'Evening News' Turns Credit Woes into Plea for Health Care Mandate

     In his 1961 inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.” CBS must have forgotten that is the role of government – not mandates.


     Small business are often called the engine of the American economy, but a segment on the Oct. 7 “CBS Evening News” explored the predicaments two small business owners were facing in the midst of the current credit crunch and specifically focused on providing health care to their workers.


     CBS correspondent Sandra Hughes interviewed two California small business owners – Mike O’Toole, owner of the Long Beach, Calif., company Gondola Getaway and Mark Murai, proprietor of a Watsonville, Calif., strawberry farm. Both are being hit by the credit squeeze, but “Evening News” added health care costs to the equation – supporting the liberal proposal to offer government-run health care funded by large companies.


     “It’s a rough ride for O’Toole’s business during these hard economic times. And across the country, small business owners fear being swamped by the credit crunch, rising health care costs and taxes,” Hughes said.


     Hughes specifically cited Murai’s woes since he provides health care for his employees, and called it a “top concern.”


     “Another worry that keeps Murai up at night – paying for health care for his 30 full-time employees whom he considers like family,” Hughes said. “[I]n fact, small business organizations saying paying for health care has been the top concern of their members for years – just recently surpassed by fears about the economic crisis.”


     Based on health care being a concern during a financial crisis, Hughes examined how each presidential candidate, Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama, Ill., and Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, Ariz., use their seat of power to “fix” this problem should they be elected president.


     “On health care, Sen. Obama says he will create a national health insurance network,” Hughes said. “Large companies would be obligated to pay into it to help defray the cost. Senator McCain would provide a $2,500 tax credit for individuals to go into the market and buy insurance.”


    O’Toole – who does not provide health care to his employees due to the cost, according to Hughes – favored Obama, because someone else would pay for it.


     “What about health care?” Hughes said. “Mike O’Toole doesn’t provide health care to his part-time workers; it’s too expensive. He likes Obama’s plan if bigger companies foot the bill.


     But the segment wasn’t completely unbalanced. The other interviewee, Mark Murai, didn’t favor either proposed government solution.


     “For Mark Murai, McCain’s plan sounds like a wash without an advantage to employee or business owner. As for Obama’s government network …” Hughes said.


     “Sounds like a bureaucracy,” Murai said. “Sounds like something big that’s uncontrollable.”