Last week, ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson" made the case for socialized medicine when it suggested the VA hospital system is a successful example of government-run medicine.
"Millions of older Americans are facing an important decision right now," anchor Charles Gibson said. "And some hard sell insurance agents see them as easy targets. Every December, seniors choose between Medicare or any of dozens of private plans that compete with the government. This year, almost 9 million opted for the private plans. And as ABC's David Muir reports, some now have serious regrets."
"World News" used one piece of anecdotal evidence where private insurance allegedly didn't work. A 76-year-old man from Chickasha, Okla., named Bobby Box ran up a $45,000 in medical bills but didn't realize his Medicare Advantage plan didn't cover some expenses when he signed up for it. Box told "World News" he was tricked.
"He had Medicare but says an insurance agent told him he could do better and enrolled him in a private plan, a so-called Medicare Advantage Plan," Muir said. "Hundreds of companies now sell these plans to seniors, and sometimes these plans can work to their advantage. But the problem is in many cases, seniors are pushed to sign up, not realizing what they're getting, or as Bobby learned, what they're not getting."
But, at the end of the story it was revealed the plan had indeed covered his needs.
The story had no voice from private insurance providers, but did offer comment from Robert Hayes, president of the Medicare Rights Center - a non-profit organization that advocates expanding the role of Medicare and calls for more regulation in the Medicare private health plan marketplace.
"There are millions of people who are being tricked," Hayes said.
As for the other side, the only offering was a small comment from Muir.
"The insurance industry says it's cracking down on bad agents who give these plans a bad name," Muir said. "As for Bobby, he fought for months and got that hospital bill paid. He's now back on Medicare, where he believes he should have stayed in the first place."
This is the latest round of ABC favoring government health care over private options. On December 10-12, "World News" ran a three-part series about socialized medicine and even suggested the VA Hospital system was evidence government-ran health care works.