NBC's Bias in Bachmann Medicaid Story


Progressive media has launched a new attack on Rep. Michele Bachmann, that of her husband’s health clinic which received Medicaid patients.

Newsbusters writes:

On Wednesday’s NBC Today, correspondent Kelly O’Donnell declared that Michele Bachmann “faces new candidate scrutiny, including financial records for a family business” and proceeded to hype a non-controversy of a mental health clinic run by Michele Bachmann’s husband accepting Medicaid reimbursements for treating low-income patients.


O’DONNELL: The couple owns Bachmann & Associates, a Minnesota mental health clinic run by the Congresswoman’s husband, who is a clinical therapist. While Bachmann campaigns for less government spending and opposes an expansion of Medicaid, NBC News obtained state records that show the Bachmanns’ clinic received government funds. $137,000 In federal and state medicaid payments since 2005. That money considered reimbursement for treatment provided to low-income patients.

NBC makes many assumptions in this story, the immediate being that the Bachmanns were getting rich off government money and Medicaid patients. As any health facility or practitioner will tell you, you don’t get rich off of Medicaid. You lose money with Medicaid. The American Hospitals Association released a report in 2009 showing that for every dollar spent on caring for Medicaid patients, facilities only received 89 cents on the dollar in return — a loss on services.

Underpayment by Medicare and Medicaid to U.S. hospitals reached $32.4 billion in 2008, up from $31.9 billion in 2007 and $3.8 billion in 2000. Medicare reimbursed 91 cents and Medicaid reimbursed 89 cents for every dollar hospitals spent caring for these patients. The data are summarized in two AHA fact sheets, available online.

My colleague in radio, Dr. Randy Tobler, has discussed how his returns are even lower than that.

This is a situation wherein the Bachmanns are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Would the media have preferred Marcus Bachmann turning away poor patients? NBC and the rest of the press would have excoriated them all the same.

Interesting – because the media didn’t do so when First Lady Michelle Obama was the VP of the University of Chicago Medical Center. She pioneered the Urban Health Initiative, a cleverly designed program that disguised a refusal to treat Medicaid patients as a neighborhood referral. The nonprofit received five times the tax breaks than their actual charitable work and ranked lower than other facilities in charity.

So according to the media, it was OK for Michelle Obama to save money with underwhelming charity work and the refusal to see Medicaid patients but Michele Bachmann’s husband treats Medicaid patients at a loss — while she votes against Medicaid expansion and her own interests — and somehow she’s the hypocrite?

What was that about “there is no liberal media bias?”


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