Fox "Straight News" Division Uses Health Care Anniversary To Push GOP Falsehoods On Reform Law
Blog ››› ››› MARCUS FELDMAN
Fox's supposedly "straight news" division has a habit of passing off Republican talking points as news. And it shows no signs of stopping. On March 23, on the eve of the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans in Congress set their eyes on repealing the provision of the law that created the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), relying on falsehoods to attack the IPAB. And Bill Hemmer, supposedly a "straight news" anchor at Fox News is pushing the same falsehoods.
IPAB recommends proposals to limit Medicare spending growth. As explained by the Kaiser Family Foundation:
The recently enacted health reform law (P.L. 111-148; P.L. 111-152) establishes a new Independent Payment Advisory Board with authority to recommend proposals to limit Medicare spending growth. If projected per capita Medicare spending exceeds target growth rates, the Board is required to recommend proposals to reduce Medicare spending by specified amounts, with the first set of recommendations due in 2014 for implementation in 2015
The Affordable Care Act specifically prohibits the IPAB from making "any recommendations to ration health care ... or otherwise restrict benefits." That has not stopped the website of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) from characterizing IPAB as a "rationing board." And Hemmer was right on board with the talking point. Hemmer stated during a segment on the IPAB: "Critics say that it's misguided and will only lead to rationing of care." Hemmer then played an attack on the IPAB by Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TX) and conducted an interview with IPAB opponent Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) but never even mentioned that the IPAB is prohibited from rationing care.
This false attack by Hemmer again dovetails with Republican messaging. Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) called IPAB the "real death panel" in an interview with The Daily Caller in 2011.
"What everybody was talking about, when you saw Sarah Palin and so forth, what they were talking about these advanced directives where you sit down and there's sort of mandatory counseling - and Medicare paid for it. This IPAB got missed - and it's the real death panel."
And Republicans are still using "death panel" terminology to refer to the IPAB. The Washington Post reported on April 22 that Rep. Jack Kingston claimed of IPAB: "It's not necessarily a death panel, but it is a rationing panel and rationing does lead to scarcity for some," he added. "Who's going to get the needed treatment, an 85-year-old or the 40-year-old with children?"