Medicine is a major beat on the nightly newscasts and all three networks have correspondents assigned fulltime to health issues. Yet when Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled a plan for mandatory universal healthcare coverage for all California residents, all three networks had their general-assignment Los Angeles based reporters cover the story. Expertise in medicine, apparently, does not extend to expertise in healthcare.
In ABC's A Closer Look, Brian Rooney (subscription required) explained how Scwarzenegger planned to fund his program: the gross income of doctors and hospitals would be taxed; the state hopes that universal preventive care prevents more expensive emergency care later on; and many lower middle class households would be forced to buy insurance. CBS' Sandra Hughes weighed the benefits for the state's 6.5m uninsured against the extra burden on its small businesses.
And NBC went In Depth into the plan. George Lewis put it in a national context. He traced the trend of state legislatures, spurred by the "lack of action in Washington:" some states plan to offer guaranteed coverage only for children; Schwarzenegger wants to include adults too.
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