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Why Is Meet the Press Having So Many Problems With Health Care?

"Meet the Press" has really got to step up its game on the health-care debate. Last week, host David Gregory tweeted "Compelling fact today: dem-wh health care plan would only cover 16 of the 50 mill uninsured. That makes it a harder sell. Info from cbo." Problem was, his fact wasn't much of a fact. CBO didn't score a "Dem-White House" plan. It scored a partial version of the Senate HELP Committee's plan. The White House wasn't involved. And nor, for that matter, would that plan have only covered 16 million. The version of the bill examined by CBO was missing the employer mandate and the specifics on the individual mandate. It was missing, in other words, the parts of the bill that would cover people. Gregory was right to say that the CBO score was a setback. But not for the reasons he suggested.

But so be it. That was just a tweet! Less forgivable was Nina Easton's performance on the actual program last weekend. She explained to the viewers that "the big speed bump this week, of course, was that CBO, Congressional Budget Office, study that said that the costs of a public plan are going to be well beyond what they expected." Later, she said that the CBO estimate "showed that 16 to 23 million people would lose their private or other type of health insurance if that public plan went through." One problem: The bill that the CBO scored didn't have any public plan in it at all. Her statements were simply untrue.

On a related note, I'm generally free Sunday mornings.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 22, 2009; 10:03 AM ET
 
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Comments

The CBO report was also missing the Medicaid expansion. I beleive that might cover more people than even the employer mandate would.

Posted by: JonWa | June 22, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Er the problem inviting you Ezra is that it would make everyone else look like they didn't know what they were talking about. Bad news. It would be like those times that Paul Krugman is on the ABC roundtable and has to patiently explain why everything George Will just said about the economy was work.

Posted by: Castorp1 | June 22, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Er the problem inviting you Ezra is that it would make everyone else look like they didn't know what they were talking about. Bad news. It would be like those times that Paul Krugman is on the ABC roundtable and has to patiently explain why everything George Will just said about the economy was wrong.

Posted by: Castorp1 | June 22, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

It's the politics of the situation that these hacks care about, not the policy. Rather than explain the whys and wherefores of how the CBO actually works, and that it scored a fairy-tale bill that no one was actually proposing, they simply use it to continue their yammering without substance. If they weren't so intellectually dishonest, they'd never be able to get people like George Will to show. No one likes to be made the fool.

Posted by: PPhilly | June 22, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Dear MtP: Please have Ezra on a roundtable. You can now can him a Washington Post staff reporter focused on health care, and who could complain about that? Sincerely, me. PS: Thank you for reading Ezra's comment section.

Posted by: Chris_O | June 22, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

They do a cursory job because they don't care, they have health care and are more interested in the beltway politics of it than the potential legislation.

Posted by: nowickedwitch | June 22, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

If its any comfort, I stopped watching MTP as soon as they announced that that doofus, otherwise known as Rove's dancing partner, would be the "moderator." What an a$$.

Posted by: donovong | June 22, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Jeff Immelt, saw Howdy Doody's, er, David Gregory's ill-informed tweet, or the flat out lie that Nina Easton spewed on MTP. In light of GE's push to get a piece of healthcare reform (http://industry.bnet.com/healthcare/1000623/ge-plans-broad-push-in-healthcare/), it looks like he might be reconsidering NBC's choice of Gregory to replace the irreplaceable Tim Russert. Rhodes scholar Dr. Rachel Maddow would have been a much wiser choice. Gregory just doesn't have the intellectual chops for the job.

Posted by: nils_desperandum | June 22, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I wish everyone would read James Fallows' article in the Jan.'95 Atlantic Monthly titled "A Triumph of Misinformation", available online. It gives an in depth description of how inaccurate the coverage of the Clintons' health care reform. The same process, and in many cases the same ignorant and/or dishonest players (I mean you Rush and George Will) are at it again this time.

It is long past time the American public stopped being bamboozled by these fools. We need to inform ourselves, then speak out.

Besides the Fallows article, another excellent source of information is Frontline's review of health care systems in other developed countries, "Sick Around the World". Their website has the complete video as well as a summary and other background information about the issue.

I find just from a few sources like these and Paul Krugman I am more knowledgeable than most national reporters who are shaping the debate. Our democracy cannot function with this level of ignorance and deception.

Posted by: BernieO | June 23, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I think it's pretty obvious that David Gregory has smashed the ceiling of the Peter Principle...to the viewer's detriment, and apparently the same is true of Easton. No wonder she has spent so much time on Faux News.

Posted by: newjersey_lawyer | June 23, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

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