It’s not very often that a reporter for a major cable news network will openly express their desire to see political change, but viewers of CNN’s In The Money on May 13 heard just that. CNN Headline News correspondent Jennifer Westhoven was interviewing the New America Foundation’s Len Nichols, along with Money host Jack Cafferty and CNN business contributor Andy Serwer, on the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. Following Nichols’ conclusion that the Bush administration was "far right of the edge" on health care policy, Westhoven wrapped up the interview by expressing her desire to see "different" political leaders [i.e. Democrats] in office.
Len Nichols: "...I would say it’s very important to keep a distinction between the Bush administration’s philosophy and Republican philosophy. In my opinion, the Bush administration is the far-right of the edge, and most Republicans are not there, which is why Chuck Grassley, the chair of Senate Finance, among others, have worked very hard to try to correct the mistakes of this implementation process and I think as we go forward we do have hope of bipartisan success."
Jennifer Westhoven: "Len Nichols, director of the health policy program at the New America Foundation. Thank you very much. And we will hope that there’ll be maybe some different political leaders at some point, maybe after the elections, who are looking out for people who are getting left out by some of these programs. Thank you."
Jack Cafferty, CNN’s resident curmudgeon, couldn’t contain his true feelings on this topic either. Cafferty charged that the prescription drug benefit plan was little more than a gift to pharmaceutical companies, and that providing benefits to senior citizens was not the main objective of the program.
Nichols: "...What this shows is that a pure market unaided system leaves the most vulnerable behind and we have to think harder about how to make rules so that won’t happen."
Jack Cafferty: "But then, I mean, this wasn’t a surprise to anybody. This thing was drawn up by the big pharmaceutical companies. This thing was done with the idea of protecting their bottom line, and, oh, if we can help somebody save a couple of bucks along the way, okay, but we’re not going to put Big Pharma in jeopardy."