government uses fear to get people to give up their freedom.

OBAMA [audio clip]: This is obviously a cause for concern and requires a heightened state of alert. But it's not a cause for alarm.

NAPOLITANO: Cause for concern, heightened state of alert, but not alarm. That's the president talking about the outbreak of swine flu. You already have members of Congress saying don't let anybody in from Mexico. Guess what? It was a bunch of kids from Queens, New York, who innocently visited Mexico who brought the flu back with them. It's not Mexicans coming over the border in massive numbers with swine flu.

Posted In
Health Care
Network/Outlet
Fox News Radio
Person
Andrew Napolitano
Show/Publication
Brian & The Judge
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