Right-wing media outlets are stoking fears that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is on the verge of collapse; arguing that health insurance co-op failures threaten to shutter President Obama's signature health care legislation. But experts argue that ACA continues to control health care costs and expand insurance, and explain that the co-op failures are due to underfunding by Congress.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board used sharply revised government estimates on the number of Americans expected to purchase health insurance through federal marketplaces to claim that Obamacare is failing and hype so-called Republican "alternatives" to the landmark health care reform legislation. The Journal's fearmongering about the long-term viability of Obamacare failed to acknowledge that while enrollment via federal marketplaces is less than expected, millions of Americans are still gaining access to affordable health insurance coverage.
An article on NPR.org effectively debunked Fox News' fearmongering about states that chose to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid eligibility, pointing out that "states whose governors, most Republicans who opposed the Affordable Care Act, chose not to accept federal funds to extend Medicaid to more people ... saw their costs to provide healthcare to the poor rise twice as fast as states that extended benefits to more low-income residents."
The October 15 article by NPR.org's Alison Kodjak cited a Kaiser Family Foundation survey of Medicaid directors that found that states "that didn't broaden coverage saw their Medicaid costs rise 6.9 percent in the fiscal year that ended Sept 30," while states that expanded coverage "saw their costs rise only 3.4 percent." Kodjak noted that "that modest increase in Medicaid spending in the expansion states came even as the rate of Medicaid participation rose 18 percent, three times as much as the states sitting out."
After the Supreme Court gave states the ability in 2012 to choose to reject Medicaid expansion, Fox News repeatedly misled its viewers by claiming that the cost of expanding Medicaid rolls was unaffordable for states, who should reject federal funds to do so. In the aftermath of Fox's disinformation campaign, 5.7 million uninsured Americans were prevented from getting health insurance under the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion in states where governors embraced that claim. Fox News' subsequently blamed this gap in coverage on the Affordable Care Act, instead of on Republican governors who turned down federal money that would have allowed them to add more people to the insurance rolls. From the NPR.org article:
The 22 states that didn't expand Medicaid eligibility as part of Obamacare last year saw their costs to provide health care to the poor rise twice as fast as states that extended benefits to more low-income residents.
It's a counterintuitive twist for those states whose governors, most Republicans who opposed the Affordable Care Act, chose not to accept federal funds to extend Medicaid to more people.
A Kaiser Family Foundation survey of Medicaid directors in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., showed that those that didn't broaden coverage saw their Medicaid costs rise 6.9 percent in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. The 29 states that took President Obama up on his offer to foot the bill for expanding Medicaid saw their costs rise only 3.4 percent.
That modest increase in Medicaid spending in the expansion states came even as the rate of Medicaid participation rose 18 percent, three times as much as the states sitting out.
There have been stark differences between states that take up the expansion and those that don't.
Texas, for example, hasn't expanded eligibility and its rolls have increased by about 192,000 people in the last two years, or just 4.3 percent. Federal reimbursements to the state fell last year from 58.05 percent to 57.13, according to the Kaiser study.
California, by contrast, was among the first states to sign on to the expansion. Enrollment in Medi-Cal, the state's name for Medicaid, grew by 30 percent in the first year. All told, 3.4 million Californians were added to the Medi-Cal rolls between Sept. 2013 and July 2015.
An op-ed in The Weekly Standard praised Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush's proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with a health care proposal based on a plan from an organization co-founded by neo-conservative Weekly Standard founder and editor Bill Kristol.
During an interview with Charlie Rose, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly insisted that she is different than her prime-time colleagues Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity because she is "not an opinion-maker" or an "issue advocate," but rather, a straight "newsperson." But that's a false image that Kelly and her employer have sold the public in an attempt to boost the popular anchor's credibility, making her a particularly effective purveyor of misinformation. In actuality, Kelly has a long history of scandalmongering and promoting her personal views from the anchor desk, from excusing police brutality to defending the "Christian values" of a designated hate group.
From the September 23 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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From the September 23 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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A new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that, contrary to right-wing media assertions, the overwhelming majority of employers have not responded to health insurance mandates in the Affordable Care Act by slashing jobs, converting full-time positions to part-time, or putting off hiring new workers. Fox News and The Wall Street Journal spent years claiming health care reform would threaten American jobs.
Cable and network TV news devoted more segments to coverage of economic issues during the first half of 2015 compared to the last six months of 2014, an increase driven by heightened public interest in the debate over economic inequality and a flurry of economic policy proposals from nearly two dozen 2016 presidential candidates.
On August 24, major stock markets in the United States opened their trading sessions with significant declines and sustained losses of 3 to 5 percent throughout much of the morning. Fox News used the event to advocate on behalf of numerous failed Republican policy demands, such as major tax cuts for the wealthy and a significant roll back of federal regulations.
ABC's This Week host George Stephanopoulos passed on the opportunity to question Republican presidential candidate Gov. Scott Walker about how his health care plan would harm low-income Americans. Stephanopoulos failed to question Walker on this topic despite mainstream media outlets highlighting the issue in articles detailing Walker's plan.
On August 18, Walker revealed his plan to replace the Affordable Care Act if he is elected president. A key feature of his plan is to issue tax credits based on age rather than income to help Americans purchase health insurance plans, but mainstream media outlets quickly detailed how this change would hurt the ability of low-income Americans to afford robust health insurance coverage.
