17 Years and Counting: ABC's Tim Johnson Continues Spinning for Health Care Law
Published: 12/28/2010 11:48 AM ET
For the last 17 years, ABC's medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, has hyped various forms of government-run health care. He continued that pattern on Tuesday's Good Morning America, promoting Barack Obama's 2010 law and ignoring the its unpopular aspects.
Talking to guest co-host Chris Cuomo, he enthused, "Many issues have already gone into effect and people like them." Johnson did allow that the bill was "controversial," However, he added, "But, there's many features in this bill, that if they go into effect, could help control costs and improve quality."
However, he didn't explain that the legislation as a whole remains unpopular. According to a new CNN poll, 54 percent oppose it. Also unmentioned was a Washington Post report that few Americans are signing up for a provision of the legislation allowing sick individuals to have their medical costs covered.
The Post's Amy Goldstein described in a December 28 article:
Twenty-seven states have created their own high-risk pools. The rest used an option in the law to let their residents buy coverage through a new federal health plan.[Emphasis added.] Dr. Johnson has a long history of cheerleading for government run health care, going all the way back to Bill Clinton's plan in 1994.
In the spring, the Medicare program's chief actuary predicted that 375,000 people would sign up for the pool plans by the end of the year. Early last month, the Health and Human Services Department reported that just 8,000 people had enrolled. HHS officials declined to provide an update, although they collect such figures monthly, because they have decided to report them on a quarterly basis.
This spin continued through to the 2008 presidential campaign. On October 19, 2007, he interviewed then-candidate Hillary Clinton and rhapsodized, "She certainly knows health care better, I think, than any other candidate....I'm very impressed with her knowledge base." Speaking of GOP members, he offered this loaded question: "Do you think the Republicans who are against it are immoral?"
(For more examples, see an October 08, 2008 CyberAlert.)
A partial transcript of the December 28 segment, which aired at 8:35am EST, follows: