PBS' "Frontline" biases coverage to help insurance companies

In a nation as rich as America, basic medical coverage should be a right, not a privilege purchased from private insurance firms.

We could save tens of billions by eliminating the expensive paperwork insurance companies use to screen out high-risk health insurance applicants and to deny coverage to policyholders (by digging up evidence they had a “pre-existing condition”). And the U.S. government — negotating with hospitals and pharmaceutical companies on behalf of all Americans — would have great power to negotiate major price cuts in the absurdly expensive American healthcare system.

By cutting out insurance companies, a “single-payer” system would be far more efficient than our present system. The logic is completely clear.

Why then did PBS' Frontline slant its coverage of healthcare in America to the benefit of insurance companies?

Even though Reid did the reporting for the film, he was cut out of the film when it aired this week.

And the film didn’t present Reid’s bottom line for health care reform — don’t let health insurance companies profit from selling basic health insurance. They can sell for-profit insurance for extras – breast enlargements, botox, hair transplants. But not for the basic health needs of the American people.

Instead, the film that aired Monday pushed the view that Americans be required to purchase health insurance from for-profit companies…

“We spent months shooting that film,” Reid explains. “I was the correspondent. We did our last interview on January 6. The producers went to Boston and made the documentary. About late February I saw it for the first time. And I told them I disagreed with it. They listened to me, but they didn’t want to change it.”

…“I said I’m not going to be in a film that contradicts my previous film and my book. They said – I had to be in the film because I was under contract. I insisted that I couldn’t be. And we parted ways.”

“Doctors, hospitals, nurses, labs can all be for-profit,” Reid said. “But the payment system has to be non-profit. All the other countries have agreed on that. We are the only one that allows health insurance companies to make a profit. You can’t allow a profit to be made on the basic package of health insurance.”

Posted by James on Friday, April 03, 2009