On KPCC, Marmor pointed out that when medical personnel are paid for each activity performed, all hell breaks loose if there are no budgets to limit spending or in some way “fiscally constrain the amount [of money] available.” What is striking, Marmor said, is that there has been almost nothing said about these cost-control mechanisms. He mentioned Canada, where residents have what would be considered Cadillac plans in the U.S.—no coinsurance, deductibles, or copayments. Yet that country’s medical expenditures are thirty to fifty percent less than ours.

Leonhardt countered that the political reality meant the U.S. was not going to build a health system from scratch, so cost containment strategy centers on throwing “lots and lots of cost reduction ideas on the wall and hope that one of them sticks.” Ah! The spaghetti-on-the-wall approach. Makes perfect sense, except if premiums are unaffordable for your family.

Before more Americans are misled into thinking that affordable, quality health care is around the corner, the press needs to set the record straight and bring some new voices into the mix. Here’s one time where balance is appropriate. I’d even settle for some “he said, she said” on this one.

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Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.