If you would like to send your comment to PBS about Obama’s Deal, please go here.
I really hope you will respond to this email because I was quite disturbed by the bias shown by Frontline in its two reports on health care this year. The common bias shown in both shows was a refusal to discuss the most popular health care reform in the United States among the public, doctors and nurses — single payer, Medicare for All.
In the most recent show, Obama’s Deal, Frontline showed protesters at the Senate Finance Committee meeting but did not explain why we were protesting. As one of the people shown in the video on Frontline I found this disturbing. We were protesting because the Finance Committee (and Obama as well) decided to exclude single payer from the discussion — while saying, as Frontline showed — all options are being considered. In fact, one option, the most popular and cost-effective was excluded. Sadly, it was excluded from Frontline as well.
And, while Frontline showed Dr. Margaret Flowers, it did not show her position, i.e. single payer, even though she discussed it in her interview (unaired portion, of course). And, it described her as an angry liberal — when in fact she is a common sense and well-informed doctor who is very pragmatic, acting based on facts and evidence, who wants to see the US have the best health care in America. But, her position was not mentioned.
The exclusion of single payer was a critical part of the story to explain Obama’s deal with the insurance industry. The exclusion of single payer showed that right from the outset Obama had made a deal with the industry (which was shown ad naseum in Frontline — to much of the insurance industry view), his deal was to preserve the industry, indeed to guarantee tens of millions of new customers and hundreds of billions in new annual revenue to the industry. It would have been an important part of the story to explain that the industry, which makes up 31% of the cost of health care and not even needed, as insurance does not provide health care, just waste, bureaucracy and immense CEO salaries, was protected right from the very beginning by Obama. Instead, this was left out of the history of the health care debate.
In the other health policy show, Sick Around America, T.R. Reid who wrote the story said that the one commonality of all the different European health systems was left out — none have a for profit insurance industry. The for profit health insurance industry is what makes the US unique and explains why we spend twice as much per person on health care. Reid would not even put his name on the show because that critical fact was excluded. Again, the single payer model, which dominates Europe, was never mentioned.
We expect better from PBS and Frontline. Accurate reporting, not biased reporting in favor of the corrupt insurance industry. What is the justification for not telling Americans the whole story, for leaving out the most popular and effective national health plan? Single payer is the only way the U.S. can afford to provide quality health care to all Americans. The law put in place by Obama and the Democrats is not financially sustainable, does not control costs, leaves tens of millions without care and undermines Medicaid by stretching it too thin. It is not a positive step forward, but that was not explained by Frontline. See my review of the law here.
I really look forward to an answer because it is extremely disturbing to see such blatant bias on PBS.