MSNBC Wrongly Hints Most Voters Want to End Private Health Insurance

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On Thursday afternoon, MSNBC host Katy Tur seemed to be misinformed about a recent poll of Iowa Democratic caucus voters which found that most support ending private health insurance as the MSNBC host omitted the word "Democrats" and stated that it was a poll of "Iowa caucus goers" and later simply "Iowans."

Tur then brought aboard liberal activist Wendell Potter and gave him a forum to advocate for a single-payer health care system that eliminates private insurance.

Although media outlets like CNN and Reuters reported that the Edison Research poll results were of Democratic voters, Tur misleadingly set up the segment:

 

 

KATY TUR: We may not have gotten any results on caucus night, but we did learn something pretty interesting. According to entrance, 50 percent -- I'm sorry, 57 percent of Iowa caucus goers said they support eliminating private health insurance and establishing a single-payer health care system, compared to just 38 percent who oppose. Among those same voters polled, health care was the most important issue, far outpacing the second-ranked issue, climate change.

After introducing her guest, the MSNBC host repeated the misinformation as she began by posing: "So when you look at these numbers and found out that 57 percent of Iowans would support getting rid of private health care, what does it say to you?"

As he answered her second question, Potter also failed to clarify that the poll they were discussing was of just Democratic voters as he suggested most voters generally would want a single-payer system:

POTTER: I absolutely think that we will see this continue. Nationally, 75 percent of Democrats support Medicare for All. A majority -- a significant majority of independents do. And, generally, it has over 50 percent support now which again is something that we haven't seen in the past.

Toward the end of the segment, Potter talked up the likelihood that private insurance advocates would fail to convince voters to oppose single payer:

POTTER: Because of the alarm in the insurance industry, they will be pouring tons and tons of money -- in Iowa alone, they spent millions of dollars to try to scare people away from Medicare for All. At one point, they were spending more on ads than any of the candidates. So it will be -- as I've often said -- the mother of all propaganda campaigns against it. But I think they're seeing -- the industry is seeing that it's just not working like it used to.

Tur continued to stick with the premise that the poll found most Iowa voters want single payer as she concluded the segment:

TUR: It didn't work in Iowa.

POTTER: People are not going to be afraid like they have been.

TUR: It didn't work in Iowa.

POTTER: It did not.

It is common knowledge among those who follow presidential politics that caucuses tend to have substantially lower turnout than a general election or even a primary, and a Democratic caucus is mostly made up of very committed voters who are much further left than average. But Tur never even clarified that the survey was just for the Democratic caucuses anyway.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Thursday, February 6, MSNBC Live with Katy Tur:

MSNBC Live with Katy Tur:

2/6/2020

2:41 p.m. Eastern

KATY TUR: We may not have gotten any results on caucus night, but we did learn something pretty interesting. According to entrance, 50 percent -- I'm sorry, 57 percent of Iowa caucus goers said they support eliminating private health insurance and establishing a single-payer health care system, compared to just 38 percent who oppose. Among those same voters polled, health care was the most important issue, far outpacing the second-ranked issue, climate change.

Joining me now, former health insurance executive Wendell Potter, who blew the whistle on the health insurance industry, leading to many of the reforms included in the Affordable Care Act. He is currently the president of Business for Medicare for All. Wendell, it is really great to have you.

So when you look at these numbers and found out that 57 percent of Iowans would support getting rid of private health care, what does it say to you?

WENDELL POTTER: Well, it says to me that the propaganda campaigns that I used to help create and carry out just aren't working anymore. This would have been my worst nightmare when I was in the industry. To see those kinds of results and to see Medicare for All was resonating so much that you've got at least the top three candidates -- two of the top three candidates strongly supporting it. Even Pete Buttigieg has the name "Medicare for All" in his plan, so it just shows you how strong that brand is now and how it's resonating with the public.

TUR: For all who want it, with an asterisk. When you see numbers like this -- and, listen, you have to look ahead to New Hampshire and Nevada, South Carolina, and all the Super Tuesday states -- Iowa is just the beginning -- but do you expect to see those numbers reflected in who ends up winning the various primaries going forward?

POTTER: I absolutely think that we will see this continue. Nationally, 75 percent of Democrats support Medicare for All. A majority -- a significant majority of independents do. And, generally, it has over 50 percent support now which again is something that we haven't seen in the past.

(...)

POTTER: Because of the alarm in the insurance industry, they will be pouring tons and tons of money -- in Iowa alone, they spent millions of dollars to try to scare people away from Medicare for All. At one point, they were spending more on ads than any of the candidates. So it will be -- as I've often said -- the mother of all propaganda campaigns against it. But I think they're seeing -- the industry is seeing that it's just not working like it used to.

TUR: It didn't work in Iowa.

POTTER: People are not going to be afraid like they have been.

TUR: It didn't work in Iowa.

POTTER: It did not.

 

TUR: Wendell, thank you so much for joining us.

NB Daily 2020 Presidential Medicare Health Care Medical Insurance Polling Liberals & Democrats MSNBC MSNBC Live Video Katy Tur Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren


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