Good Morning America's Jake Tapper on Monday interviewed a woman selected by the White House to represent victims of the health care industry. Tapper emphasized the sad case of Natoma Canfield, a cancer victim who "had to drop her Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance because her monthly premiums kept skyrocketing." Yet, the ABC correspondent provided no horror stories from those who deal with government-run health care.
He explained, "The President has been trying to tell [Canfield's] story to the nation." Obama mentioned Canfield in his campaign-style speech in Ohio to promote the health care legislation. However, back in February, neither Tapper, nor ABC spotlighted the case of Danny Williams, the premier of the Canadian province of Newfoundland.
On February 25, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, staff writer Sally Pipes informed that Mr. Williams "traveled to the United States earlier this month to undergo heart valve surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami." She added, "With his trip, Williams joined a long list of Canadians who have decided that they prefer American medicine to their own country's government-run health system when their lives are on the line."
Certainly, the case of Ms. Canfield is tragic. But, equally real are the cases of those who suffer from fewer doctors and rationed care. Victims shouldn't be used simply to promote the agenda of the White House.
A transcript of the March 15 segment, which aired at 7:05am, follows:
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn now to health care's, President Obama's make or break week. President Obama has delayed his trip to Asia so he can be close by the Capitol to convince those final wavering Democrats to pass the bill he's been pushing for the last year. Jake Tapper and Jon Karl on top of the intense activity at the White House and on Capitol Hill. And we begin with Jake Tapper and the President's closing arguments. And, Jake, it is going to be an emotional one today.
JAKE TAPPER: That's exactly right, George. President Obama for his final public push heads to Ohio today. It's a state he picked so he could appear alongside a local woman, Natoma Canfield, whose struggles with insurance premiums President Obama has been talking about for the last few weeks. But, since the President started talking about her story, Canfield's tale has become even more tragic. The President has been trying to tell her story to the nation.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: There's a woman named Natoma Canfield. She's got cancer in Ohio, had to drop her insurance, even though it may cause her her house.
TAPPER: Natoma Canfield, a Ohio cleaning woman and breast cancer survivor, had to drop her Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance because her monthly premiums kept skyrocketing.
NATOMA CANFIELD (cancer patient): I just could not do it. I just don't earn that much money.
TAPPER: After the President started telling her story, Canfield was rushed to the hospital.
CANFIELD: Everything kind of just went blue and gray and I lost sight and almost collapsed.
TAPPER: She was just diagnosed with leukemia. And you don't have insurance anymore, is that right?
CANFIELD: That's correct.
TAPPER: It expired in January?
CANFIELD: Yes, the thing I was most afraid of has happened sooner than I thought.
TAPPER: Which is what?
CANFIELD: Which is what if there would be a catastrophe and I was in the hospital and had some pretty big medical bills.
TAPPER: The White House said the health care reform would help Canfield by bringing down costs and making sure insurers are not able to deny her coverage because of her previous bout with cancer.
OBAMA: But, laying in a hospital bed, worrying about how you're going to pay for your bills. That's hard. I know. My mother went through that.
TAPPER: But Republicans say the Democrats bill will only make health care worse. And Democrats are forcing it through the Congress and on the American people.
SENATE: LINDSEY GRAHAM: If they do this, it's going to poison the well for anything else they'd like to achieve this year or thereafter.
TAPPER: And, George, Canfield had been invited to introduce the President at today's rally in Ohio, but she's too sick to do so. So, her sister will be doing that. George?