- $1 million+: Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, Prudential Financial
- $500,000 - $999,999: Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Allstate Insurance Company, Northwestern Mutual Foundation
- $250,000 - $499,999: AARP, The Hartford Financial Services Group, UnumProvident
- $100,000 – $249,999: Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
***A slight correction: I found that by searching "Physicians for a National Health Program" there was one relatively recent (Dec. 24, 2008) report that focused on the single-payer plan; however, the whole point of that Christmas Eve coal-in-the-stocking from NPR was how single-payer is neither as popular nor realistic as supporters claim. It featured Baucus and Rep. Pete Stark poo-pooing single-payer and Rovner relying on one dud poll to claim that "while single-payer has won big majorities in many polls, in this one it came in dead last" (How's that for unbiased?).
Now that Obama and the Dem's sadly watered-down health care proposal is working its way through the bowels of Congress [and still facing attacks from the GOP, PhRMA, and insurance industry because of the public option] I thought it might be worthwhile to put NPR's most recent health care stories into perspective and see whose viewpoints (i.e. $$$) hold sway.
My poor little post of last Friday - noting how TWO features on Morning Edition flogged the public option - had barely seen the light of cyberspace when the next morning NPR felt obliged to give oft-consulted Karen Ignagni of AHIP ("enemy number one" of single payer) unchallenged airtime to denounce the public option with the help of Scott Simon. Instead of responding here - I dropped a comment (reprinted at the end of this post) on NPR's site.
Since then things have only gotten worse. On Sunday morning Rovner claimed that "the bill coming up this week is going to be the most left-leaning if you will...could provide subsidies to people earning up to 5 times the poverty level...so this may be the farthest to the left of all." With that salvo, is it any wonder that on Tuesday morning Steve Inskeep was all over Kathleen Sebelius with the Republican talking points about the public option and denouncing single-payer:
- "I want to understand this number because...Republicans have said, quoted a study, way over a hundred million Americans...so what's your number?"
- "Just the numbers you mention...this option, this public option, if it passes as you imagine is going to be vast."
- "....people in Congress are talking about putting some kind of limit on this public plan...what kind of limits are you prepared to expect..."
- "...would you accept a limit that would say this is just not going to be a national health insurance at some point in the future...?"
- "Can you say flat out it's just never going to be single-player health insurance....?"
You might think I'm selectively picking only the anti-public plan stories or the anti-single player reports. If you can find any featuring a positive tilt on either the public-plan or single-player, let me know; when I searched NPR to see if even a few of the major proponents of progressive health care reform have been featured in the last two weeks, here's what I found:
- Progressive Democrats of America - nothing
- California Nurses Association -nada
- Physicians for a National Health Plan - zilch
[My comment left at NPR below Scott Simon's schmooze with Karen Ignani]:
Congratulations NPR - as a "public" news station you have done a great service by providing a voice to the voiceless: the health insurance industry which lacks the funds and connections to get it's message out. After yesterday's Republican slant on the public plan from Liasson, Rovner, and Inskeep - you showed a brave commitment to your mission statement ["'Fair' means that we present all important views on a subject."] by giving yet more airtime to the insurance lobby this morning.
Methinks it's time to tell your member stations to stop begging for support from the public (whose opinions don't seem to amount to much on NPR) and to just plug into the money stream from the insurance industry that you are so loyal to.