Varney’s piece addressed the notion of rationing, often used as a scare tactic by right-wing groups. In Canada, the experts told KQED listeners, care is rationed according to need; in the U.S., it’s rationed by the ability to get insurance and pay the bills.
Granted, KQED is a public radio station, but we don’t see why some of the stories it has tackled can’t be replicated by enterprising TV producers and reporters—that is, if they are seriously interested in transcending health care’s image as a ratings buster. The story Varney did for radio I did in print for Consumer Reports in 1992. I, too, went to Vancouver to investigate the claims conservative interests were making, and, like Varney, I found them untruthful. I interviewed some of the same people she did—Evans and Barer—who told me the same things they told Varney. That was one of the best and most enlightening reporting experiences of my career. If we can do a story that worked well in print for its time and now works well in radio and on the Web, why can’t it be done on TV?