Fox News Sunday Panelists Mislead On Changes To Health Insurance Coverage
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace hyped reports that insurers are cancelling health plans without noting that new policies will offer better coverage at comparable cost.
Host Chris Wallace cited statistics from a Kaiser Health News article  that discussed the changes in insurance coverage, claiming the article showed people "losing health insurance, not gaining it." Panelist Brit Hume complained that people were being forced into coverage "for things they may feel they don't need" and that people are getting "a government-mandated deal." Wallace added that "there's no free lunch" and ridiculed the idea that consumers would get "more for less."
But Wallace neglected to cite the section of the article that noted that "the new policies will offer consumers better coverage, in some cases, for comparable cost -- especially after the inclusion of federal subsidies for those who qualify." It continues:
The law requires policies sold in the individual market to cover 10 "essential" benefits, such as prescription drugs, mental health treatment and maternity care. In addition, insurers cannot reject people with medical problems or charge them higher prices. The policies must also cap consumers' annual expenses at levels lower than many plans sold before the new rules.
Patrick Geraghty, the CEO of insurance company Florida Blue, one of the companies that are sending out notices to consumers, appeared  on NBC's Meet the Press and explained to host David Gregory that the 300,000 who had been contacted by the company about their insurance coverage were not being cut: "What we've been doing is informing folks that their plan doesn't meet the test of the essential health benefits; therefore, they have a choice of many options that we make available through the exchange. And, in fact, with subsidy, many people will be getting better plans at a lesser cost. This really is a transition. In fact, the 300,000 figure is the entire year. So it's really 40,000 people for January 1, and we're walking them through that transition."