John King Pitches "Gotcha" Questions to Sebelius

I listened to John King (a Republican shill) interview Kathleen Sebelius on State of the Union. He was playing "gotcha" and Sebelius rolls over to let him scratch her belly. I have to paraphase this because there isn't  a transcript yet. John King asked:

Secretary Sebelius, according to President Obama in this NYT op-ed; he says if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. Is it true in the coming market after reform that you can guarantee you will be able to keep your doctor? I mean if your employer changes plans or goes to the Public Option will you be able to guarantee you can keep your doctor?

Secretary Sebelius was interrupted and was put off as John King went in for the "kill". Sebelius equivocated and was clear as mud. "Physicians retire, relocate and die, so no; there's no guarantee". John King is now crowing in a later segment that "Sebelius conceded the point". Sebelius dodged, when she should have charged:

John you are referring to our current system and not a system that could happen with a Public Option.

Sebelius didn't concede the point, but that won't stop John King from lying about it spinning his point of view. Sebelius is not a strong porponent of the Public Option and it showed in her interview. And the quote all over the tubes of her saying a public option is "not the essential element" of health care reform isn't helping. Our secretary of HHS, who usually is prepared and does a better job defending health care reform; blew it. She blew it because she doesn't think the Public Option is essential. Because she doesn't think it's essential, she does a poor job advocating for health care reform. John King is an obvious shill and she shied away from his hardball.

What Sebelius should have said is:

John you are referring to our current system and not a system that could happen with a Public Option.

What the President is saying is if you like your current health insurance and their network of doctors, keep it. You don't have to elect to go onto the Public Option. You can elect to stay with your current insurance. That should allow you to stay with your current physician, but as you know our health care system isn't always this simple.

What you are referring to is our current system that forces people to change their doctors every time their employer changes plans to a new network of doctors that doesn't include their current doctor; which under our present system, happens to people about once every 3 years. As you know, 80% of all people get their insurance through their employer who makes those decisions.

When your employer changes plans you don't have the option to remain with the old plan. Your choice is go with the new plan, find your own plan or drop your insurance altogether. When your employer changes health insurance plans, you may be faced with a physician that won't accept the new insurance and you'll have to change doctors.

Creating an open to all Public Option would be a solution to this problem.

Most people don't have to change their doctor when they obtain Medicare, a public insurance. What typically happens to most people, once they go onto a public plan like Medicare, is that the only time they have to change physicians is if their physician retires, relocates out of town, dies or has been disenrolled from the program due to fraud and abuse. The other way they may have to change physicians is if they choose to go into a Medicare Advantage Plan that has a smaller list of enrolled physicians.

America wants a simple yes or no to this question, but our health care system is so complex; you can't get a simple answer like that. I have not been able to identify the source of John King's pro-Republican bias, but it's obvious in his reporting. He knows there's no simple yes, no answer and sets up what he thought was the perfect "gotcha" to discredit Sebelius and pro-health care reform. He was no more effective than Sebelius, but he doesn't see it that way.

Facts get in the way of a good story and higher viewer ratings. John King knows how to spin a story where there is no story and this is no exception.

The real story is the people will have far more stable medical homes if a Public Option is in the mix of choices made available to them, but John King isn't interested in a real story. He's too busy promoting his point of view with the blessing of CNN.

The real story is that the Democratic majority acts like it doesn't have the stomach for a tough political fight. Obama has his leadership team all over the place and his message isn't clear. Health care reform will continue to be in trouble until President Obama tells his team the script that they need to stay on.

  1. We have an insurance bureaucrat between you and your doctor.

  1. Insurance companies determine the care we receive, not our doctors.

  1. Insurance companies have near monopolies in the majority of markets.

  1. The Public Option offers consumers more choices, not less.

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