Johnson is a long-time advocate for a major expansion of the government's role in health care. On the March 1 World News, Johnson complained: “We spend more than twice as much per person on health care in this country as the average of all other industrialized countries, yet we’re the only one that doesn’t have universal coverage. That’s a national shame.” A few days later, Johnson participated in Obama’s health care forum, then expressed awe: “I was blown away by President Obama’s grasp of the subject, how he connected the dots, how he answered the questions without any script.” More in the MRC BiasAlert by Rich Noyes, “ABC Picks Universal Health Care Fan for Obama Health Care Special.”
The exchange on the Monday, June 15 World News on ABC:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Tim, one of the places where the President really got applause today from the doctors is when he said that our health care system should let them be healers, again, instead of bean counters and he keeps tying that to these studies that show the highest cost areas in the country are where doctors act like businessmen, not caregivers.
TIM JOHNSON: It was a very tender moment. I have to say, George, the vast majority of physicians I know, and have worked with over the years, would much rather be healers than bean counters, or as he put it, paper pushers. And so I think he struck a raw nerve with those words and he got an extended ovation during those words and I think he was right on target at reaching out to the heart of most physicians.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll see if it brings them around.
Stephanopoulos proceeded to plug ABC's Wednesday, June 24 prime time special with Obama at the White House, moderated by Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer with participation by Dr. Tim Johnson, “Questions for the President: Prescription for America.”