CBS Latches Onto Liberal Group's Study on Prescription Drug Choice

     President Bush’s prescription drug plan has been panned by conservatives and liberals, for different reasons. But in his June 21 "Evening News" report when CBS’s Wyatt Andrews presented the objections of a liberal health care advocacy group, he suggested competition in health care leaves senior citizens worse off than government monopoly.


     “The consumer group Families USA finds that down the line” drugs many senior citizens use like Celebrex and Zocor “saw steep increases driving up what seniors pay,” Andrews noted before including a sound bite from the group’s executive director, Ron Pollack.


     While Andrews did include a rebuttal from a Bush administration official who criticized Pollack’s study, Andrews’s refusal to identify the “consumer group’s” liberal politics is no small matter given how he closed his story: “When Congress decided to let private insurance companies handle the drug benefit, it was gambling that private competition would drive down pricing. Now there’s a report saying that decision is costing untold billions,” he concluded.


     What Andrews left out is how that sentiment fits squarely with Families USA, which in 1994 supported the Clinton plan for a federal takeover of health care.


     In the Aug. 27, 1994, New York Times, writer Robert Pear celebrated “crusaders for universal health insurance coverage” like Pollack whose “dream had been deferred but would not die.”


     At that time, Pollack told Pear, “When one tries to achieve comprehensive, significant social changes … those things don’t happen overnight.”