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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Local Health Care Debates Without Paul Ryan?

Posted in the Janesville Gazette's “Latest News” Web Page newsbox on Monday was this link - Gingrich to appear at Wis. fundraiser for Walker 5:43 a.m. This "news story" was published under "BRIEFS" in the hard copy on page 5A.

Posted on page 3 of Monday's Gazette hard copy was a story mistitled, "Health Care Debate Comes to Janesville." Obviously, health care is a hugely debated topic this very minute, yet the two events held in Janesville are not true debates in that sense. The events are hosted by one of Wisconsin's leading health care advocates, Paulette Garin, and invite the general public to attend. Garin will present the various plans that are currently being discussed in Congress. The events are meant to be educational.

The main point here is that the Janesville Gazette took a simple and straight forward local event announcement not too dissimilar from Gingrich's scheduled appearance in Milwaukee (a GOP fundraiser getting news coverage!), and attempted to re-characterize and politicize the health care event before Garin has a chance to tell it. The newspaper literally carried out their own debate on their terms and attempted to trump Garin's viewpoint with quotes from Rep. Paul Ryan.
JG Excerpt:
A government approach means higher taxes, Ryan said. He proposes instead tax benefits that would help people buy private health insurance. He said his plan would also bring about universal health coverage, but it would be a totally private insurance system.
I've got to be careful around here when quoting Paul Ryan or the Janesville Gazette, because when I quote them accurately it's called either "out of context" or a "smear campaign." But does anyone really know what a "tax benefit" is? And how will a "tax benefit" pay for health care when oftentimes real hard earned cash isn't enough? As Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont said, "every dollar of premium that a private insurance company does not spend on health care is a dollar more in profits."
JG Excerpt:
Ryan said his plan would allow patients to make their own coverage and health care decisions.
How can the population have universal health coverage yet everyone has their own individual plan? Classic Ryan double-talk. Words put together to sound good but actually mean nothing.

So here's the rub. Given the complexity and urgency of health care reform, it is critical that media report on the subject fairly and accurately. On both accounts, the Gazette failed. But since the Gazette wrote up Garin's health care info events as "debates" and injected Paul Ryan's view into her schedule, why not man up on the challenge they presented and call Paul Ryan in to debate Garin on health care reform at one of Janesville's high schools? Instead of playing his surrogate against the health care advocate. I'm guessing here she would oblige.

"Healthcare for all is more a destination of clear thinking and the pursuit of human progress than a political position." -- from a friend

NOTE: This posting is the independent perspective of its author.

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