ABC Picks Universal Health Care Fan for Obama Health Care Special

ABC will be awarding an hour of primetime next Wednesday, June 24, to President Obama as part of the White House's push on health care (10pm ET). Among the participants from ABC News: the network's medical editor, Dr. Timothy Johnson, who has long been a fan of exactly the sort of big government plan Obama is peddling. It probably won't be a tough night for the President.

During the Obama administration's first 100 days, for example, an MRC analysis found him to be the "biggest cheerleader" on behalf of Obama's liberal prescription for health care. An excerpt from MRC's Special Report: Cheerleaders for the Revolution:

ABC medical editor Dr. Tim Johnson was perhaps the biggest cheerleader, celebrating news that Obama wanted $634 billion for a new health care fund. "Health care experts that I've talked to today are thrilled with this budget proposal. They see it as a very strong signal from the President that he is indeed very serious about health care reform and willing to put a lot of money behind his rhetoric," Johnson exulted on February 26.

Three days later, on the March 1 World News, Johnson made his perspective clear: "We spend more than twice as much per person on health care in this country as the average of all other industrialized countries, yet we're the only one that doesn't have universal coverage. That's a national shame."

On March 5, Johnson participated in Obama's health care forum, then went on World News to tell anchor Charles Gibson about the experience: "I have to tell you, Charlie, I was blown away by President Obama's grasp of the subject, how he connected the dots, how he answered the questions without any script."

During the presidential campaign last year, Johnson opined in favor of Obama's plans for health care while panning GOP candidate John McCain's options. On the October 7 Good Morning America, Johnson insisted health care was a "right" guaranteed by the government: "I'm struck by the language of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Without good health, and that usually means without good health care, it's hard to have those other rights."

During the big debate over health care in the Clinton administration, Johnson struck the same liberal notes. He gushed to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton back on July 19, 1994: "So at least from the physicians represented here, you get a 100 percent vote, including mine, for universal coverage."

He also argued, on the September 24, 1993 20/20: "The Clintons are almost heroes in my mind for finally facing up to the terrible problems we have with our current health care system and bringing it to the attention of the public....Most people, I think, will be better off."

For more about Johnson's cheerleading for Hillary-care, see the October 21, 2003 CyberAlert.

-Rich Noyes is Research Director at the Media Research Center.