Pittsburgh Post-Gazette repeated McCain's claim about Obama's health-care plan without noting that it's false

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Sen. John McCain's assertion that Sen. Barack Obama's health-care plan “will force them into a new huge government-run health care program” without also reporting that the claim is false.

In an October 21 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, reporters James O'Toole and Tracie Mauriello reported Sen. John McCain's false charge that Sen. Barack Obama's health-care plan “will force them into a new huge government-run health care program.” However, at no point in the article did O'Toole and Mauriello note that McCain's charge is false.

As Media Matters for America has noted, Obama's health-care plan does not provide for a government takeover of health care; rather, Obama's plan allows individuals to keep their current insurance if they so choose, or enroll in either an “approved private plan” or “the new public plan, which will offer benefits similar to what every federal employee and member of Congress gets.” According to the Office of Personal Management (OPM), federal employees are able to choose from “the widest selection of health plans in the country.” A Q&A released by the Obama campaign says: “His plan will not tell you which doctors to see or what treatments to get. Under the Obama health care plan, you will be able to keep your doctor and your health insurance if you want. No government bureaucrat will second-guess decisions about your care.”

As The New York Times reported in a May 3 article, Obama's plan does not call for the government to take over the health-care system in America and “ration[] it.” Similarly, PolitiFact.com noted that “Obama's plan keeps the free-market health care system intact, particularly employer-based insurance. It is not a goverment-run [sic] program and is very different from the health care systems run by the government in some European countries.”

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article:

The Arizona senator, who appeared with his wife Cindy, also drew distinctions between his and Mr. Obama's health plans.

“He will force them into a new huge government-run health care program,” Mr. McCain said. “I will bring down the skyrocketing cost of health care with competition and choice [that will] lower your premiums and make it more available to more Americans.”

Mr. McCain has proposed providing families with $5,000 tax credits so they can buy private health insurance.

Democrats are critical of the plan. They say it would give too much control to insurance carriers who could refuse to cover pre-existing medical conditions. Critics also say the funding mechanism -- a new tax on health insurance -- would encourage companies to drop medical coverage for their workers.

Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, who spoke with reporters after the rally, said Mr. McCain's plan is bad for seniors because it would be funded by cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.