The Upshot blog from The New York Times explained how Walker's plan is "much less concerned about ensuring health care access for the poor," and "appears to be less generous for many poor Americans":
Governor Walker's plan appears to be less generous for many poor Americans. It would roll back the Medicaid expansion that has provided free insurance to low-income adults. It would distribute tax credits to those with private coverage on the basis of age, not income.
But it means that for people without a lot to spend on insurance, a comprehensive health plan may slip back out of reach. For others, an affordable plan might be so bare-bones that it wouldn't kick in before a major health catastrophe.
Wealthier people, on the other hand, could fare better under this plan, as long as they're healthy. They would get more federal money to buy insurance plans, and they would have the choice of buying cheaper, less comprehensive plans than those offered under Obamacare rules.
Vox highlighted the detrimental impact Walker's plan would have on the poor and demonstrated how an age-based tax credit plan could help the rich while hurting low-income earners of the same age:
For high earners, this might be great. Under Walker's plan, Taylor Swift would get $1,200 to help buy coverage because she's 25, while Obamacare would give her nothing on the grounds that she's superrich. For lower-income people, this is a lousy deal: A 25-year-old earning $17,000 at a low-wage job would get a $1,962 credit under Obamacare.
A world in which Obamacare is repealed, and the Walker plan enacted, is one in which the individual market is friendlier to higher-income, healthy shoppers -- but likely worse for the poor and the sick, both those seeking private coverage and those on Medicaid.
Instead of questioning Walker about this pressing problem with his health care plan, harming the ability of low-income Americans to afford quality health insurance compared to Obamacare, Stephanopoulos only asked him about criticism from an opponent, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), about the cost of his plan and how he would fund it. Watch:
Conservative pundits are hailing Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposed plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while mainstream media and experts are pointing out how the costly proposal would disproportionately harm low-income Americans and those with preexisting conditions.
Four new studies show that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working to drastically decrease the number of uninsured Americans and has had "virtually no adverse effect on labor force participation, [or] employment," standing in stark contrast to Fox News' long history of stoking fears that the law would "cost a fortune," and inhibit job creation.
Media covering Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio's claim that exceptions to abortion restrictions in the case of rape are not necessary because rape victims can take the morning-after pill to avoid abortion should also note that Rubio repeatedly used his U.S. Senate seat to try to limit access to contraception for women.
During the August 9 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd asked Rubio about his statement during Fox News' August 6 Republican presidential candidate primary debate that he does not favor exemptions for rape or incest in laws restricting abortion access.
Claiming that the number of abortions that occur after rape is "very small," Rubio stated, "Because of the existence of over-the-counter morning-after [pills] not to mention medical treatment that is now available immediately after the assault that should be widely available to victims, we can bring that number down to zero."
CHUCK TODD: I want to just get this clarification. Will you support legislation that has exceptions, anti-abortion legislation that has exceptions for life of the mother, rape, incest, et cetera?
RUBIO: Yeah, I'll support any legislation that reduces the number of abortions. So that means a 20 week abortion ban, at five months, a child, you'll recognize it as a human being in an ultrasound image, and I'll support that. That doesn't, obviously, cover the whole gambit, but it reduces the number of abortions. I'll support any legislation that reduces the number of abortions, and there are those that have that exception in it. I've never, what I've never done is said 'I require that it must have or not have exceptions.'
TODD: Why not? Why don't you think there should be a requirement of an exception?
RUBIO: Well a couple points. I think, first of all, the questions that people ask about those two instances are horrifying. A rape is an act of violence; it's a horrifying thing that happens and fortunately the number of abortions in this country that are due to rape are very small, less than one percent of the cases in the world. But they happen, and they're horrifyingly -- and they're tragic, and I recognize that. I also recognize that because of the existence of over-the-counter morning-after [pills] not to mention medical treatment that is now available immediately after the assault that should be widely available to victims, we can bring that number down to zero.
Media should not take Rubio's claim that exceptions for rape in laws restricting abortion access are not necessary due to the existence of over-the-counter emergency contraception at face value. Instead, they should take note of his repeated attempts to allow employers to deny coverage for contraceptives to women by claiming a moral objection in order to put his Meet the Press comment in proper context.
During a 2012 political fight over the scope of Obamacare's contraception mandate -- which requires all insurance plans to cover preventive services including contraception for women -- Rubio co-sponsored The Blunt Amendment, which according to The New York Times would have "let employers and health insurance companies deny coverage for contraceptives and other items they object to on religious or moral grounds." The amendment was defeated 51 to 48.
Rubio also introduced The Religious Freedom And Restoration Act of 2012, which according to the National Women's Law Center, "would [have] take[n] away the right of millions of women to have any insurance coverage for contraception, based on an employer or health plan's religious or moral beliefs -- whether affiliated or not with any religious entity." That bill died in committee.
While Rubio said he does not oppose the use of contraception, in 2014 he signed onto an amicus curiae brief in the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case that "repeatedly equate[ed] contraception and abortion, pointing to emergency contraception and the IUD in particular, which they say can block implantation of a fertilized egg," according to MSNBC.
From the July 25 edition of Washington's NewsChannel 8's Hispanic Agenda:
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