Lieberman, Schwitzer on health reform, coverage

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

FAIR, a media watch group, interviewed AHCJ members Trudy Lieberman and Gary Schwitzer in an attempt to cut through the politicized hollering to the issues themselves. FAIR includes its own analysis of the recent health care coverage, calling for increased fact-checking and extra care when associating certain reform ideas and political associations.

Lieberman explained that, under all the noise, today’s debates are almost identical to those that took place during the Clinton-era push for health care reform. Politicians and industry mouthpieces said the same things and debate raged over the same options. This time around, Lieberman said, it looks like the lofty campaign for health reform has been downgraded to an effort to change and improve health insurance.

While joining FAIR in pointing out some weaknesses in media coverage, Lieberman did point out a few pieces she regarded as noteworthy:

Every now and then I do see something really good. A year ago, NPR did a spectacular series on health care in five countries in Europe, and they did really good investigation and showed very clearly that people in those countries—France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the UK—were very, very happy with their coverage, and then they compared and contrasted it with someone in our country who had the same illness and showed the travails of getting care in the U.S. And then just this week, I found another excellent story, and this was in Business Week, and the reporters dug into the lobbying by United Health Care, which is the country’s largest insurer. And I think that’s very instructive about what kind of behind the scenes activities are going on by the lobbyists, and we should have more of those kind of stories.

In his interview, Schwitzer focused on his recent summary of the myriad shortcomings of health segments on morning shows.

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