Why Won't ABC and NBC Run an Ad Critical of Obama's Health Care Reform Plan?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 27, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Why won't ABC and NBC run an ad critical of President Obama's health care plan? This is the ad by the League of American Voters that won't make it onto those two national networks.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can Obama's plan cover 50 million new patients without any new doctors? It can't. It will hurt our seniors, end Medicare as we know it, ration coverage and care, limit life-saving medicines, impose long delays on cancer treatment and other vital surgery. It's happening in England and in Canada. Don't let it happen here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell Congress to protect American health care. Paid for by the League of American Voters.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the group behind that ad wants to know why the networks won't run it. Their local affiliates have aired it, but the two national networks that we named will not. Why not? Well, ABC, who hosted an hour-long special on health care reform from the White House, says they rejected the ad because its policy is not to sell time for advertising that presents a partisan position on a controversial public issue, while NBC says it will reconsider the ad once the network gets some more information.

And still with us is Dick Morris, the author of "Catastrophe." He's also, though, the chief strategist for the organization the League of American Voters. And I've done a little research myself, not a lot, but says FOX is in talks about putting it on and CBS has approved.

So tell me, first of all, what is this organization, Dick?

DICK MORRIS, AUTHOR OF "CATASTROPHE": It's a conservative group that is opposed to health care, Obama's health care proposal and feels very strongly about it. And the point that I made to them in my consulting with them was that this debate has to be focused on the elderly. The concerns about socialized medicine and government and taxes and so on are all well and good, but if you're going to back the Democratic Party off this bill, it's got to be by explaining to the elderly what this bill means.

In fact, I was just thrilled yesterday because Congresswoman Betsy Markey of Colorado, a Democrat, strong supporter of this bill, told her town hall meeting there's going to be some people who are going to give up some things honestly for this health care reform to work, but we will do this because we're are Americans. And she spoke about the cuts in Medicare that are coming. And this ad really explains those cuts.

Now, Obama says, I don't have any cuts in benefits. There's nothing here that says I won't cover cancer or I won't cover heart disease. But there is something in the bill that says that you have to cut $500 billion out of Medicare over 10 years. Now, when Gingrich tried to cut Medicare, he enumerated those cuts. Here Obama punts on it and says, We'll set up a commission that will make the decision as to what to cut, and Congress will have a very limited window to modify it or override it, effectively no way of doing it.

And then he also says, We're going to cut reimbursement rates to hospitals, which obviously means there'll be less care and the people that'll hurt the most will be the elderly.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Dick, the thing that bothers me about the bill most of all is I can't even get to the substance of it because it's 1,500 pages that, frankly, I find incomprehensible, very poorly written. And I think that a bill can be plainly written. And so I can't understand reforming a system with, basically, you know, a pile of chaos. That's the first thing.

But one of the -- one of the things that is said is that this bill will cause rationed care.

MORRIS: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Isn't the ugly truth that we really do -- I mean, that that's almost a bogus argument, we do have rationed care? Some people have far better, you know, influence with their doctors, get more (INAUDIBLE) That's even -- that's not a lousy argument. I think, you know, we're almost better off -- I mean, I -- I don't know. Maybe you feel differently about it than I do.

MORRIS: Well, I do. Now, we, to the extent that we ration care, it's true, if you're not insured, you will be treated in an emergency room, but you can't go to your dermatologist and -- you know, unless you have cancer, so that there is a rationing based on whether you're a citizen or not, whether you're here legally or not, and whether you're insured are not.

Now, bear in mind that the only people that lack health insurance are, by definition, people under 65, over 21, and who make more than poverty because those three groups are all covered by existing programs. Some people don't apply, but they're all covered. So...

VAN SUSTEREN: Also, the people -- also the people who might lose a job because the economy's really bad and can't move to another job because they're unavailable and they've lost their insurance. So there is that group that's under 65 that -- that, you know, can't get insurance.

MORRIS: Well, under 65, but the administration stimulus package provides that they can continue to get their current coverage, and there are subsidies to help them get it. That was included in...

VAN SUSTEREN: If they've got a job to pay for it! If they got a job (INAUDIBLE) got such a rotten economy...

MORRIS: Yes, I know, but...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... with the -- you know...

MORRIS: Government is...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... with the unemployment.

MORRIS: Government is helping subsidize that. But my basic point is that what this does is it takes all of that rationing and puts it on senior citizens because it essentially says, We're now going to ration based on need, and need means how many quality-adjusted years of life do you have remaining. And I take it very personally. I write about this in my book, "Catastrophe." My dad is 99 years old. When he was 95, he had to have his colon removed. And he's alive and I've had four wonderful years with him because of that. He'd be dead under this bill because who on earth would approve a colon operation on a 95-year-old? Give the operating time to a 45-year-old. My uncle has terminal...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think...

MORRIS: ... has colon cancer...

VAN SUSTEREN: I think we'd all be...

MORRIS: Same problem.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think we'd all be dead under the -- I think we'd all be dead under the bill because no one could figure it out to figure out who's covered. But that's just because I have such a problem with those 1,500 pages...

MORRIS: A detective novel it's not.


VAN SUSTEREN: No, there are no...

MORRIS: Although it is a whodunnit!


VAN SUSTEREN: Dick, thank you, as always.

MORRIS: Thank you, Greta.

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